To get the most out of your travel experience, it’s always better to pack light. No matter the destination, and no matter for how long, packing light makes your life easier and trip more enjoyable in many different ways. Instead of worrying about finding your luggage at the carousel after a long flight, , you can just take it with you. Packing lightly grants you more freedom to go more places, try more things, and have overall less stress, which will put all of your travel companions in a better mood.


I understand that “packing light” is often easier said than done, though. Each trip presents its own challenges, like going somewhere cold. How do you pack compactly when you need to bring a parka? Or traveling with children, who tend to have more gear than the rest of us?  How do you stay entertained? (Packing hack: going digital and bringing a phone or an iPad is especially helpful for this purpose. Entertainment, doing research on the go, and downloading guide maps ahead of time? Easy.)


These are all valid questions, and of course, while each packing list should cater to the climate and activities of where you are traveling, here are some guidelines that apply to any trip, by any mode of transportation:


Only pack a carry-on.

Carry-ons are much more spacious than most people assume they are. This also cuts down on needing to check luggage, finding it, hauling it to the hotel, and worrying about its weight. Additionally, you get to bring a personal item. Use that to your advantage, if you need more space.


If the only reason you are packing an item starts with “what if” or only plan to use it once, leave it at home.

In the unlikely event that you do need that item and don’t have it with you, odds are, you can buy it at your destination. This also helps you stick to just the essentials.


Most places you are traveling to have what you need.

This is a similar sentiment to the point above. You can buy toiletries at a corner store, both saving space and eliminating the need to cart liquids around. If you are traveling anywhere other than the middle of a desert or distant village in the mountains, you will be able to find somewhere to wash your clothes, thus eliminating the need to pack as many clothes.


Wear your bulkiest clothes.

Save the room in your suitcase and wear those items instead. Whether this means wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and boots, or a parka, sweater, and sneakers, keep them out of your luggage and on you instead. Dressing in layers will help keep you comfortable while you’re traveling and provide more space for things like souvenirs.


With these tips in mind, enjoy your next vacation. Focus on the memories you’re making and the time you’re spending with your family, instead of panicking because the airline lost your luggage or worrying about a potential snowstorm when you’re actually going to Hawaii.
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