One common issue many travelers have as they prepare for an exciting trip is over-packing. From too many clothes to bulky electronics, it’s easy to bring way more than you need and that will ultimately slow you down from enjoying the things you really want to do.
Jordan Siemens / Getty Images
Faced with this problem, I started to think about whether or not it would be possible to travel the world with only one backpack and still have everything you need. As I researched space-saving solutions, I soon learned that not only is it possible, but you can pack your bag and still have room for souvenirs.
Whether you’re planning to backpack through Europe, a road trip across the country or just want to learn how to pack smarter, the video below highlights minimalist tips you need for your next adventure.
Here’s what you need:
Choose a light pack with plenty of compartments. While you’re at the store looking at options, try different packs on and see which one is the most comfortable. You’re not going to make it far with a cumbersome pack that has a piece of plastic poking you.
Stick to wrinkle-free garments in neutral colors and only bring the essentials. Layering is your friend and will help you create different outfits daily. Cut down on the volume of clothes you need to bring by packing a wash kit (sink stopper and packets of detergent).
Shoes are obviously important but make sure you only bring your most comfortable pairs that can be worn during different activities (hiking, walking, going out and casual).
Pro tip: Valuable packing space can be found inside your shoes! Fill them with socks, jewelry, etc.
If you’re roughing it and don’t have access to a hotel where they provide towels, bring your own but make sure it’s of the quick-dry variety. A quick-drying towel takes up less space and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip more knowing a damp towel isn’t ruining your other possessions.
For smaller items, lightweight storage bags are the ideal way to keep everything organized. Use them to pack your toothbrush, dry toiletries–which last for weeks–and sample-size makeup.
Bottles of water can be pricey when traveling abroad so you’ll want to bring your own to fill up where you can. Instead of hanging your bottle on the exterior of your bag where it will bounce around and make noise with every step, purchase a collapsible one that can be smooshed down to about an inch tall.
Unless you’re a professional photographer I recommend leaving the bulky, expensive camera at home and use your smart phone with a clip-on lens instead. The latest smartphones are capable of capturing stellar moments and the lens will make them sharper and Instagram-worthy.
Planning on bringing your laptop with you on your trip? I wouldn’t for the simple fact your bag will be bouncing around and it could get damaged. Instead, bring a thin tablet that you can tuck between your clothes. You’ll still be able to browse the web and video chat with friends without the worry of damaging your more expensive computer.
Ultimate Space Savers
Compression bags and packing cubes will be your best friend when it comes to saving space. Place your clothes one-by-one inside the compression bag and roll it to remove the air once filled. What was once a stack of clothes that would take up valuable real estate is now a much smaller cylinder that can easily be tucked into your backpack.
Like the lightweight storage bags, packing cubes help to keep your mid-size items organized. What you want to avoid is having to go on a scavenger hunt to find items. Label your cubes if necessary.
Place your shoes, compression bags, and packing cubes into your backpack and try to roll everything else you might be bringing to save as much space as possible. Now you’re ready for anything.