Packing Light Guide: Clothing Edition

Your upcoming trip is taking you through new cities, climates, activities and experiences. You’re so excited that your suitcase is overflowing with clothes, shoes and accessories. You have to look your best for all of your Instagram photos, right?

Well, your body, flight attendant and wallet won’t thank you for the extra pair of shoes and overflowing amount of shirts you tried to stuff in. It’s time the you learned how to pack light with the following tips.

Multipurpose Items

The easiest way to lighten your load is to pack clothing that can serve multiple purposes or work with a variety of outfits. For example, if you’re going on an outdoor adventure, the weather is likely to change quickly as the sun rises and sets, so you should consider zip off pants. They may not be the most stylish, but they are incredibly useful without taking up a lot of room in your suitcase or backpack. Before you leave, you should check outdoors retailers for clothing items that can work for your trip, whether it’s going to be hot and muggy or a little chilly outside.

You also should pack shoes, accessories, a rain jacket and light sweaters that go with multiple outfits. Look for clothing that can be dressy or casual and fun or conservative depending on your location. A good example of this is a simple, black, closed-toe shoe that can go with jeans, dresses or slacks and are comfortable to walk in.

Light Layers

Jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets take up a lot of space in your suitcase unnecessarily. Of course, you need to stay warm and dry on your trip, but you need to look into alternatives for these bulky items. This is where light layers come in. Instead of wearing a thick sweater, pack a light long-sleeved shirt that can go under a T-shirt and a cardigan. You can wear all of these items in the early morning or at night when it’s cool and then take them off as the weather warms up throughout the day. Just like the section above, make sure these layered items go with multiple outfits so you’re not wasting space. While pants are a little more difficult in the layering department, you may want to consider tights or leggings that can fit under your pants or under a dress to keep you warm.

Neutral Colors

Another packing tip to limit how many items you need to bring is to stick with neutral colors. Opt for blacks, whites, tans and grays that can match with anything. This includes your shoes. If you want to add some color to your wardrobe, look for bright accessories that don’t take up much room, such as scarves, jewelry and small hats. The more you can mix and match your items, the less you have to pack.

Limited Bulky Items

Sometimes you have no choice but to pack those bulky, space-wasting articles of clothing. If you can, invest in space-saving bags that enable you to suck the extra air from between your clothes. This gives you more room to put other items in your suitcase instead of the whole thing being taken up by a puffy jacket. However, keep in mind that everything weighs the same amount, even if it takes up less room.

You also should wear your bulkiest items on the plane. If you have to bring work boots, a sweatshirt and a large hat, make it your travel-day outfit. This way it doesn’t take up room in your bag or add a bunch of weight you can’t afford.

It’s not difficult to pack light if you’re willing to make some compromises. Tell yourself that you don’t need that extra pair of pants or the dress shoes you surely won’t wear when you’re walking around. Be smart about your choices and focus on enjoying your trip, not your clothes.