10 Packing Tips from a Recovered Overpacker

You guys remember the days when your checked suitcase was free and it could be up to 75 pounds? I used to pack just about darn near everything I could think I might need for a trip. I started traveling more and realized I needed less. Oh, and airlines started charging me to check my suitcase, and I'm cheap, so I learned quickly how to pack light! I'm not going to lie, it's a struggle every time I pack to not over pack, but it makes travel so much easier. I can pack for several weeks in just a carry on suitcase. Here are a few things I've started doing to help me be a reformed {recovered} overpacker.

packing light tips on how to pack from a recovered overpacker

10 Packing Tips from a Reformed Overpacker


These are the tips I always use when I'm packing for a trip. Not only does this prevent me from having bag fees, I have also {knock on wood} have never lost a bag. Plus, when you pack a carry on, it's quicker to get in and out of an airport. It's also easier to navigate public transportation. The benefits are endless, which is why I am a reformed overpacker and I think you could be too!

My Favorite Travel Items I Won't Get on a Plane Without!

Pack for the Bag You Have

If I take out our big suitcase, you know, the one that needs checked, I will inevitably find things to fill it. If I set aside my carry on suitcase, I know that I am limited to what fits inside. Starting to pack for a trip begins with starting with an appropriate-sized bag.

Use Packing Cubes

I am sold on packing cubes. I bought a set at a garage sale a few years ago and I never travel without them now. I am convinced that I can pack far more in those cubes than I could if I let me clothes swim free in my suitcase. 

I like the compression packing cubes so that you can expand them as you travel. I often shift one cube to hold all my dirty clothes so that when I come home, I can easily dump the dirty clothes {and keep them separated in my luggage} in the laundry room. 

Limit Shoes

Shoes take up a lot of space, so I often limit how many shoes I pack. I plan outfits around my shoes and if I find I'm taking a pair of shoes for only one outfit, I often leave that outfit at home instead of packing the extra pair of shoes. Last spring my daughter and I traveled for two weeks to Iceland and France and I had one pair of shoes for the whole trip. I generally don't like to pack more than two pairs of shoes for any trip. 


Wear the Bulkiest Items on Your Travel Day

I always plan my travel outfits and wear my bulkiest items to save room in my suitcase. If I'm going on a hiking or ski trip, I'll wear my boots to travel in. Same goes for sweaters and coats. I'm always cold, so even if I'm traveling to a warm climate, it's nice to have an item to keep me warm.

Everything you need to know about passports!

Mix and Match Clothes

I spend hours before a trip laying out my clothing options. I make sure I can mix and match my clothing choices for the things I have planned. I like to be able to wear items {especially pants} several times. I wear a lot of layers and neutrals to make this all work. I also make sure an item can work in multiple settings. A sweater that can be dressed up or dressed down with the change of a pair of pants for instance.

I also take this time to find what shoes I'll be wearing with the outfit and pick out any jewelry. I try everything on so that I like the way it feels and fits. If you don't love it, don't pack it because you won't wear it. 

Pro Tip: I've been known to snap a photo of the outfit too so I can remember what I had planned when I arrive.

Check the Weather

Before a trip, I often add the place I'm traveling to to my weather app. I like to look at the upcoming forecast and know what to expect. I'm from Seattle, so I take weather reports with a grain of salt. Don't let it ruin your trip knowing there's rain in the forecast. Simply use this information to be prepared.

10 Travel Safety Tips You Should Know

Pack and Then Repack

I always pack a full day ahead to give me time to reevaluate what I've packed. I will always remember something I forgot and add in an item, or reevaluate something I packed that I probably won't need. 


Don't Do This One Thing!

I hear this all the time from travelers...they tell me they packed an item "just in case"! If you are packing an item just in case, you probably don't need that item! Leave it behind!

Pro-tip: Make a list! My husband always feels like he's going to forget something, and instead of grabbing items "just in case" he makes a list so he has peace of mind that he has everything that he needs.

Looking for a packing list for an all-inclusive resort vacation? Check out this post!
Looking for a packing list for Italy? Check this out!

Don't Pack Items You Will Have There

I don't know why, but for some reason one of my biggest pet peeves is that people in the 21st century still pack hair dryers. I know. It's silly, but I have traveled to countless countries, stayed in numerous hotels and home rentals, even ones in the absolute middle of nowhere, and every.single.one of them has had a hair dryer. Pillows are another item I'm surprised people pack. You're going on vacation, you aren't moving!

Don't Forget Your Personal Item

Most airlines allow a personal item. I always pack a personal item. It's generally a bag I can use as a day pack too. I pack everything in my personal item that I need access to since it generally sits at my feet. My chargers, snacks and my wallet all go inside. And if there is room left over, anything I can't fit in my suitcase can go in this bag too.

Want more tips? How to Pack Everything You Need Into a Carry On!

I do tend to slip into my old ways when I road trip and have unlimited space. And that's ok! For me, it's knowing that I can pack light when I need to. Save those bag fees and use them on something more fun during your trip!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.