Requested by Michelle Jennifer

HOW TO PACK LIGHT FOR VACATIONS

Thanks for the request! 😃 I waited a couple days to post this because I kept feeling like I was forgetting stuff, which, ironically, is exactly how I feel when I pack for a trip!
  1. Why pack light?
    Look if you're a first class, no public transportation type of person who always takes taxis and stays in big American style hotels, move along because this isn't the list for you! Pack whatever you rant, since you'll never have to carry or drag it! But for the rest of us....
  2. Stairs, lots of them. In Europe especially, lots of places don't have elevators and old stairs are steep as hell and often narrow too
  3. Cobblestone streets
    Needs no further explanation
  4. Trains
    The steps to get on and off are narrow and steep and trains sometimes only stop for a minute. Also, In Italy, for example, seats are back to back and only carryon size bags fit in between. If yours doesn't fit, you're putting it on a rack at the end of the car, most likely out of your sight. Hells no! To the right is my carryon standing up between train seats a couple years ago, taken from my seat on the train. No room for anything bigger!
  5. When you've gotten off a flight after usually at least one layover and traveling for 16+ hours and you can just grab your bag and not have to worry about it being lost out starting your vacation off wasting time and nervously waiting at baggage claim.... That is a truly fantastic feeling!
  6. It's just so much freaking easier, and you won't miss the stuff you (maybe reluctantly) left home.
  7. It's not easy, I won't pretend it is. It feels like sacrifice. And I get a little bit better at it each trip I take. It's a process!
  8. Let's start with the suitcase. I use an ultra-light carryon size. If your suitcase is light when empty, obviously that helps the final product. I'd highly recommend something five pounds or less.
  9. Rick Steves, I believe, said your suitcase is too heavy if you can't hold it above your head for ten seconds. I love that. In other words, you can put it in the overhead bin, get it on and off the train, and up whatever stairs you need to on your own. I go for under 20-25 pounds when full.
    I think he also recommends walking around your neighborhood dragging your suitcase and if you have trouble, it's too heavy. His article on packing light is good too (https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light/packing-smart) but I think he packs too light to be realistic. At least for me.
  10. My rule is, my suitcase must be about a quarter to a third empty when I leave, for two reasons
    1) room to buy stuff 😀 2) your packing and repacking deteriorates as the trip goes on so that same amount of stuff just takes up more space). Soif your suitcase is chock full before you leave home you'll be in trouble.
  11. Pack early!
    I think it's real tough to pack light at the last minute. I'm not saying you should be like me and be half packed two months in advance but I recommend a few days to a week at minimum. If you pack early, you're not rushing and you have more time to think about what you're taking. You also have time to make sure you're not forgetting anything important.
  12. Light packing is as much about what not to pack as what to pack. Here are some things I never pack:
    Makeup, hair appliances (as much as I might need them 😭), jeans (too heavy), anything made out of 100% cotton (heavy, dries slowly), jewelry
  13. It's about priorities
    Would you rather avoid the stress of checking your bag and have no trouble getting around seeing your vacation, or do you want to have all the comforts and luxuries of home and all your hair/makeup stuff and wear a different cute outfit every day? Neither is wrong, I'm certainly not judging! it's a choice.
  14. I am not a fan of buying stuff once I arrive, which a lot of purple suggest. I'm particular about my products so I bring what i like. I also don't want to take time out of my vacation to buy shampoo.
    So I repackage my toiletries in small plastic bottles based on how much I'll use. I can go for three weeks with stuff I can fit in the regulation 3-1-1 quart baggie! I also buy mini travel deodorant and save the toothpaste samples from the dentist.
  15. Some people freak out about fitting in in Europe because everyone dresses so well there. And they do!
    But honestly, my comfort and convenience outweighs this concern for me. Everyone will know I'm a tourist anyway the moment I take my camera out or open my mouth. So it's t-shirts and pants/capris every day in different combinations. That's what I like, everyone should bring whatever they're most comfortable in!
  16. All my clothes are made of lightweight, relatively quick drying material
    Think gym dri-fit type shirts. I also like these from target, they're cotton/modal blend and a little cuter then gym shirts.
  17. For pants I actually usually take unlined work type slacks. The fabric is light, dries pretty quick, and they look decent!
    I've also taken decent yoga pants and they work out great and after a few trips I have some travel capris that are extremely lightweight.
  18. There are companies that sell "travel clothes." They're great, and outrageously expensive.
    It's usually light material, quick drying, wrinkle resistant, and sometimes even has built in sunscreen. If you have the money and/or travel enough to make that investment, go for it!
  19. If you're going to pack light, you have to accept one of two things
    You'll hand wash in the hotel sink every few nights or you'll find a laundromat. I do the former and it's never bothered me.
  20. How to pack: I'm a fan of rolling the clothes
    I've used space bags and they work but can help you over pack because you can fit more in. Some people swear by packing cubes. Never used 'em.
  21. For basic clothes, this is what my suitcase looks like for my trip to Portugal so far. The bottoms are all neutral colors so I can wear whatever shirt with it.
    That's six t-shirts, four pants/capris, 2 bras, and six underwear. I'll obviously wear one more of each on the plane. And it's still mostly empty! I may take one shirt out. And yes, I don't leave till May and I've already started packing 😳
  22. Besides those basics, I'll also bring a light dress, extra walking shoes, 4 pr socks, walking sandals, a sweater on the plane, and a tank top and shorts for pajamas.
    And that is pretty much it for clothes. Seriously. That's it.
  23. All non-liquid toiletries in a gallon Ziploc
    Bandaids, hair ties, ear plugs, comb, toothbrush, meds/vitamins, moleskin, deodorant, nail file, a blister stick, plastic scissors, and the beautiful invention to the right, a Schick intuition, which has the shaving cream built in.
  24. As I said, liquid toiletries in small bottles in the quart baggie
    Shampoo, conditioner, gel or mousse, lotion, sunscreen, laundry detergent, a little tub of Neosporin, toothpaste, and maybe the most useful of all, a little Tide pen for any stains. Nalgene bottles are leakproof and not expensive!
  25. For body wash, I usually bring 3oz of unscented Dr Bronner's soap
    It can be used as anything, extra shampoo or to wash clothes, you name it!
  26. Then there's additional necessities
    Plug adapters (I just got this one that comes with interchangeable plugs for use all around the world and charges four usb things at once. Will be so handy for those European hotels with one outlet, I'll be able to charge two phones, my iPad, and my fit bit all at once!!), Camera/electronic gear, feminine products, money belt. Those are the major additional necessities for me.
  27. Other random things I find extremely useful and always pack include:
    Disposable ponchos, a variety of Ziploc bags (these are so handy I can't even explain), a few safety pins and paper clips, small packs of tissues (toilet paper can be a valuable commodity overseas), a few protein bars just in case, small umbrella, and I bought this collapsible water bottle for the first time, which I'm excited to use!
  28. I also always take a couple of foldup cloth bags
    For heavy souvenir shopping days and in case I need it for souvenirs on the flight home if they make me check my bag, which sometimes they do in Europe.
  29. That's pretty much it except for a couple small things I'm probably forgetting!
    See, easy!!
  30. Found a pic of my fully packed suitcase from 2014 when I went to Italy. That suitcase is a couple inches bigger than the one I'll take to Portugal!
  31. But I had room to bring home all this!
  32. So it's totally worth all the beauty sacrifice!
  33. Happy traveling!!!!!!!