Traveling by yourself for the first time can be scary. You are always thinking about whether you’re packing enough. However, one thing that will definitely be annoying later on is carrying a large suitcase. Solo travelers don’t have the luxury of other people helping them, so you have to be a bit more strategic with this. Study shows that 62 percent of Americans overpack when traveling. This can be easily avoided if you follow these tips to packing light!
Do laundry in your hotel/hostel
Have you ever noticed that business travelers always seem to carry such small luggage? That’s because they usually pack only essential clothes and have it dry cleaned at the hotel. Novice travelers mistakenly bring way too many clothes that they don’t even use. They bring one outfit for every occasion, which results in way more baggage than the trip needs.
While your accommodation might not be as fancy, you can follow the same practice and do the laundry in your hotel or hostel bathroom. Doing chores while traveling doesn’t sound fun at all, but it does help keep the luggage. You can choose to bring your own detergent or wash it with soap in your hostel. Wash them in the sink and put them in your space to hang dry.
Fashion writer Jess Cartner-Morley suggests underpacking. This saves you time as well as space while you travel. Bring clothes that you can reuse and wear for any occasion. You can also bring a spare or two, but be careful about bringing too much.
Limit toiletries to the most necessary
Admit it, some of you have been guilty of carrying way too many toiletries in your bag. If you take the time to sort out your purses, you’ll find that many of the items you have are either duplicates or not really important for travel. When packing for your next trip, try to reevaluate what items to add to your cosmetics and toiletries bag.
It can be hard for some to decide what to bring and leave out, so let’s take a page out of the best travel packers in the world: flight attendants. One tip they suggest is to leave the shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Unless you are completely dedicated to a certain brand, you can use whatever is available in your hotel. Most would also have hairdryers, so you can leave that out, too.
As for makeup, they only pack the ones that they know they will be using. Anything that won’t be taken out is left at home. Versatile items are a must-have too. Facial wash, toners, moisturizer, sunscreen, and one comb would be the standard. Some people who go on long trips bring thinning scissors when they want to style hair without paying for someone else.
Compress your packaging
The air between items is also something that takes up space in your luggage. This is especially true for bulky items like shoes and bottles that don’t lay flat on the bag. To maximize the space, place your items in compression packing bags instead of directly on the luggage.
Compression cubes are specialized bags that release air for more space. It almost vacuum seals the items inside to reduce bulk and help items fit inside your luggage. Most cubes come in sets of three. Aside from additional space, this is also a great way of sorting out your items. With this, you don’t have to pull everything out of your luggage when looking for something because similar items are already packed together.
Get bus and railway passes
Want to reduce expenses while also lessening the weight of your wallet? Bus and railway passes will do just that! Depending on the country you are going to, they will likely have a reloadable card or ticket that you can show instead of buying them individually. This saves you time and space, so you won’t have to carry so much cash at one time.
Some countries have passes that last for a fixed number of days or weeks. For example, Japan has multiple different kinds of JR passes and railway passes specifically sold to tourists. These passes give you unlimited access to certain stations for a certain number of days. It can be anywhere between three days to two weeks.
Travelers usually get these passes because it saves them money. Most of the time, you need to pay for the initial pass, so you won’t need to pay for tickets anymore. Usually, local tourism departments price them to make them more cost-efficient than buying tickets on the same day.
If it’s your first time traveling, you’re likely going to make some packing mistakes, but that’s okay. The more you travel, the more you get the idea of what you will and will not be needing. Just avoid bringing your entire room with you for a short vacation.