How to pack smartly and travel light

This article explains the importance of travelling light. Packing smartly is packing lightly. Everything has to be planned before heading out on a trip, from preparing a list of all the essential items to choosing the proper size luggage bags.


We all have tasted the experience of travelling at some point. Sometimes it was just a day of indulging ourselves in a hiking experience, whereas other times, it was for weeks together getting lost in the wilderness. Since we have travelled, we know how important it is to pack our bags as packing is an integral part of travelling. When it comes to packing, we all do it differently. What seems essential and a necessity to one traveller seems like a burden to others and vice versa. Those who travel frequently know how to pack and what to carry. Those who do not travel frequently either end up over packing as it gets out of control. Instead of packing only essentials, one fills up lots of non-essential items. The heavier the luggage, travelling becomes difficult. When we travel light, the journey seems pleasant. This article explains how to pick and pack essentials smartly and travel as lightly as possible.

Reasons to travel light

The heavier the luggage, the more tiresome the journey seems. Lighter luggage makes carrying it easily. Boarding and alighting become easy. Whether it is a bus or a train, we all know that we have limited time to board and alight from it, and if we carry lots of luggage, especially during rush hours or holidays when lots of people are travelling, we will end up knocking someone with our bags. Or else we will end up bruising ourselves and chipping our nails. The next day, we may even experience muscle soreness or stiff back. We will always be in that mindset of losing our luggage here and there because we cannot carry it in one round. If we are travelling alone and carrying 3 or 4 bags, we might have to lift them in two rounds. On arrival at our destination, first, we might have to alight with the first set of bags, then once again get back on the train and bring the rest of the luggage down. Since everyone cannot do it, on their own, we might have to take the help of coolie. It means extra expenditure.

If we are travelling by plane then we might have to pay extra for the extra luggage that we carry. Those who travel light don't have to hire taxis or rickshaws. Suppose their hotel is within walking distance they can easily walk there without having to pay for local transport. However, those with many bags cannot even think of walking a mile without calling for taxis. Those on long journeys need to go from one place to another and from one hotel to another. Thus, packing and unpacking should be easy for them. If lots of time is wasted in unpacking everything that is stuffed inside the bags and properly packing them before checkout, it becomes time-consuming. When on a journey, the majority of the time should be utilized to fulfil the purpose of the visit. It may be to explore, relax or rejuvenate as much as possible. Packing and unpacking should be as swift as air.

Why do we end up packing too much?

When we do not prepare an itinerary for our travel, we don't know what exactly we will be doing on our trip. Thus, we are unaware of what we need on our journey. Thus, we end up over-packing. When we are fully aware of how many days we are going and what all essentials we need to pack, our bags happen to be light. Sometimes we can easily purchase what we need from nearby stores, and sometimes hotels make those essentials available to us. In such cases, we don't have to carry them from our homes. For example, some of us carry too many snacks while travelling. Homemade food is a different aspect. For the rest of the journey, it is difficult to find freshly prepared homemade food. Thus, it would be perfectly fine to carry it which would last for some time. However, packing in lots of processed foods and cold drinks is a waste of space. These items are readily available at every eating outlet and shop. Even while travelling on trains, buses or personal vehicles, we can find plenty of stalls and shops that sell them. Thus, it is important to avoid filling the space with items that are available easily.

Last-minute packing is another reason that we end up stuffing too many items in our bags. Those who plan well, plan to prepare a list of all the places they would be visiting and all the essential commodities they would be requiring. When we make plans in a hurry, we end up packing more than what is necessary. Sometimes we have made plans. However, when it comes to packing, we end up procrastinating. We feel like we have plenty of time to pack our stuff. It will lead to last-minute packing. It will consequently result in over-packing.

Luggage bags

We can reduce the weight of our luggage if we wisely choose the bags and suitcases that we stuff our luggage in. We might have seen some bags and suitcases that weigh heavy. They are heavy to lift. When they are packed in, they weigh heavier. The same stuff if filled in lighter suitcases, weighs less. People tend to use heavy bags because of their hard exterior. They feel that their luggage, especially, expensive ones will be safe underneath them. For example, if someone wants to carry their laptop, backpacks which are particularly meant for laptops should be used. It would be a much better choice rather than picking a heavy trolley bag for the purpose. The rest of the stuff can be carried in lighter bags, as they have very little weight themselves.

There are different types of luggage bags. Travellers who wish to go everywhere on their own without much need for a taxi or any local transport enjoy backpacks. They stuff everything in it and rather keep their hands free so that they can look into a physical map or navigate through the GPS in their phones and reach where they want to. Thus, try to go for a backpack and make sure to carry a smaller one if going out for a couple of days. If a trip is long, a rucksack is the best option. Trolley bags are another good option. They can be dragged everywhere. Wherever needed a little lifting can be done and for the rest of the way they will come along with a swift drag. Avoid bags that do not come with trolleys and need lifting all the time. Reduce the number of bags and try to accommodate everything in one single bag.

How to pack lightly?

  • Never pack essentials that are provided by the hotel or can be purchased at the nearby store.

  • When on a trip carry everything that is tailored for travelling. For example, why carry a big bottle of face wash when a handy travel-friendly face wash will do the job?

  • Never fold your clothes. Always roll them. If properly rolled, clothes will not crease. Also, lots of space that is freed can be used to pack other stuff.

  • Make a list of essentials after making a detailed itinerary for the travel. The list should include the items that are necessary for the travel.

  • Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched. For example, carry a trouser or a legging that goes well with all the t-shirts and shirts. Carry a jacket that looks good over all the clothes.

  • Nowadays, whether it is tickets or hotel bookings, everything is on mobile. Do not carry the printouts. The physical map seems a little outdated. Google Maps can be used. Also, if someone wants to travel old school, physical maps can be purchased after visiting the place.

  • Always wear heavy jackets or trousers instead of packing them in bags. After boarding, one can change or just lay over their jacket on the seat. In this way, it does not occupy that extra space in the bags, and yet, it can be carried to the destination.

  • Carry smaller-size bags. Try to stuff everything in one rather than two half-filled bags.


Travelling light makes the journey more enjoyable and fun-filled. Carrying all the non-essentials and carrying more than what is necessary increases the weight in the bags. Thus, it is better to travel light. Packing smartly is packing lightly. It first begins with planning the journey ahead and then making a list of everything that needs to be carried along on the trip. The next rule is to stick to the list. Carry smaller size bags and reduce the number of bags, especially if travelling alone. Why carry so many shoes and clothes when half of them will not be worn on the journey? Carry only those items that will be put to best use. Make sure to carry them in colours that can be mixed and matched. Carry everything in travel size and avoid packing everything readily available in the hotels or on reaching the destination.


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