How to pack your life in a carry-on when you’re an overpacker?

Packing your life into a carry-on can be quite a daunting task. We always think “what if I need this, what if I need that”, but the truth is you don’t. I’m going to be honest here, I am a serial over-packer. I am always on the border of my weight limit because I always want to take my whole house with me! However, during my recent trip to South Korea, I realised how much I loved packing light. Here are the reasons why you should too:

  • First things first, it’ll save you money! If you decide to fly with a budget airline, you are obviously looking at cost-cutting. Depending on the airline, could potentially save around $200 if you only opt for carry-on luggage. Plus, you’ll also save on taxi costs if you don’t have anything heavy with you.
  • A lighter suitcase means easier mobility. Imagine being at a subway with no elevators (I’m talking to you, Paris!) and you are carrying a 25kg suitcase. I’ve been there, done that and it was not fun at all! Having a backpack with you or a smaller suitcase means that you can walk around the airport, train stations and to your accommodation with ease.
  • Only having carry-on luggage means you don’t have to wait forever at baggage collection. Having more time on your hands is always a bonus!

Now that we have established some of the benefits of travelling light, below are my tips on how you can do it too:

Avoid packing on the last minute

Try to do what I do: start packing a few weeks before your trip. Just throw in whatever you think you need in your suitcase, then just do a process of elimination the closer you get to your trip. You don’t really need that 10th piece of top, do you? Also, try your clothes on before you put it in your suitcase and make sure you actually want to wear it. There’s nothing worse than bringing extra clothes you are never going to wear!

Take lightweight clothing

Disclaimer: this part is a lot easier when it’s summer. I personally like to take dresses because I find that it’s a complete outfit already. I also like to bring pieces that are easy to mix and match. I love neutral colours so I either bring a white, black or grey tops as they are easy to match with any skirts, shorts or jeans that I bring. Oh, and don’t forget a cardigan! And if you are taking a big jacket with you just wear it on the plane, it’ll probably be cold anyway.

Choose your travel shoes

This one is a doozie! As ladies, we like to take as many shoes (or clothes) as possible for the ‘just-in-case’. However, I find that I can narrow my options down to 3 (or 4 if I’m really indecisive).

  1. Sandals – this is particularly great for warmer climates. Try to pick one that looks good but also comfortable enough to let you walk around all day. You can also use your sandals as a replacement for heels if you wanted to go out at night.
  2. Walking/running shoes – I like to bring my white Converse shoes with me. It suits with everything and comfortable to wear all day. I also like to bring a pair of Nikes for any light hikes that I want to do. I would swap my Nikes for proper hiking boots if I know I’m going to be doing a big hike.
  3. Thongs (jandals/flip flops) – do not forget to bring this, especially if you are staying in hostels.

My tip is to wear the heaviest shoes you have. It’ll save you space and it will not contribute to your weight limit.

Minimise toiletries

This is something I’ve learnt to do recently. I love bringing my full sized products, but that’s impossible when you only have a carry-on with you. Customs officers will make you throw them out – you don’t want to have to go through that! What you can do is buy the travel sized toiletries from pharmacies or supermarkets. Alternatively, if all you really want are the basics (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and soap) just rely on your hotel to provide you with those items! You’ll find that they have great quality toiletries especially if you’re staying at the higher end hotels.

Simplify your makeup

Only bring your everyday essentials. For me, that’s my foundation/bb cream, powder, brow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, blush/bronzer and nude lipstick. There have been times when I’ve brought 20 brushes (exaggeration), 10 shades of lipstick and at least 2 eyeshadow palettes but I always come to realise that I only end up using my everyday essentials anyway so there really was no point in bringing the rest!

Just take less!

Do yourself a favour and leave home without the things you’re comfortable with. You might surprise yourself and realise that you really don’t even need them at all!

Feel free to comment below if you have your own tips on how you travel light!


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