Top 5 Travel Gear: Packing light

Compressing all of the things you need for a trip into a suitcase isn’t easy. There are clothes, toiletries, accessories, not to mention work necessities. Since carrying-on your suitcase is a huge time saver at both the beginning and end of your flight, even though it’s tricky it’s important to do.There are certainly plenty of strategies for packing light, but a few key items can really help you squeeze it all in.

top 5 travel gear packing light

  1. Packing cubes. These things will squeeze down a ton of clothes into a small rectangle. I am constantly amazed at how much my Eagle Creek packing cubes compress so much stuff. They are helpful for keeping things organized as well.
  2. Refillable toiletry bottles. Not only is there no need to bring full size toiletries, but you won’t be able to take your suitcase through security! While some people like to go crazy buying toiletry sizes (which I get because they are so fun and adorable), I would rather take my normal products with me. This means refillable 3 oz bottles. (For smaller amounts like face wash or moisturizer, use a spare contact lens space.)
  3. Tablet with keyboard. This may not be practical for everyone, but if you can avoid bringing your full-size laptop you will save so much space. There are plenty of tablets out there, and if you pop a keyboard on it is almost as functional as its larger big brother. I have an iPad Air with the Logitech UltraThin Keyboard Folio, and can do the majority of my work on it.
  4. Ziploc bags. Just like packing cubes, Ziploc bags will organize and compress your stuff, just on a smaller scale. I usually have a few extras shoved in my outside suitcase pocket because you never know when you’ll need one.
  5. Small suitcase. If you really want to pack lighter, a surefire way is to downsize your suitcase. Logic says if you have more space to fill, you will pack more. That is definitely my experience! For overnight trips I have moved from my regular beloved Victorinox 20in rollaboard to a smaller version. Otherwise I feel compelled to fill my suitcase with “just-in-case” items that are basically unneeded.

True story: as I was telling the Home Warrior about this post, his final suggestion was “travel fan”. I think he was kidding? Either way, pretty funny.

Readers, what do you consider essential light packing gear?

Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

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  1. My single biggest tip is to use luggage without wheels. “pick up the damn thing”. If it’s too heavy then you’ve got some offloading to do!

  2. Suitcase? For leisure travel and short duration trips I go with only a Patagonia Mini Mass bag, which fits under my feet or CRJ overhead no problems. Wear the heavier clothes, pack the lighter ones. Wonderful thing about setting a size limit with a small bag is you realize how little you really need. Going to a hotel, why pack a bunch of toiletries half of it can be supplied in room or at front desk for free.

    I learned my lesson years ago when my girlfriend and I landed in Yucatan for a 2-week excursion and AeroMexico lost all our luggage. We replaced essentials and just improvised as we went, and the boat anchors never came with us again.

    Admittedly on business trips, she packs a 20-inch Ricardo Spinner with nice shoes, etc.

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