How to Pack like a Pro for your next Flight
I often travel for months at a time and only bring one carry-on luggage (10kg) and a small shoulder bag.
This is easier when you are going to be in one climate like warm sunny countries. Before you say it’s because I am a boy, I know girls that travel lighter than I do with just four days of clothes and total 7kg!
It is better to under pack than it is to over pack, you can buy items easily, sending clothes home or lugging them around for your whole trip is more costly.
After each trip, I learn what I should have brought, or usually what I didn’t need to bring. Packing light is a process, not a goal; one can always improve.
If you can reach this stage of minimalism it is quite liberating, you don’t have to worry about bags being lost or damaged.
Travelling with Carry-on Bags Only
I have never had my carry-on bag weighed, the size is more important for airline staff to check at the gate.
7kg plus a bag for a laptop is what most airlines baggage policy allows you to take. Put all your heavy electronic items in the laptop bag, it could weigh 5kg on its own because the weight is not checked. You can also take an umbrella, a coat and a hat.
Backpacks rarely get weighed if they roughly adhere to standard carry-on dimensions.
Do the online check in so your carry-on bag doesn’t need to get inspected and weighed at check in. Keep your carry-on bag out of sight, if you have to check in a bag and you know it is overweight.
Best Clothes to Wear on the Plane
I wear my biggest and heaviest clothes to board the plane in. I wear my coat, and a hoodie (personal preference) along with trousers and trainers. If it was very cold I may also wear a dress shirt to look a bit smarter going through immigration (It helps with fewer questions about my lifestyle). I can take the hoodie and coat off and carry them for a moment.
Layers are the way to go as you can layer up or layer down on the journey. I sometimes wear a coat for boarding and then take it off as soon as I am on the flight.
Bonus items that don’t count towards your hand luggage allowance are sunglasses, coat, umbrella and hat.
You can always take these even on budget airlines, you can even put three Mexican hats on top of each other as there is no restriction on the number of hats you can wear!
Packing Tips to Pack Lighter
Be selective, my packing starts by first putting the clothes on my bed that I plan to take with me. Then after I have put all the clothes and gadgets I want, I look at them and start trying to take things away. Since I have done this a few times, the process is streamlined.
Space and weight are precious commodities so everything that goes in my bag has to win the competition to get inside.
I start with the assumption that I should take clothes for five days and then wash those clothes and wear them again, this may be a shock if you usually pack 14 days of clothes for your two week holiday. However, you can start by packing seven or eight days of clothes and then wash them in the middle.
Then each trip you take after that you can try going with less. If you don’t take enough, or forget something, you can always buy something when you arrive. My packing philosophy is to pack less and plan some money to spend on clothes while I am there. This means I get cool mementos from my travels and usually clothes are cheaper in the countries I visit anyway.
Hotels do laundry or you will see laundry services wherever you go in the world. Doing laundry is cheaper than paying the baggage fee to check in luggage on a low-cost flight.
Pack like a Pro: Big Items First
The biggest items to pack are the ones that need the most scrutiny.
Coats, jackets, jumpers and hoodies – these take-up lots of space. So I bring the least possible, I also find it better to layer than bring one big coat. So I would bring a hoodie and a light rain jacket instead.
Pack items so you can mix and match different outfits. All tops should go with all bottoms. So if I have 6 tops and 5 bottoms, that’s 30 outfits I can wear.
Picking the Clothes to Pack
Travelling brings with it a lot of fantasising, such as going to the gym everyday, reading books, or wearing new colours and styles. It is better to avoid bring that crazy print piece of clothing that has sat in your wardrobe collecting dust. It’s best to stick with the things that you know you end up wearing all the time and love. All that gym kit you want to bring, did you use it last time?
Shoes are the first area where you can save a lot of space, for me three is the magic number. In order of importance, flip-flops, trainers, black dress shoes. If I am doing more of a backpacking trip I don’t bring the smart shoes. Try to get trainers that are casual yet can be for sports and hiking occasionally.
I wear my shoes that take up the most room to fly such as snow boots for a ski holiday. Normally I wear trainers to fly as they are the same size as my black shoes, but more comfortable.
Last on the list are underwear, these are small and it doesn’t matter if you bring one or two more. So you can be less disciplined with the smaller things.
Packing Liquids for Travel
Liquids like suntan lotion come in 100ml size for hand luggage, if not I buy them when I arrive. For a cream or lotion that you can’t live without, decant it into a smaller 100ml bottle, tub or spray.
Packing can be fun, filling up all the small spaces creatively, such as the inside of shoes with electronics. I think of packing like a real life game of Tetris.
If you liked this, you might also like to read about suitcase or backpack for your next trip.