Packing is one of the biggest stresses related to travel, according to a 2012 US study.
Unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds of couples fought while packing, while women over-packed by about 50 per cent, a survey conducted by British travel website Holiday Hypermarket found.
Despite the advantages of travelling light – from saving on baggage costs to greater freedom while on the move – paring back your luggage can be a struggle, particularly if you’re on a lengthy vacation or heading to winter.
Airlines are also becoming stricter about the weight of carry-on luggage, so there’s also less scope for squeezing in that sneaky bit more.
Fortunately, there are some handy tricks (and products) that will help astute travellers pack smarter and lighter.
1. Lightweight suitcases
One of the easiest ways to lighten the load is with a small or lightweight suitcase.
For example, while they hold about the same amount of luggage, a lightweight suitcase will weigh two or three kilograms less than a standard case.
2. Shampoo and conditioner bars
Weighing only about 55 grams, these fit snugly into a toiletries bag. No more lugging around bulky bottles of shampoo or conditioner or the messy, last minute time-suck of pouring portions into smaller jars.
3. Plastic zip-lock bags
Transparent, plastic zip-lock bags allow you to individually pack clothes and other items, and squash them down to reduce bulk.
But, be wary, the ability to pack more can add weight.
Also consider zip-up packing cubes, which come in a host of sizes.
4. Universal travel adaptors
A universal travel adaptor allows you to use one adaptor to charge all your devices, such as your smartphone, tablet and camera. Get one with multiple USB ports so you can charge everything simultaneously.
Pack a multi-plug powerboard as well, and your electrical charging needs will be more than covered.
5. Travel cord roll
Cables and cords for your devices can chew up precious luggage space. A travel cord roll stows them more neatly but also keeps them protected.
6. Sample-size beauty products
Condense your beauty and spa products down by buying sample sizes of your favourite products.
The best of the rest
7. Dr Bronner’s All-One Soap: These multipurpose soaps can be used for shaving, washing your hair, body or clothes, and are environment-friendly.
8. Disposable razors: Old-fashioned hand razors consume a lot less space and weight than the electric variety.
9. Solid cologne, perfume and deodorant bars: Incorporate deodorant and perfume or cologne into the one bar.
10. Tooth powder: Available in small jars, it’s less bulky than tube toothpaste but does the same job and is based on natural ingredients.
Additional tips for packing light
Seasoned traveller and light baggage advocate, Fred Perrotta, suggests the following in Packing Light. The Normal Person’s Guide to Carry-On-Only Travel:
- Pack lots of thin, insulating layers and one good weather-proof outer layer, rather than lots of bulky clothes;
- Wear bulky items onto the plane;
- Reduce shoes to two to three pairs;
- Simplify your colour palette and pack only clothes that match;
- Replace travel books, magazines and guides with apps and a tablet or Kindle;
- Roll, don’t fold, your clothes;
- Don’t pack anything cheap you can easily buy;
- Don’t bring valuables;
- Store camera SD cards in a Tic-Tac box
- Condense your medical kit into a prescription bottle.