Do you ever wish you could travel and pack everything you need into a single bag, knowing you won’t have to lug around excess weight?

Carrying an unnecessarily large bag can be exhausting when you travel long-term. The better you get at packing light the easier it'll be to get around. These tips have helped me, and many others, travel with minimum luggage, even on long trips.

1. Simplify your beauty regime

Toiletries tend to take up a lot of space and weight in our packs. Try to break it down to a few necessities by asking yourself  which three products are essential.

And wherever you can, ditch the liquids. They take up extra weight and don’t last as long. Look into solid shampoo bars and consider crystal deodorant. For body soap, buy a bar when you arrive. You can use this soap for your laundry as well.

Love wearing perfume but don’t want the weight? Get some natural essential oils you love the smell of and place a dab behind the ears and on your wrists. Tiny packaging for maximum result.

2. Know the dress code of the country you're visiting

Not knowing what clothes are appropriate in your destination could mean needing to do an emergency shop when you arrive for appropriate clothes that are more respectful to the local culture.

Are you visiting a conservative country? Will you be visiting many holy sites? Leave the short shorts, mini skirts and tank tops for your beachside holiday.

3. Get used to being comfortable in few outfits

You’ll start looking the same in all your photos because you won't have a huge range of options to choose from. Get comfortable with this feeling. 

In reality, most of us wear the same things over and over anyway, despite having a wardrobe full of other clothes. So it’s not much different to what you’re already doing.

Once you get over looking the same all the time you’ll find the beauty and the simplicity of never having to waste time choosing an outfit again.

4. Pack for five days

The more clothes you have, the longer you'll go between laundry days. If you only have a few items to choose from you'll be forced to wash your gear regularly. There's nothing fun or exciting about doing your own handwashing, but if you do an item or two every day you'll always have something fresh to wear.

Which brings me to the next point…

5. Learn to hand wash efficiently

Regular hand washing works exceptionally well for underwear and shirts.

At the end of the day when you’re brushing your teeth, wash your dirty clothes from the day and let them dry overnight. You’ll never be caught out again, at least without these essentials.

A universal sink plug, a Scrubba Wash Bag or a general bucket will become your best friends! To ensure a good wash without much time from you, always soak your clothes in some soapy water first then it'll be a quick final process.

6. Don’t pack clothes you hardly ever wear

If you don't ever wear it at home, you won't wear it on the road. Period. But it’ll take up valuable space in your bag and will become an extra unnecessary weight.

The clothes you’ll wear the most are the ones you’re most comfortable in; the pants that’ll feel good when you’re walking through a new city all day or the shirt that's breathable enough to keep you cool during a big hike. At the end of the day, you’ll remember the sites you saw and how people made you feel far more than the outfit you wore.

When choosing clothes to take, make sure they coordinate with each other by checking that your colour palette and styles are similar.

7. Don't take items "just in case"

This is really important to get clear on. Think about it this way – you will NEVER be left in a freezing country without finding a jacket to buy. You will also never be in a hot country just wishing you could find something lightweight. If you really, truly need something you didn’t bring, the country you’re in will be selling exactly what you need for that climate.

Don’t pack things ‘just in case’. It is a waste of space and a waste of clothes because you’ll end up ditching them somewhere to make room for something more appropriate,

8. Learn to love packing cubes

Packing cubes will become your best friend. Roll everything down and stuff it in its delegated cube, you'll make better use of your room and you'll become organised pretty quick.

For example, pack all your shirts in one cube, your socks, underwear and swimsuits in another, bottoms in a third, etc. etc.

If you pick the right sizes to fit into your bag you’ll be able to stack them in like a puzzle and never have issues packing your clothes back in again.

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9. Take clothes which fold up small but don't wrinkle

Do not, I repeat, do not take clothes that wrinkle! You'll be rolling and squeezing everything you own into a small pack and if something already wrinkles easy, it’ll be multiplied by 10 in this situation.

10. Don't pack hiking books unless you'll be hiking!

I have no idea who put it in people’s minds that they will need hiking boots while travelling. Do you hike a lot and plan to spend most of your trip doing so? OK, you are an exception.

Everyone else, what the hell?

What you do need are comfortable walking shoes so you can roam the streets, climb up loads of stairs and spend days exploring ancient cities . Unless you plan to be hiking a decent amount, you won't need these heavy boots. 

11. Pack a super absorbent towel

A big fluffy towel is the best thing in the world after a hot shower, but unfortunately, your small bag doesn’t allow for such luxuries anymore.

As well as the quick dry element being perfect for travellers, a big super absorbent towel can be used as a beach towel, a picnic mat or to add privacy to a bunk in a dorm.

12. Digital and audio books all the way

Even though there's nothing quite like a real book (I don’t think anyone can argue that), just for a moment, consider the Kindle and Audible apps. The convenience and weight are worth sacrificing the feeling of a great book, especially when you're travelling long-term.

If you’re in one spot for long enough to get through a book, borrow one from your accommodation or buy a second hand one. Then when you’re done, leave it to someone else to enjoy.

13. Buy a small backpack so you can't overfill it

It really does come down to this. If you don’t have the room in your bag, you can’t overpack it. Get a carry-on sized bag or smaller and get used to only having the items that fit into it. It'll also stop you from over-shopping while travelling because you'll know you don't have the room for it. A great rule to go by for shopping is 'one in, one out'

Lightweight items to pack in cooler climates

A thin, windproof jacket

The ultimate secret to staying warm while travelling light! A windproof jacket will keep your own body heat in and keep cold air out. Layer some warm items underneath it and you’ll be nice and snug.

If you’re spending a period of time in a cold place, another great idea is to include body-hugging clothing like leggings or tight merino tops. Even if you don’t wear these alone, they work wonders as a base layer and don’t take up much space.

A big, but thin, pashmina

Pashminas are great for travelling women. When it’s cold out they can be scrunched around your neck to keep you super warm or as a light shawl for cooler evenings. Even if it's warm, a pashmina can be used as sun protection on your shoulders or to dress modestly in conservative countries.

A couple of pairs of thin socks

A couple of light pairs of socks can keep your feet warmer and more snug than one big pair because they hug your feet and keep the warmth in (I'm speaking from poor circulation experience here, my feet are constantly cold). If it's that unbearably cold, buy a pair of thick socks and if you're moving on somewhere warm, wash and donate them to a clothing bin.

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How To Become a Master in Packing and Travelling Light - Breathe Travel

Travelling light can feel daunting, particularly when you’ve never tried or accomplished it before. But now with these extra tips you'll be able to organise your bag in no time.

Are you ready to finally give it a go? Have you got any other tips to share? Tell me in the comments.