I love to travel, both stateside and around the world. While I try not to check luggage, sometimes on my extended vacations I simply must. Or, as we all know—sometimes the liquid restrictions require us to. Even with packing a suitcase, I still try to pack light.
First Invest In Great Suitcase
Contrary to popular belief, hard or structured luggage is not the way to go. They are heavy, and their structure takes up valuable packing space. If you will be backpacking through Europe or traveling for more than a month—consider investing in a hardcore backpack, or 100% soft suitcase or duffle bag with a handle and wheels. By soft, I mean completely collapsible. This also means they will take up less room to store once you arrive at your destination.
Clothing That Can Mix And Match
Next up, you need to be very strategic with your clothing. The goal is to mix and match, but always have something clean to wear. Also consider a tip from minimalists, by wearing the same thing every day—or by trying Project 333 while you travel. You must also of course pack for the weather. Where you don’t want to skimp is on your socks and undies, but to keep packing light—opt for undies that are designed for hand washing and quick dry. Keep shoes to 3, with tennis shoes that are light and small—that is unless you require a more substantial shoe for your excursions.
The Basics And The Just Incases
Extended vacations will have you rethinking your daily essentials. At least bring a multi-purpose hygiene product with you—like Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. For maximum freedom and flexibility, purchase your hygiene products when you arrive. This is not your most cost-effective option, but may be easier than taking up valuable space in your luggage—or checking a bag due to liquid restrictions. Also, consider leaving them behind. That being said, depending on where you travel you may not be able to find your preferred brand of shampoo, hair product, or skincare products. Don’t forget to pack items such as:
- Band-Aids’ and/or travel first aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- One days’ worth of toilet paper
- Extra hair clips or bands
- A travel sewing kit
- Mini scissors—which you may not be allowed to carry on
- Nail file and clippers
- Electric adapter
- Over-the-counter and upset tummy product
- Prescription meds
- At least one non-standard weather item—lightweight jacket, long-sleeve shirt, cardigan, Pashmina, hat, tank top—it will vary depending on the local climate
During my extended vacations, I often travel with at least a few strategic luxuries to make my Airbnb or hotel feel like home. This often includes one pillowcase and a towel. A tea light size travel candle, or a plug-in essential oil diffuser. A small selection of teas. A mindfulness coloring book.
The goal is to strike the perfect balance of having what you need, and not overpacking and feeling the weight of your possessions. Always leave room in your budget for the last-minute purchase of the items you decided to leave behind, but may need once you arrive. If you leave things behind in your travel destination, try to find a local spot to donate them to.