Packing Tips for Travelers

Making Friends While Traveling

We’ve all been there. You go to lift your suitcase, and it feels heavier than you. But you need everything in there! Or do you?

This is a problem I’ve struggled with. It’s so difficult to lift my suitcase up one step that I’m sweating profusely by the time I drag it across the doorway. As a solo traveller, it can be pretty embarrassing to be seen struggling so hard with my luggage. It makes me appear like a less than adequate traveler, in my opinion. Seasoned travelers tend to know how to pack lightly. Thus, it’s time to take a look at what we don’t need.  Here are  some much needed packing tips for travelers.

Lauren Travels

1. Full Sized toiletries

This could quite possibly be the reason why your luggage is so heavy. No, you don’t need full size shampoo, conditioner, or face wash. There will probably be a number of days you’ll be going without a shower while you’re on the road. Just buy travel size and buy more if you need them, they’re cheap enough.

2. Toiletries in general

You need to take a hard look at the toiletries you actually use, and the ones you only think you use. Overall, we need stuff to wash our hair, face, body, and some deodorant. Do you really need much else? Bring a toothpaste and some floss. All the extras you’ll probably hardly use and they’ll only take up much needed space in your luggage.

3. Shoes

This is a tough one. Research what time of year you’ll be going. If you’ll be there for all of the seasons, then buy some cheap shoes once you’re there. I thought I would need lots of shoes for all the different things I would be doing. I have

  • sandals
  • walking shoes
  • running shoes
  • boots

That’s a reasonable amount of shoe! Only bring pairs you’ll need immediately. Also, it’s best to bring shoes that will work with many different outfits. Use shoes that you can work in, explore in, or go to an event where you need to look a little fancier than normal.

4. Clothes

I think this is the biggest offender. I spend so much time convincing myself that I’ll need certain articles of clothing, and suddenly my suitcase is about to burst from all the clothing I stuffed in there. Laundry facilities do exist in other countries.

It isn’t a crime to wear a shirt more than once (or twice…).

Really, you’re traveling. Wear a shirt as many times as you can without offending anyone. Also, don’t bring clothes you are incredibly attached to. Sometimes the better option is to just throw it out or better yet, donate it. But don’t be sucked in by the opshops and buy more! Bring jeans, a skirt, and leggings. You can have a couple fast drying shirts, a couple fancy shirts, a cardigan. Try to bring the basics. Choose clothing that will work in many outfits.

5. Electronics

Right now, I’m lugging around:

  • my current phone
  • my american phone
  • my ipod
  • my laptop
  • all the chargers to go with it

Of course, I would never leave my laptop behind, especially for an extended trip. I’m also lucky because my laptop is tiny. However, you also need to take into consideration the amount of chargers you’ll need to keep track of. It could be very easy to leave one behind, and if it’s for your current phone, then you might be screwed for a while.  


6. Suitcase

If you’re backpacking around Australia or Europe, or wherever- bring a backpack. Duh. Common sense. I obviously can’t follow my own advice, and chose a pretty big suitcase to start with. Bad idea. It gave me a lot of room for A LOT of stuff.  Too much stuff.

If I had begun with a backpack, it would have forced me to limit my items, as I would be carrying it on my back, and your back could easily get sore with heaps of useless items. Luckily I switched it out! Also, dragging a suitcase around a country makes you look like an absolute tourist, and not like you’re working to immerse yourself in the culture of the local people. Not that a backpack makes you look like that either, but at least it makes it easier to get around. You don’t have to fear not being able to carry your suitcase up into the tram or off the train.

The smaller the suitcase, the more precisely you need to pack. 

post travel depression

7. Extra bags

This can go along with the size of your suitcase. I chose a normal backpack (Like one for school), and I’m actually very glad for it. It’s useful for hiking, or short trips where I don’t need my whole suitcase. However, I brought a large purse at the demands of my mother. Basically as soon as I got into Tasmania and used it to walk around the city where I had landed, it was nothing but trouble. It had too many pockets and I kept losing my things in the evil depth.  I recently switched my large purse for a small black one which will:

  • go with many more of my outfits.
  • can be dressed up or down.
  • not as annoying.

8. Outerwear

Again, research what the season will be like when you’re traveling. But because of my too many clothes, even my light jacket was a nuisance to carry around. Add a relatively heavy winter coat for the upcoming cold days, and that’s just another thing to carry. If you’re not planning to buy a car to keep all of your belongings in, in an unorganized fashion, then downsize so you’re not carrying a car load’s worth of things in a suitcase.

Have you ever had trouble packing? What are your tried and true methods? Leave a comment!

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  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your traveling tips. I definitely agree with you that you have to know the season of where you are heading, makes a big difference on how you pack. I definitely prefer warmer climates, so I can leave the winter coat at home(which tend to be heavy and take space). Shoes are definitely something that I try to reduced to a minimum. The extra bags are a good idea, cheers!

    • It can be tough if you are traveling in places that are different seasons, or for a long period of time. If that’s the case, it’s just easier to buy second items along the way and donate them when they are no longer needed 🙂 Glad I can help!

  2. Well, I stumbled upon your article, as I am getting ready for an upcoming trip. You know it seems when I travel, I always bring way too much stuff. Whether it’s too many clothes, shoes, electronics, etc. I really only end up wearing maybe 2 pair of shoes. That depends on the weather, and if I plan on hiking or not. I totally agree on the toiletries, although I am a guy, so don’t need much. I completely agree with you, if you take a smaller pack, you can certainly get away with less stuff. What size laptop do you carry? I am always looking for a way to consolidate my electronics.

    • You should pack everything you want to bring in your suitcase, and then remove half of it. Training ourselves to avoid the what ifs and maybes is important if we want to travel lightly. We really don’t need very much! I have a small Macbook air so it’s quite light and very easily fits in my bag. Also, I utilize my phone for everything from a camera to my music player. I’m not a professional photographer so having a phone with a great camera is good enough for me.

  3. Packing for a trip or any outing for that matter is an art that requires the cold heart of a reptile. Our need for comfort and security feeds this ever present need for huge loads of “things” that we will require to survive. Reduce your fears and begin with a very small backpack. We have been there and comfort is always a heavy weight to carry. Hope this helps to lighten your load.

    • Thanks for the tip! It definitely takes a well trained mind and heart to avoid overpacking with things that we really want but will never need. I recently met a friend who is a long term traveler out of a 40L backpack. For a female in varying weather conditions, it’s pretty amazing!

  4. I agree with shoes being a tough one! I tend to underpack on shoes/clothes and overpack on books and other forms of entertainment only to realize I can’t do any reading at all while traveling. I guess everyone has struggles when it comes to packing.

    • I agree with wanting to bring books! I usually try to only have one book with me at a time, and use an e-book app on my phone instead to save space!

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