You’re cracking your head in order to find the most effective ways to shove in all your stuff in just one bag for your upcoming travel. Why won’t they fit in your bag? It’s either you need a bigger one, or you’re packing way too many things you might not even need for your journey. For many, it’s usually the latter. What if I told you that you can travel lighter than you think?
First of all, I want you to know that everyone has a different travel style. We all pack different things, and how we pack may also vary. You don’t have to follow all of these hacks I’m about to share with you, but do consider them as your options to a minimalist travel.
These tips aren’t just for minimalist travelers. They’re open to everyone who doesn’t wish to carry the weight of the world while traveling.
Have an organized system in your bag
Whether you’re traveling with a backpack or a wheeled luggage bag, keeping your things organized is always the way to go. Imagine if your bag is your home. How can you be in peace when your home is all messy and dysfunctional? Therefore a system is needed.
- Pack clothes in packing cubes
You need to get all your stuff together and organize them. When your things are properly kept, you won’t have to dig your bag (and end up with a mess!) for whatever you’re looking for because you know exactly where you keep it.
This is when packing cubes come to the rescue. They’re so easy to use and have been proven to help travelers save space in their bags. They’re mainly used to keep clothes. Rolling your clothes is better than folding them as this is more efficient for maximizing the space in your bag. Eagle Creek has pretty cool packing cubes which come in different sizes.
- Resealable bags
I super love them. Not only are they handy for home use, but also for travel. They’re typically used to pack food. After my fridge broke down, I didn’t get to use them at all. These “just in case” items have been sitting in my kitchen drawers for several months. It’s time I give them a new purpose — to be my travel bags!
I use them to keep my powerbank, usb cables, pendrives and foreign currencies. I can even use them to keep my undies! The fact that they’re waterproof make them a must-have travel item in any traveler’s bag.
Maximize all the space you have
When I was trying to fit everything I’m planning to bring to New Zealand in my 28L backpack, I was a little demotivated to find that it was too small for my things. I didn’t think I had much to bring, though. I wasn’t giving up so easily. I tried looking for whatever space I can potentially find. I found it, thanks to these hacks.
- Use the space in your shoes
I will be traveling with just two shoes, plus a pair of slippers. That means I have three pieces of footwear. I wish I can travel with just two, but not this time. I’ll be traveling to New Zealand during the cold season – I’ll need my boots. Of course, I will be wearing my most bulky footwear while keeping the lightest in my backpack. Still, my shoes were taking a lot of space.
However, I figured that I could actually keep my stuff in my shoes. Thus, I tried rolling some of my lightweight clothes and shove them into my shoes. I did it! With that, I was able to save the space I needed for other important things. If you choose to do this, be mindful about what you pack as having “extra” space might give you a reason to put more stuff into your bag.
- Hide things in your jacket
This is definitely ideal for travelers going to cold climate countries. Neither will I be packing my winter jacket in my backpack nor wearing it while I’m onboard. I’ll carry it in my hand instead. When folded, it kind of looks like a big faceless teddybear. One thing for sure is hugging it is extremely warm and comfortable.
During an overnight flight, an aircraft usually gets colder. Having something to keep you warm is essential. Underneath the jacket, you can actually hide another jacket. Mine is going to be a fleece jacket. Both jackets have two pockets, where I can keep things like gloves and other valuables I will need for my journey.
- Carry a small bag with you onboard your aircraft
What I mean is carry a small bag that you can easily keep under the aircraft’s passenger seat. Depending on how small it is, you can keep almost anything you need for your journey, regardless of how long or short your journey may be.
I have one that I’d gotten from Indonesia. It’s big enough to keep everything I need, except my shoes or laptop. Optionally, I can also treat it as my packing cube.
- Use a compression bag
This is highly essential when you’re traveling during winter. Even if you’re not, it’s still a wonderful item to have. Raincoats can take up a lot of space in your bag. You can use a compression bag to keep your raincoat and other bulky clothes you may or may not need anymore.
If you no longer have a use for it, go ahead and donate or sell it. Perhaps you’ll make another traveler happy with that choice. Optionally, there are plenty of lightweight raincoats and warm jackets out there that are easy to compress and you can even reduce their sizes to the size of an orange!
Select your clothes wisely
Before you decide what clothes to pack, check the weather of the time of your travel. You don’t want to be underdressed during the winter or overdressed during summer. I usually travel with two of everything.
For some, one of everything is enough, but I personally prefer to have a mix. In case one of them gets missing or spoiled, I know I’ll have one as a backup. Furthermore, it gives me time to find its replacement.
Even if you’re a fashionable person, you can still get by with very few clothes. The trick to it is to know how to mix and match what you have. For example, your plain tank top can be accessorized with a simple yet attractive necklace. You can also opt for dark bottoms to go with your top outfit. Black especially looks nice with any color, and it makes everything else stand out, too.
Optionally, you can wear convertible outfits. For the ladies, there are many convertible dresses out there, so no matter what the occasion is, you can wear the same dress in different ways to suit different events or places. For male travelers, convertible pants are excellent as they’re not only comfortable, but can also be worn as both pants and shorts. I recommend pants in black. Should you spill liquid on your pants, no big deal!
Pack the essentials only
I mentioned earlier about finding the “extra” space in your bag to ensure you can fit everything into your bag. The downside of it, however, is one might end up over-packing especially the things they won’t really need.
Remember that everyone has different priorities. What’s important to you might not be important to others. Therefore, it’s always ideal to reevaluate your choices and bring the must-haves rather than the nice-to-haves. Who says you can’t be simple, practical and stylish?
Want to know what’s in my backpack? Basically, I have essentials for my travel such as handy electronics, a pen and a notebook where I can document my journey, lightweight gadgets for my outdoor activities, a bag raincoat, packing cubes where I keep my clothes, my footwear (a pair slippers is a must!), swimwear and clothes.
Speaking of clothes, I usually travel with sport bras, sleeveless outfits, one pair of shorts and pants, two pairs of swimwear, a raincoat, socks, undies, and a hoodie. If you’re the kind who hates doing laundry, you can opt for anything made of merino wool. The material is great for any kind of weather and it doesn’t stink even after it’s worn for a whole week!
So what are you packing for your next trip?