Waiting at the airport for flight with light luggage

The freedom of packing light

Once you pack light, you’ll never look back!

I’ve learned the advantage of traveling with a single carry-on bag and one personal item for trips that are up to eleven days (I haven’t taken a trip longer than that yet, but I think I can do it for two weeks). I don’t pay baggage fees, don’t worry about lost luggage, or need to walk around with heavy bags. Also, while others are at baggage claim, I’m leaving the airport. Packing light is especially advantageous when you’re traveling alone and don’t have someone else to help take things around.

People ask me how I manage to pack so light. Here are some of my tricks.

Carry-on and laptop bag are my go-to bags for packing light
I’ve used the bag on the left and the laptop bag for 11 days so far.

Pack a week’s worth of clothes. 

If you’re going for a couple of weeks or longer, you’ll have to do a little laundry. Most Airbnbs have one, or you can pay for it at the hotel or a laundromat, or wash them in your room and hang them to dry.

Bring layers rather than a bulky coat. 

The same T-shirt that you’d wear when it’s warm can be worn a layer if it gets chilly at night. Pack less of your heavy layers. Sweaters or thicker shirts can be worn more than once if you change the shirt closest to your skin. If you need to take a jacket, bring it on the plane so it doesn’t take up space in your bag. Organize your clothes well and pack them in tightly. Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will maximize space and minimize wrinkles.

If you’re going somewhere that requires a suit or gown.

See if you can find a carry-on that doubles as a folding single suit bag and has some compartments, like this one from Skyway. I take dresses that don’t wrinkle, like jersey material so I can use a regular bag. I also carry a suit in my laptop bag for business trips. It fits!

Packing light for a business trip: I can fit one suit into my laptop bag
My suit fits into my laptop bag wit my laptop as well!

Pack clothes that coordinate with everything else you’re bringing. 

If it doesn’t work in multiple outfits, don’t bring it. Go simple and very light. Think of what you can do without, not what will be handy. Leave it out if you have any doubt. Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes and two pairs of pants, and wear your heaviest items on the plane.

Get rid of clutter. 

Clean up your wallet, bring an e-reader instead of books and don’t bring a large supply of personal products (deodorant, hair products, etc.). You can buy these things anywhere if you run out.

In addition to a carry-on bag, airlines allow you to bring a personal item such as a laptop bag, purse or backpack. 

I carry a laptop bag that can fit my makeup bag and a small purse, or I fit the makeup bag in the purse to save space. Backpacks are great options because they can hold a lot more than other personal bags and will still fit under the seat.

These are some of my tips for packing light. Do you have any others?


  1. I need to read this 40 times before my next vacation!! I always pack way too much stuff. ugh. the thought of dragging only one small roller bag and a backpack around sounds dreamy. I’ll put this to the test next month 😉

  2. I learned to pack light the hard way. I rolled my clothes to prevent wrinkles 3 t-shirts ( 1) shorts (long pants that rolled up int shorts -light cotton) and (2) capri pants -for comfort. Underware, sox and one Irish wool sweater and a large head/neck scarf. I would entertain the idea of a trendy sweater jacket I see in the fashion pages.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for sharing and agreed they are!

    1. Author

      Thank you very much!

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing!

    1. Author

      Safe travels! Have a wonderful trip and thank you!

    1. Author

      Hahaha! I know 🙂

  3. I wish i can do this ! I always end up with stuff that i don’t even use !

    1. Author

      It took some time to get used to but now I can’t look back! Everything is so much faster and easier now 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  4. I agree that once you start packing light, it’s hard to go back. It makes travel so much easier.

    1. Author

      It really is! I can’t look back. Thank you!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. I do most of these too! Impressed you can fit a suit into laptop bag. Does it get wrinkled?

    1. Author

      Hahaha! Actually no! I fold it carefully and it stays in tact!

    1. Author

      It takes time but if you can get rid of a few things at a time, it gets easier!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Author

      Thank you!

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