How to Pack Light: A Guide for First Time Travelers

Whether you have decided to take your first long trip overseas, or you are an experienced veteran with passion for travel and living life, this guide will apply to you as much as a first time traveler. One of the bad habits which we are all guilty of at some time or another, is over packing. This is a curse from which we are repeatedly trying to escape. Packing less can not only free up space in your bag, but also be a huge reliever to body and mind.

Here are the key tips to help you along when it comes to not packing the kitchen sink, and starting off the first of many travels in the lightest possible way.

Separate Want from Need

Planning is an essential aspect of many life pursuits. Although most of us ardently dislike planning most things, we should always begin with a plan. How long are you traveling for, and what the climate will be like at your destination, should both be questions at the top of the list.

In this case, you would not need to pack several thick jackets, or even your favorite sweatshirts if you are headed for some tropical surf destination. It can be tempting to pack everything you own, especially out of uncertainty. The reality is however, you are not suddenly going to start wearing that pair of jeans that you have never worn at home.

Packing can often trick the mind into thinking you need or use more items on a daily basis than you actually do. An ideal way to have a good idea of what you actually need to pack is by thinking of the items you use at home on a regular basis. If you pack many of the items you have needed or used in the last seven-day period at home, there is no doubt you will have plenty of room left in that bag.

On the positive end. Packing light, and in some cases, even less than you need, will give you ample space to pick up a souvenir or two from your travels to the next destination. There are few worse feelings than spotting something you would love to buy, but have no room. Even worse are the overweight baggage fees!

One Day at a Time

Remember, your trip will not last forever. The next important tip is to pack on a daily basis. This is easy to start from the basics such as how many pairs of socks or under garments you may need. It does get a little trickier once you start planning for evening where, swimwear if you are catching some waves, and other items.

The important thing to remember is that we are not trying to strictly ration what you can travel with, just to ensure you make the best possible use of space. In this case, you should consider your daily plans quite thoroughly, and what kinds of clothes you require. To improve this process even further, you could begin to pack items which have multi-purpose use for more than one occasion.

Once you have considered the items which you think have covered all bases, you should likely reduce this amount down even further. Remember, any destination you are traveling to, you can likely pick up towels and some other basics from your hotel of accommodation.

The beautiful thing about packing one day at a time is, besides saving space, your mind can also be clear. You have essentially already planned for every day, so things are made even easier and more relaxing. If you are staying more than seven days, this does not mean you have to pack for longer. A great pro tip is to find a local laundry shop. This is a great way to reset your wardrobe, keep your bags light, and save on some dreaded post vacation chores. It will also help you get even more in tune with some local culture of the destination you are visiting.

The Right Bag is Vital

Well, if you are backpacking, you can leave the hefty suitcase at home. Your choice of bag for travelling is essential in both saving space, feeling comfortable, and looking good. There are a variety of options in the market which fit that bill. One which has proven particularly popular though, is the Dakine Cyclone II. This backpack is rugged and durable, as well as being slick and stylish to book. The bag features a welded construction and roll-top cover so you can be certain your belongings will always remain safe and dry.

The ergonomic shoulder traps are an added bonus, and as a surfer, you can be sure your board will come with you no problem at all thanks to the integrated carry system. This or other 36l bags should be more than enough to pack everything you need for a short trip if you have followed the guidelines.

Other hacks such as attaching your shoes to the outside of the bag, and rolling up any clothes you can to save space, will also ensure that you are not labored down by excess baggage. You will also be extremely thankful for this bag and style when traveling around your destination. With your new found packing skills, you need not worry about knocking down passersby, or having painful shoulders for days after returning.


Ultimately, you do not, and need not be weighed down by bulky luggage during your first trip. The same rules apply to any trip, though it is particularly nice to get your traveling off to as easy a start as possible. With some of the tips mentioned, in combination with the lightweight and durable bag as suggested, you can go a long way to enjoying your trip without having to worry about your bags. The joy will be compounded when you return home too, with the same amount of even less washing to be done than usual.  

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