A Rehabilitated Overpacker’s Guide to Packing Light

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Overpacking is a pretty universal problem and people are always surprised when I tell them I only travel with a backpack. When packing for weekend trips, I always limit myself to a backpack and a purse. This works well for most budget airlines in Europe, as they usually make you pay for anything more than one small bag. Even in the cold weather, snow, and rain I have been able to stick to these guidelines. I’d say I’m a rehabilitated overpacker. So, I’m going to share my secrets for packing light, even in the dead of winter.

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Secret #1:

My first secret to packing light is probably the most disappointing and it’s just about the last thing a traveler in the age of Instagram wants to hear: let go of your vanity. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that packing light is more about mindset than anything else. I am someone who loves clothes but I’ve discovered I love not having to lug around a big suitcase even more. I now pack with practicality at the forefront of my mind.

DSC_1138Secret #2:

Invest in clothing items that are appropriate for a variety of activities: weatherproof black boots that are comfortable enough for a walking tour and cute enough for heading to the basr; a raincoat with a down insert that can be worn in rain or cold weather; long sleeve crop tops/blouses that can be worn as insulation under a chunky sweater during the day or as a going-out top at night.

Secret #3:

Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane. I always wear my heaviest coat, chunkiest sweater, and thickest pants on the plane. I dress in layers so that I can shed these warmer items if I get hot during the trip. Keeping these larger items from taking up room in your bag is definitely worth it.

Secret #4:

Don’t fold—roll! This secret is as old as time, but it really works. If you want to save space, roll your clothes up like little burritos instead of folding them. This somehow magically makes all of your clothes smaller and helps save space in your bag.

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Secret #5:

Check the weather, make an itinerary, and plan your outfits accordingly ahead of time. One of the pitfalls we often run into when packing is focusing too much on the “what if” scenarios. What if it gets warm for one day? What if I go out for a fancy dinner? What if we decide to go swimming? The best way to avoid packing stuff you don’t need is by making a concrete plans. Know what the weather will be at your destination and know what activities you need to pack special items for. Traveling can always bring up the unexpected, but try to cut out those “what if” thoughts as much as you can while packing. And, if you end up going to a fancy dinner that you’re not appropriately dressed for, well…it’ll be a fun traveling story for later!

Finally, I’ll leave you with my packing list for winter weekend trips. Hopefully this will help you the next time you’re trying to avoid paying extra for checked luggage!

Backpack:

Toiletries & Makeup:

-Travel toothbrush

-Mini toothpaste

-Floss

-100ml shampoo

-100ml face wash

-100ml conditioner

-100ml body wash

-100ml moisturizer w/ SPF

– Foundation

-Beauty blender

-Concealer

-Mini powder

-Highlight stick

-Tinted brow gel

-Mascara

-Mini eyeshadow + brush

-Eyeliner

-1-2 lipsticks

-Hair brush

-Check to see if accommodations have hair dryer before packing travel hair dryer.

Clothes:

-1 pair of jeans

-3-4 pairs of socks

-4-5 pairs of underwear

-Lightweight pajama pants + top

-Warm sweater

-2 long sleeve crop tops

Accessories:

-Hat

-Gloves

-Hair bands

-Statement earrings (to dress up my outfit for an evening out)

 

Purse:

-Phone

-Keys

-Metro card

-Chapstick

-Camera

-Portable phone charger

-Phone charging cord

-Power outlet converter

-Passport

-Wallet

-Headphones

-Sunglasses

-Empty water bottle

-Eye mask

-Mini hand lotion

-Any medications

 

Wear on the plane:

-T-shirt

-Chunky sweater

-Jeans

-Weatherproof boots

-Coat

-Scarf (depending how cold at destination)

Published by

sheaish

Shea is the photographer, artist, and blogger behind Sheaish.com. She lives in Madrid, Spain teaching English and traveling through Europe. When she isn’t awkwardly taking photos of herself in public places with her tripod, Shea enjoys drawing, eating ice cream, talking about her dog, and watching 30 Rock all the way through for the 18th time.

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