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Many of us tend to overpack clothes whenever we travel for work or leisure. We convince ourselves that we’ll need each of the items we’ve packed and simply can’t make do with one less item, only to end up not using half the stuff we carried.
We are not saying that you turn into an ultralight packer who is obsessed with cutting out things from their packing list. But you could probably do with fewer clothes in your luggage. You will travel more easily, spend less money on baggage fees and packing becomes an easier task. Here are some tips on how to pack fewer clothes for a trip without inconveniencing yourself.
Write a Packing List, Then Refine It
Without a packing list, it is easy to overpack. That’s because you are packing based on feel, rather than reality. Your paranoia might tell you that you need 6 shirts for a 3-day trip.
So start by writing a packing checklist. Don't worry about what you include in the first round; just note down everything you think you’ll need.
Next, go through the list again and strike out items you don't really need. After three rounds, you should have a pared down packing list that’s a lot more reasonable.
Plan to Do Laundry
For a 3 day or less trip, it makes sense to pack clothes for each day since they are not too many. But if your trip is longer than three days, you could end up with a whole lot of clothes in your luggage. They might be necessary, but they are nevertheless bulky and tedious to carry around.
The solution is to carry fewer clothes and then plan to do laundry where you are going. There are several options when it comes to doing laundry while traveling, as we explain in this post. You can book an Airbnb with a washer and dryer, go to a local laundromat, use the hotel laundry services or hand wash your clothes.
To minimize or even avoid laundry, here are some tips.
- Don't be shy about wearing clothes more than once. As long as they are not visibly dirty, just air them out overnight and they’ll be fine to wear for another day. As long as your underwear is clean, you’ll be fine.
- Or get out Kribi underwear and you can repeat your underwear as well. Kribi underwear has antimicrobial treatment that kills bacteria, keeping the underwear clean and smell-free through multiple wears.
- We also have a shirt and socks that you can wear over and over without washing.
- If you plan to repeat clothes, pack dark colored ones that don’t show dirt. They should also be wrinkle-resistant.
- Even if you don't want to repeat all your clothes, you can at least repeat your pants and then pack a fresh shirt for each day.
Pack Multipurpose and Versatile Clothes
A single coat should be enough for a trip. Look for one of those versatile coats with a removable hoodie for when it’s really cold or removable layers to accommodate different temperatures and weather.
You can sleep in a t-shirt (and underwear) and wear it the next day, meaning you don't need to pack separate nightwear.
Also make sure your clothes are versatile. You should be able to match your shirts with any of the two pairs of jeans you’ve carried.
Get Smaller Luggage
A large suitcase will inevitably lead to overpacking. To start packing lighter, get smaller luggage. This will force you to be more choosy about what you pack. After some time, you will become so good at it that you can travel with just a carry-on.
Get a Digital Luggage Scale
Instead of waiting until check-in to see how badly you’ve done with your overpacking, you can weigh your own luggage at home and make adjustments.
Get a digital scale like this one from Etekcity. It can help you pack lighter and avoid overweight fees.
Overpacking has a lot to do with our psychology. Packing extra stuff makes us feel comfortable and more prepared, especially when traveling to an unfamiliar place.
So packing lighter starts in your mind. Stop assuming the worst and making up all sorts of unlikely scenarios. Just pack only what you need and you will likely be fine. And in case you find you underpacked, you can usually get or buy what you need at your destination.