Packing Light: Ways to Travel Efficiently and in Style

Traveling is exciting yet also complicated. It’s always a struggle to decide what to pack and what to keep at home. Most people bring way too much stuff, filling their luggage to the brim. But, with extra baggage fees at the airport, many of us want to streamline our suitcases in order to be more efficient. Knowing how to travel lightly, but with the essentials, will make your spring break and other vacations much more enjoyable.

With the weather being as frigid as it has been lately, you are probably escaping to a warmer climate. It may take some getting used to since we have been bundled up for months, but breaking out the summer wear will definitely be a breath of fresh air.

Of course, what you pack depends on where you are going and how long you are staying. For a two week escape to Europe, you’ll need more options. But, for a four night stay in the Caribbean, you can get away with packing light. Warm weather clothes are always less bulky and smaller than winter gear.

However, you don’t want to go crazy with packing dozens of shorts and tops. Bring items that you can mix and match with. A pair of white or denim shorts can go a long way when paired with different tops and accessories. A few tank tops can always be layered to create different looks, and you can even wear them to bed. This goes for leggings as well, they provide added warmth on chilly nights and double as sleepwear.

Having at least one pair of jeans is a good idea, especially because you never know what the weather might be. Cargo pants are also a great option because they are lighter and versatile. You can pair them with a tank top and scarf for a laid back look during the day time. Bring a neutral, light sweater that you can throw on at any time. This can also double as a cover up when you’re heading to the beach.

Bathing suits are a must if you plan on diving into the pool or ocean. You may be tempted to bring every bikini you own, but it’s better to choose your favorites. You can always hand wash them and wear them again. Plus, if you bring a white or black bottom, you can wear different tops each day to create a whole new look. 

Maxi skirts and dresses are also stylish, yet multipurpose. Wear them to the beach or out for a night on the town. Again, choose colors that will complement accessories and can be used on more than one occasion if needed.

Organization is key when it comes to traveling. Having a small travel bag to bring your toiletries will make sure you can fit everything into one small place. Only bring makeup that you know you’re going to wear, and leave the rest of the non-essentials at home. Sunscreen is a must-have, along with deodorant and toothpaste. You may want to bring a small can of hairspray since warm climates tend to be humid.

Part-time art and design professor Nick Aristovulos said that you should always be conscious of the weather when traveling because you never know what it may turn out to be. He also said that you should be aware of different countries’ customs to make sure you dress appropriately.

Even though you may want to bring everything you own, try to scale it down. Remember, you’ll only be away for a short period of time, so you don’t have to pack your entire house.

If you are traveling for a long period of time, you may still want to pack lightly. Junior communication major Danielle Trentin studied abroad in Italy for an entire semester.

She said, “I only brought two bags on the plane with me, so it was hard to choose what to bring. I was going to be in a foreign country for months, so two bags didn’t seem like enough. But, I found ways to mix different clothes together to create new oufits. Plus, I was able to reuse clothes that I wore to class because I had access to laundry.”

If you are planning an extended stay, see if you can utilize the laundry service offered. This will save you room and ensure you won’t have to return home with piles of dirty clothes.

A junior Spanish education major Jen Stolte studied abroad in Spain last summer. She said, “I packed like I was officially moving and never coming back. My bags were so heavy and hard to carry. But, then I realized that I should have packed lighter because I ended up buying a lot of clothes in Spain that I wore throughout the trip.”

Take advantage of your carry-on bag. Most airlines allow passengers to bring a personal item like a purse or backpack for free. This is a great way to add on a few more items that you can’t bear to travel without.

However, make sure that everything in your carry-on is approved for travel. You won’t want the airport taking your favorite body wash or perfume because it doesn’t meet regulations. TSA guidelines state you can carry on liquids that are 3.4 ounces or smaller.

When embarking on an adventure, make sure you pack light and include items that are versatile, necessary, and useful.Learning to mix and match different outfits will save you time and space so you can stop worrying about what to bring and enjoy your getaway instead.