Travelling with just your holdall has lots of advantages – you won’t be stuck waiting at the luggage carousel once you’ve landed, you’ll avoid being hit with baggage charges, and you can spend less time unpacking your cases and more time exploring. But packing everything you need into one small case can be easier said than done, so here are a dozen tips to help you travel light.
1. Don’t wait until the 11th hour to start
You can’t make the best decisions when you’re in a rush, so don’t leave your packing to the last minute. While your toothbrush can wait until the morning you leave, you should get the rest done with at least a day or two to spare. This way, if you realise you’re missing something important you’ll have time to get to the shops.
2. Make a list
Making a list of the essentials for your trip is a great way to determine what you don’t need. Aim to keep the list as short as possible. Deciding this way how many tops you need is much better than going into your cupboard without a number in mind, as you’ll pick out extra just because you might wear them.
3. Layer up for your flight
If you’re heading somewhere cold and need to bring a great big bulky coat with you wear it onto the plane instead of packing it – you can always put it in the overhead storage compartment after all.
4. Swap jumpers for thermals
Here’s another tip for those low temperature destinations: trade in those bulky sweaters and jumpers for space-saving thermal top.
5. Pack for double duty
If possible pack clothes that are versatile – a polo shirt that wouldn’t look out of place at a classy restaurant or for a stroll through the park is a better option than bringing both a t-shirt and shirt for example.
6. Don’t waste space
Every inch of space is important, so be creative with your packing. If you absolutely have to pack an extra pair of shoes make sure you don’t waste any of that space normally occupied by your feet!
7. Use compression travel bags
Want an instant way to create some space? Use compression travel bags to get rid of all that space-consuming air trapped between and in your clothes.
8. Roll, don’t fold.
If you don’t have your own compression travel bags or want a free alternative, you can simply roll your clothes instead of folding them. Not only will this give you more space, it’ll also keep your clothes wrinkle-free.
9. Use your phone instead
Do you really need to take a standalone digital camera or is the camera on your phone decent enough for what you’ll be getting up to? While leaving the camera at home might be difficult at first, you’ll also be able to leave the carry case, charger, and any other accessories behind, saving more space than you bargained for.
10. Lose the laptop
Many people pack their laptop automatically these days, which begs the question: why? If it’s simply so you can update your Facebook status once you’ve checked in to your hotel or to catch up with the news you might as well leave it at home. It’ll also save you time and hassle going through airport security.
11. Cut the cosmetics
If you’re only taking a carry-on bag you’ll have to abide by the strict regulations concerning gels and liquids anyway, so bringing full-sized bottles of anything will be out of the question - but even those miniature toiletries can take up a lot of space. In an ideal world you’d be happy enough using the hotel’s own toiletries, but if that’s out of the question think about other ways you can save space – by using 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner for example, or using an all-purpose moisturiser rather than one for day use and one for bed time.
12. Take advantage of your hotel
Your hotel probably supplies a hairdryer, so you don’t need to pack one of those, but what else do they have that could be useful for you. Even removing something small from your case like a plug adaptor can make a difference, so it’s worth getting in touch in advance to find out if you don’t know for sure.
Written by Simon Markland who works for shipping company Voovit, providers of international shipping and excess baggage services. Visit them online at http://www.voovit.com/.