For those of us who love everything organisation, packing for a trip is one of the most exciting aspects. But excitement can quickly turn to stress when we realise our suitcase and weight limit don’t quite account for everything we want to bring with us. Packing light for a trip is an art form which borrows closely from the principles of minimalism. We know you want to bring a different outfit for every day, but sometimes it’s just not feasible.
Packing light doesn’t have to be boring! There is an odd satisfaction to finding ways to get many different outfits out of limited pieces. In fact, packing light can become almost addictive! Every time I need to pack for a new trip, I challenge myself to pack less than the one before. Once you learn to pack light, you’ll never want to go back.
Here are our tips to get the most out of a limited wardrobe on your next trip by learning how to pack light.
Do Your Research
Are you packing to visit somewhere you’ve never travelled to before? Research ahead and check out what to expect in terms of weather. This can really aid in packing light, because you’ll have a better idea of how many warm clothes you will or won’t need.
You can also use this to gauge things like washing facilities. Depending on the length of your trip, it’s very possible to wash and re-wear your clothes on your holiday. If you take this into account, it makes it much easier when trying to pack light.
Packing becomes much easier when you know how many and what types of clothes you’ll need by researching ahead.
The Only One Principle
The Only One Principle is a great method to follow when trying to cut down on your wardrobe. It’s pretty self-explanatory; if you pack something it must be the only one of its kind. For example, you pack a white t-shirt. You have another white t-shirt in a different cut, or maybe with a logo on it, that you would also like to bring. So you choose between the two. Deciding can be hard, so here are a few guidelines to go off:
- Think about which of the two shirts you usually gravitate towards.
- Which shirt is more versatile, and goes with more outfits?
- Of the two, which is more comfortable?
- Do you need this specific item for any activity you’re undertaking on your trip?
Apply these guidelines to any and all clothing items you’re considering taking to significantly cut back on your wardrobe. It’s unlikely you’ll need 5 floral dresses, 4 pairs of blue jeans in varying styles and 6 different pairs of sneakers. So choose the one that you think you’ll get the most use out of.
This also applies to your makeup kit! If you can, try to pack the most versatile makeup products you have. If you like light coverage in the day and fuller coverage for the evenings, take a buildable foundation that can be used for both purposes. Similarly, choose an eyeshadow pallet that can take you from day to night. Combined eye-and-face palettes are great for travel, as they can cut down on the need to take a separate eye palette, blush, bronzer and highlighter. Bring it down to only one mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow product too! The Midnight Crusade Bits and Pieces Cosmetics Case is a great size to pack your makeup and brushes for travel.
Use Accessories to Your Advantage
If you’ve read our other blog posts in the Midnight Crusade Travel Journal, you already know how much we love scarves. Even if your destination is tropical, a scarf is a versatile piece that can be used to add a lot of value to an outfit. It doesn’t just have to be a scarf! You could tie it into a trendy scarf top or a tote bag. It can also be used to keep you warm on the plane, tied into a tote bag, as a picnic blanket or a beach cover-up.
Scarves aren’t the only accessory you can use to amplify your outfit. A cute belt, necklace or pair of earrings can take an outfit to a whole new level and keep your re-used pieces interesting over the duration of your trip.
Accessories generally take up a lot less space than extra clothes. Just remember, we are still packing light! Choose accessories that can be mixed-and-matched with most of the clothes in your minimal travel wardrobe.
Pack for Your Plans
Before packing, have a look over your itinerary and assess what types of activities you’ll be doing on your trip. Are you travelling to the snow? If so, you probably don’t need 6 different swimsuit options. Choose one to use in the hot tub and call it a day!
Are you planning on doing a lot of fine dining on your trip? If not, you won’t need to pack a bunch of different evening wear options. We generally choose one nice dress that can be dressed up or down (with your accessories!) in the event of a fancy night out.
Activewear, especially a pair of good-quality black leggings, is a great versatile option for travellers. It can be worn as a comfy plane outfit or can be dressed up with sneakers or boots for a daytime outing. Obviously, activewear is a go-to choice for most hikes and outdoor activities on your trip. If you’re planning to be doing mostly active, outdoor activities, you might need to break the Only One Principle. Looking at guideline 4, we can see it stands to reason that we actually do need these extra items. Plus, you’ll likely forego clothing pieces you might otherwise have taken. Remember, the goal here is to pack light, but that doesn’t mean stripping it down to nothing.
If you’re going on a longer trip where you’ll be doing a lot of different activities, it can be hard to cut down on your wardrobe. In these cases, packing cubes are great to help in packing more items into a smaller space. They’re perfect for keeping your clothes organised too!
Use Space Wisely
Earlier we talked about reducing your makeup kit to travel size, but what about all of your other toiletries? Shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and skincare usually come in bulky packaging, which aren’t ideal for light packing! Travel bottles are the best way to pack only what you need when it comes to toiletries.
Midnight Crusade have three different options when it comes to travel bottles, depending on your needs. Our Fill Me Up Travel Bottles come in convenient sets of four and in two size options. For shorter trips, where you won’t need as much product, our 60mL Travel Bottles are perfect. However, if you’re planning a longer trip, you may want to wash your hair a few times. In this case, the Fill Me Up Travel Bottles 90mL would be more suitable. These bottles are great because they have a nice, wide opening, making it easy to transfer your products.
You may be thinking – set of four? I have a 6 step skincare routine! That’s where the Ready to Go 8-piece travel bottle set will come in handy. This one includes a spray bottle for your toner or facial spray, a pump bottle and a flip lid bottle. There are also two mini-jars for your eye cream or a face mask! This set also includes a pipette, spatula and funnel to assist you in loading them up with your products. When packing light, it’s good to reduce your beauty routine to the least amount of steps possible. But if you can’t reduce any more, these kits are a great way to bring more in smaller quantities.
Consider a Shopping Allowance
We’re not talking budget here! Are you heading to a big city where you plan to do lots of shopping? Or are you big on gifting and likely to return home with a bag full of treats for your loved ones? These are important things to consider when packing for your trip. Packing light to begin with can make all the difference when it comes to lugging home new purchases. It will not only leave you with more physical space in your suitcase. Weight can be a big factor on the return trip, so packing light can help you stay under the limit.
If you’ll be moving around to different locations on your holiday, it’s a good idea to keep track of your suitcase weight along the way. We recommend taking a luggage scale with you to make things easier. They’re lightweight, easy to use and take up hardly any room in your bag. Luggage scales make it super easy to pack light, and have saved us from expensive excess baggage fees at the airport more times than we could count!