Packing Light When Traveling

Category Travel
This page is about packing light when traveling. Carrying only what you will need can be a challenge when taking a trip.


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I am traveling to Anchorage, Alaska. This trip is for a month or two. I am leaving July 16th, I want to pack really light and I know the weather will change. I'm going there for the birth of my daughter's first child. This is my first plane trip. Any tips or suggestions are needed.

By Helen Baysinger from Senoia, GA


June 11, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you have access to a washing machine, you can pack very light and just wash the clothes every couple of days. My family always packs carry-on luggage when we travel, whether we are going for a few days or 10 days. The key is packing the same color scheme to your clothes. I usually pack black pants and skirts. I wear my jeans and sneakers on the plane. These are usually the heaviest and bulkiest items I bring. So I do not need to pack them. Also sticking to the same color scheme for pants allows me to pack two pairs of shoes, one casual and one dressy.


I also never pack shampoo and soap because hotels/houses I stay in have them already or I buy inexpensive ones when I get to my destination. My husband and I (and sometimes my kids) have gone to Hawaii, Europe, cruises, Alaska, and the Caribbean and always pack just a carryon bag each. We have never gone anywhere for 30 days, but I would apply my same strategies while packing for 30 days and would limit myself to a carryon.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 9, 2009

What are your recommendations for packing "light" when traveling? I always over-pack because I hate to get to my destination and be short of clothes and other items. I'd always rather have more than what I need than not enough. Any recommendations?


Peggygv from San Antonio, TX


Packing Light When Traveling

I pack a lot lighter than my husband. Knit fabrics can be rolled and don't take much room. No "one-use" items either, every item must coordinate with at least two others. For instance, I'll bring black, grey, and navy pants. Tops could be light blue, taupe, a print that has the neutrals in it, so all or most tops could be worn with all/most pants. Also most of my clothes can be washed and hung-up to dry so I can wear them again later in the week. I always wear my heaviest clothes and shoes to travel layering a sweater and wind-breaker. For shoes I only wear/bring 1 pair of sneakers and one pair of black sandals or shoes. I get small travel-sized make-up and hair products and bring a small pouch for 2 or 3 sets of jewelry. Hope this helps! (04/20/2006)


By Eileen Santos

Packing Light When Traveling

I pack more sensibly than my husband who carries everything along with him, ha!

For instance we are traveling to Ireland for 20 days by cruise ship. I pick out 7 complete outfits corresponding with a day within week. Hanging on their own hangers I tag the outfits on what day it will be used for Mon. through Sun. Panties and sleepwear can be hand washed so I bring extra clothes pins to hang things up on an extra hanger(s) that I have brought along for us for this purpose. I only pack 1 pair of comfortable black walking shoes & also our rain coats for use on shore excursions. I also pack my bedroom pillow and a sleep sack that I had made up out of a double flat bed sheet folded and sewn in an L pattern, as the bleach in public used linens is hard on my skin. This way I do not have to be uncomfortable sleeping in a strange bed as I have my pillow with me and am in a bed sack with my scent on it. A sleep mask tops off the bedding outfit for me and I am quite comfortable.


We also pack a portable alarm clock that tells the room's temperature, which comes in very handy.

By Paula Jo Carr

Packing Light When Traveling

Remember when traveling (especially for long trips), that you don't have to take a lot, you can hit a laundromat. And then also come home with nice clean clothes. Also, I love using ziplock bags to separate my things, and it is also water tight. Ziplocks are also good for things that may leak, like body wash, or perfume. We found out while flying, liquids will get forced out by pressure with rough luggage handling. So bag it to make sure. I have also heard of parents ziplock bagging a child's outfit. Each outfit is ironed and packed into a zip lock and labeled a day for the younger child. I'd rather take smaller suitcases, that are organized. And do the hanger bag if I'm driving. My daughter travels a lot, and does this way. (04/20/2006)


By Glinda

Packing Light When Traveling

Use mix and match light weight or transitional items. Example: 1 pair slacks, 1 pair jeans, 1 skirt and three tops that will go with any bottom. Add a sweater or a jacket and a big scarf. Sandals, pumps, and tennies should take you anywhere from a picnic, to shopping, to church, to a fancy evening out. (04/20/2006)

By Anna Marie

Packing Light When Traveling

If you bring everything in colors that coordinate with each other, you will have more combinations to wear with fewer different garments. (04/21/2006)

By Lynn Beth

Packing Light When Traveling

After over packing for years, I did start to do this when I am traveling in the fall, winter, and spring: I almost always pack a long sleeve v-neck and a camisole, made out of silk. I also pack a pair of silk pants undergarments. They take up little room in the suitcase, but they can be surprisingly warm when layered under a sweater, can knock off a morning chill under just a blouse, and they can be taken off easily and stored in the travel pocketbook or whatever during the day if you are away from your hotel and too warm (this is easier than a jacket or sweater to deal with if you are sightseeing or in seminars away from you room). The v-neck and pants can double as pjs or can be layered under your pjs if the hotel room is too cool to your liking. (04/24/2006)

By me

Packing Light When Traveling

Sweater sets are great, because you can mix colors and layer. I'd bring the hiking boots and some casual nice walking shoes that can go with one or two extra nice outfits. Pack a dress, and reuse it if you go out with different people. Just press as needed and keep it clean. ;) I found that the shampoo at hotels works great for emergency cleaning. The first two posts have awesome ideas. I travel with little boys, so I always have to pack an extra outfit in each bag. (04/24/2006)

By Kelly

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