Moving every few years and not wanting to lag heavy luggage around, as well as paying additional charges for extra weight, has taught me over the years to travel light. I have even earned compliments from my travel companions, men in particular, who sometimes had more luggage than me. For short vacations to Italy, Spain and Portugal, Turkey, Grand Canaria and Malta I went just with a small backpack. How did I do it? Well, my answer is less can be MORE and packing has to be strategic!
Today, I am sharing my practical tips on how a female traveller like myself can pack for a short summer vacation (4-6 days) light. The rule of thumb is to wear bulkiest and heaviest items of clothing on the plane, leaving more lightweight and compact things for the backpack. I personally prefer comfort to glamour during flying, as well as being warm during the trip to the airport across windy London and inside the air-conditioned plane. So I usually pair up jeans with a cotton t-shirt, cotton sweater/cardigan, light scarf and fun sneakers. The combo of my typical look would be something like this!
The second trick is to pick things within the same colour scheme so that mixing and matching becomes super easy and doesn’t take any time away from your precious vacation. For example, for my last trip to Malta I chose tops, sweaters and dresses in the blue-turquoise shades. These are the clothing items I usually pack for summer vacations:
One summer dress or a long tunic that would be good for long walks under the sun or an evening meal at the restaurant.
For day tops, I pack 3-4 lightweight cotton and silk tops. Same applies to party/going-out tops – 2 or 3 that can be combined with different bottoms to produce different looks. For bottoms, in addition to dark-wash jeans, I would recommend taking a pair of shorts or a short skirt.
Summer accessories always include a small straw hat, a pair of aviator shades, swimsuit, flip-flops and a pair of comfortable yet stylish sandals. Gladiator-style sandals usually do the trick for me.
To diversify the looks, it’s important to bring some fun jewellery that doesn’t take much space. So, I love these funky friendship bracelets, ethnic earrings, bangles and neon-colours necklace.
Once I gather all the clothing and accessories, I put them neatly in the clear PVC bag with a zipper. What for, you ask? Well, for one, the bag allows you to organize your belongings and once they are all in, squeeze out extra air, making the bag even smaller. Also, the bag protects your clothes from getting wet or dirty and lets you see exactly what you’ve packed.
In other compartments of the backpack, I usually put my beauty bag, small digital camera, power plug adapter, charger for my phone, inflatable airplane pillow, passport (with other documents, like travel insurance) and a small notepad to jot down trip impressionst! As you can see, you don’t need to bring much on a short trip and budget airlines, like my favourite EasyJet, won’t have to charge you for extra luggage. Happy travelling!
Fun packing tips:
- For long-haul flights to exotic countries, like India, pack less clothes and more expendables, like toiletries, little give-aways, etc. The goal is to keep suitcase half empty to pack all the clothes, fabrics, souvenirs and gifts you are bound to buy and bring back home.
- It’s better to pack every shoe or boot separately placing them wherever there is a bit of free space. Stuffing shoes and boots with socks, underwear, etc. will help to keep their shape and save you extra space!
- When moving from country to country, I would recommend using Spacebags (https://www.spacebag.com). I’ve gotten hooked on these and used them for my move to Kyiv and London. The way they work is that once you pack them with clothes and zip them, you roll them or use vacuum cleaner to get the extra air out, getting bags to 1/2 or 1/3 of their original size (see before and after pics below). They are also great for storing and protecting clothes from dust, moisture and moth.
- Always put some kind of identifier on your suitcase, especially if it happens to be black just like thousands of other black suitcases! Also, for safety reasons, it’s better to put your first initial and last name and a phone number on your luggage tags in case your luggage gets misplaced. You can alternatively put email address if you have a generic one, but not your home address.