I will be the FIRST to admit that I am not a light packer, in absolutely no sense of the word. I love to travel, but hate packing because I am always always that girl that you laugh at, walking through the airport looking like a pack mule, with two suitcases, a carry on, personal item, laptop case, and usually sweating because she wore too many layers to save room.

Okay, that could be a bit dramatic.

Regardless, I have been doing more traveling this last year than normal, and so I have had to learn how to pack light. For example, I recently went to California and the flight I took (usually I like to fly South West because they allow two free checked bags, how amazing is that?) but this flight made you pay even for a carry on, and I thought it was outrageously priced, and I was determined to fit everything I would need for a 4 day trip in San Clemente in my personal item. Let me tell you, I was doing lots of researching about how to pack smart, and I was able to learn a lot and want to share all of my tips with you!  Here are all of my tips on how I have learned to save as much space as possible and pack smart. I hope you find them helpful on your next trip, wherever you are going! 

1. Make sure that you take the bare minimum

I know, I know. This sounds like a no brainier! But I was surprised when I went to pack what I thought was my “bare minimum” in make-up and products, and realized that it just wasn’t going to work. Condense your products down as much as possible. I also have a little “Travel” bag that has tiny little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and everything is as small as I can possibly get it (see number 5 & 8) I never bring anything full sized. 

2. Stuff as much as you can in small places

For example, if you are packing sneakers, you can shove all of your socks inside of them to save space.

3. Wear Layers

Okay, maybe this is only something I would do, but usually I show up to the airport wearing a jacket, a hat, sunglasses and whatever else I can layer to save space in my travel bag.

4. Pack Versatile Pieces

I can’t emphasis this enough! I usually will pack a few pairs of pants that I can wear with anything, and shoes that are just neutral, and shirt that’s I can switch up. It helps so much!

5. Know The Resources Of Where You Are Staying

If you are staying with a friend or somebody you know, you can always ask them if you can use their shampoo, a towel, etc. (if they are your friend, they will say yes! Haha!)

6. Roll Your Clothes

Growing up, my dad had to travel for work a lot, and sometimes I would sit and talk to him while he packed. I always always noticed that he would roll his clothes as tight as can be, and would layer them on the bottom of his suitcase. Later I learned that this is a technique he learned in the Navy. So, whenever we went camping, he would teach us to do the same thing. And let me tell you, this is a HUGE space saver! For me, it is actually the most important thing. You may have to iron your clothes afterwards, but it’s worth saving the space!

7. Don’t Take Anything In it’s Package

Sometimes when I’m about to leave on a trip, I realize that I need this or that (usually mascara, or something.) and I buy it and I’m always tempted to just toss it in my suitcase, but it saves a lot of space if you take everything out of it’s packaging, no matter what it is.

8. Know What You Can buy when you get there

It’s not cheap, I know. But sometimes wasting space by packing sunblock and hairspray (which you can’t take on a plane anyway!) or your favorite protein bars. Sometimes, it’s best to just buy it there, use it, and throw it away before flying home. Not the cheapest method, but if you use as much as possible during your trip, it will be worth all that saved space for more important things (like more shoes. Ha!)

9. Pack The Bigger item’s first

This is a general rule of thumb for me, because its easier to fit things into small spaces, than it is to try and shove big stuff where they don’t fit.

10. If you plan to bring home souvenirs, make space accordingly!

Nothing is worse than when you try to back light on your way back from a trip, because almost ALWAYS you will have accumulated souvenirs of some sort (or in my case: just more clothes.) So make sure you save room for them, or resist the urge to buy them and remind yourself that they won’t fit in your suitcase on your way home.

There you have it! My Top 10 Tips for light packing! These tips helped me fit 4 days worth of stuff in a small duffel bag, so I am sure they can work for you!

Happy Traveling!