I am THE worst when it comes to packing lightly. I'm the kind of person that wants to take all my favouite clothes and shoes 'just in case'. But we all know that this is not the most practical of packing methods so I have decided to learn how to pack my luggage more effectively (mostly because it is a pain in the ass to try and haul it up and down flights of stairs or around NYC when it weighs more than I do).
See? Stuff EVERYWHERE
In my quest for the best packing tips I uncovered some real gems along the way (and some really weird suggestions too) so I have compiled a list of what I think is the best of the best.
So, here we go:
1) Create a colour scheme:
Now, I love brightly coloured clothes and mixing and matching my clothes but sometimes I can get a little out of control and try to squeeze everything into my suitcase. One of the most useful skills I have learned is that if you pack a colour scheme and pack light layers that can be interchangeable with one another (such as blacks, whites and greys etc) you can instantly mix and match a whole bunch of outfits that look completely different each time while taking up minimal space in your suitcase!
2) Minimise your shoes:
I have an addiction to flip flops. There, I said it. They are lightweight, cheap, easy to shove into the little spaces in your bag and they can be a real life-saver on your travels (grotty communal shower floors, anyone?)
My problem is that I have so many pairs and I just want to take them all! But, after some serious self-evaluation, I have come to the conclusion that I don't really need to take all 27 pairs with me (yes, 27, don't judge) and I should just pack the bare essentials. I find that black flip flops are a no-brainer, they will go with virtually anything you might want to wear and can easily be slipped into a backpack for easy access. I might also be persuaded to pack another pair in case the first set breaks but remember flip flops can be bought pretty much anywhere!
I also take a more stylish pair of sandals for more formal evening events, a pair of trainers (for those rare occassions I go running, although realistically they get more use when I go hiking) and my trusty Converse - as battered and bruised as they are they are a staple in my travel wardrobe. Any more than this is (unfortunately) excessive.
3) Use packing cubes:
Now, this is a technique I haven't actually tried myself yet (but I do plan to on my next trip!) that seems to get raving reviews from travel bloggers around the globe.
The idea of the packing cube is that it helps you to minimise your luggage because once the cube is full, you can't put more unnecessary stuff in there! I'm not sure how well this will work for me as I'm always finding ways to cram in more stuff than I need but I am willing to try anything once!
For the love of God, please don't waste your money on huge bottles of toiletries from home, this will only end up making your bag heavier and wasting space. A lot of travellers seem to forget that the majority of toiletries can be found virtually anywhere, so why not just wait until you get there to stock up? And if you buy cheap ones, you can just throw them out again before you come home!
5) Buy a Kindle:
If you are a fellow book lover like me, you will know how hard it can be to take books on a trip with you. They are heavy, they take up space, they get creased and bent and ruined. Well thanks to all the new e-readers on the market this can now be a thing of the past!
Now, I love technology but I will always hold a soft spot for actual, physical paper books. There is just something about them and I thought I would hate the idea of an electronic book - but it is just so much more practical for travelling!! I can have 100 books to choose from all at the same time on a device that fits in the palm of my hand! Remind me why I used to pack 10 books every trip again?
Any other tips you guys have for successful packing - let me know! I need all the help I can get! :)