5 Tips for Packing Light

1. Plan to Wash Clothes

Even on 10-day trips, I never packed with the plan to do laundry on the road, but now that I've lived out of a carry-on bag for six months, it's something I'll always do in the future.  

We travel with a small ziplock bag of powdered laundry soap and a latex travel clothesline.  It packs small and stretches when we use it.  

I've gotten used to hand-washing clothes in sinks or spare utility buckets.  Even apartments that we've rented with washing machines have rarely had dryers, so our clothesline is something we use often!

2. Coordinate Outfits to Match

Normally when I packed for trips, I would just throw in the number of outfits that would cover every day of my vacation.  Sure, I might re-wear shorts or a beach coverup, but I rarely thought about how to coordinate my tops and bottoms so I could switch them around easily and things would still match. 

When I started planning for clothes on the road, I laid out everything I had as I acquired things and then only bought tops/bottoms that would go with at least two or three other things.  This way I have more options for outfits without packing as much!

3. Load Books Onto an E-Reader

I would much rather read a physical book, but when you're aiming to pack light, you can't afford to pack all that weight.  

Before I left, my friends and family shared books they had on their devices by loading shareable epubs onto flash drives, so I left with a big library on my iPad mini.

4. Buy Bulky Toiletries When You Land

Remember that, unless you're REALLY going off the grid, you can always get standard items like shampoo, lotion and conditioner when you land.  No need to fill your pack with heavy items that will exceed flight limitations for liquids anyway.

5. Pack Luxury Items Last

If you really want to pack light, you have to adjust to traveling with less.  This may mean using hotel shampoo, going without lotion, letting your hair dry and going without (or with less makeup).  

When I started packing for our round-the-world trip, I packed essentials first.  Then I had a separate pile of nice-to-have items like earrings, a small bottle of nail polish remover and an extra purse.  Turns out, when everything was in my pack, I didn't have room left for those, so they stayed at home.