4 min read

10 Tips for Packing Light & Smart for Travel

We’ve all been here when packing for a multi-night trip: Your adventurous side wants to make sure that you have something for every eventuality so that you’re ready for anything. Your practical side wants to make sure that it all fits safely and comfortably within a carry-on. 

It feels like “packing right” and “packing light” couldn’t possibly exist together. Fear not! By following these simple tips, you’ll spend less time worrying if your suitcase will close and more time planning your itinerary. Here’s how to pack less when traveling. 

1. Set Yourself Up For Packing Perfection

If you’re wondering how to pack fewer clothes for travel, always start by setting aside all the items you’re considering bringing before you put anything into your bag. Thinking ahead will allow you to look super critically at every item in order to identify what you simply can’t travel without. Anything that doesn’t make the cut? Pass! Also, consider weight and fabric choice. For example, balance comfort and style with your shoe choices but opt for lighter pairs. Stick to a thinner fleece or cashmere versus a bulky cable knit sweater. 

Make sure you don’t choose an enormous suitcase as it’s only going to tempt you to pack more items. Briggs & Riley has several small and medium-sized bags that still provide plenty of room for your clothing and personal belongings. 

2. Bulk Up

If you do need to take bulkier items, wear them on the plane to make the most of the space inside your carry-on. You’ll be glad you did — planes are always chilly. Plus, sweaters and jackets can double as an in-flight pillow in case you want to catch some extra Z’s.

3. Goodbye, Separation Anxiety

 We’ve all heard the horror stories or experienced firsthand the stress of bags being lost in transit. Packing an extra set of clothes in a travel backpack or tote will go a long way to put your mind at ease if you become separated from your bag.

4. Never Sacrifice Your Style

While you may find it easier to stick to neutrals when it comes to pairing larger items like shirts and pants, any outfit can be spiced up with colorful accessories such as scarves, belts, and ties. With our Baseline Domestic Carry-on Spinner, you can expand the bag by 25 percent and then compress back down to its original size. Translation? No accessory left behind.

5. Traveling With a Group? 

Want to know how to pack light when traveling as a group? Briggs & Riley’s CX Technology allows you to pack more in one suitcase so you can cut down on how many bags you need when you travel, say if you were traveling as a family of four. The spacious Large Expandable Spinnerand Extra-Large Expandable  Spinner would be perfect in this case. 

6. Staying a Few Extra Days? 

Don’t be afraid to utilize hotel laundry services to get multiple wears out of your outfits — you really only need to pack a week’s worth of clothing for a long trip. Sure, one benefit of packing light is that you’ll avoid baggage fees. But if you ask us, the most important thing is that you won’t have to waste a single moment of your getaway huddled around the baggage claim. Who wouldn’t want more time to enjoy their final destination?

7. Don’t Go Crazy With Toiletries 

Toiletries can add a lot of bulk and weight fast, so streamline your kit as best as you can. For example, do you really need three lipstick shades? Can you get away with using the shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner at the hotel? Also, never take full-sized bottles of anything. Invest in some refillable travel-sized bottles or purchase smaller sizes of your favorite products. If you’re traveling with someone, share toiletries to maximize space in your bag.

8. Incorporate a Few Hacks 

Knowing how to pack light is also about incorporating a few hacks. For example: 

  • Swap bulky shoe covers for shower caps. 
  • Go cordless with your electronic toothbrush so you don’t have to bring a charger.
  • Pick up excess sanitary products at your destination.
  • See if the hotel has a hairdryer or invest in a small, travel-sized version.
  • Swap bulky books for a tablet.
  • Dose out the amount of essential medications you’ll need for the duration of the trip and transfer to a small pillbox. 
  • Leave the chunky costume jewelry at home and focus on a couple of simpler, core pieces.
  • Take only the electronics you need. If you’re not planning on working while away, leave your computer behind and stick with your cellphone and maybe, a tablet. 

9. Pack Smart

Don’t just toss everything in your suitcase without thinking about how to pack more in less space. There are several different packing methods you can choose from that can help you learn how to pack light for a long trip, or a short one. 

  • Rolling Method: Great for sweaters, pants, and t-shirts, but not for formal wear or business attire.
  • Wrapping Method: Best with longer, fancier garments like dresses and pants.
  • Bundling Method: Bundling is done by the outfit. So if you plan to wear a specific shirt with a specific pair of pants, you bundle them together.
  • The Packing Cube Method: Packing cubes won’t necessarily save you space — but they can help you keep your clothing organized.
  • The Compression Pack Method: Compression packs work wonders for bulky items like ski pants and heavy sweaters. Simply put your items in a bag and roll it to get the air out.

10. Consider the Benefits 

If you’re traditionally an over-packer, it can be difficult to retrain your brain to think less is more. However, consider the copious benefits that come with packing smart. 

  • No excess baggage fees if you’re only taking a carry-on. 
  • No fear of your bag being overweight, resulting in a fee.
  • No need to wait in line at the baggage drop.
  • You can get around faster.
  • Makes multi-destination trips less chaotic.
  • You’ll cut down on packing and unpacking time.




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