active family travel,  family,  Travel

Packing Light – Five Tips for Saving Space in the Suitcase #travel


Packing light is the way to go whenever possible. Travel can sometimes feel like a big Catch 22 – do you drag around a ton of luggage, or do you fit as much as you can in the overhead compartment on a flight? Find some strategies for packing light and travel can be so much simpler. I’d love to say that I am great at this, but I am a work in progress. We travel a fair bit and always have room for improvement. Here are a few ways to help you pack light for your next trip.

Packing Light is Easy

Packing light is easier than you think. It’s just a matter of deciding what you really need, what you don’t, and not overthinking it. Here are some tips to help you tame your packing.

Pack for the Weather

One of the keys to packing light is packing for the weather, not the weather possibilities. Check the weekly forecast before packing for your trip, and plan accordingly. You can’t foresee everything. I apply this rule now often. But I still have a few things that almost always make the cut, especially when traveling with my kids. I always take their tiny foldup anoraks. These travel almost everywhere. They don’t take up much space. Also when I travel with kids, or for business, I will sometimes also pack a tiny umbrella. So pack for the weather and plan ahead for the weather…generally speaking, packing for possibilities just means more weight to lug around.

Don’t Pack TOO Many Toiletries

I follow this rule with moderation. Try not to overpack toiletries. I keep a lot of sample sized shampoos and things like that for flights. I take one of each of those. With full sized liquids and toiletries, there’s too much of a chance for spills, and they take up so much space. Plus full sized liquids have to go inside a checked suitcase and they are way too heavy. Rather than cramming all of your shampoo, toothpaste, and all the rest of that into your luggage, pack tiny samples, or buy some when you get to your destination.If you are really stuck you can always call down to the front desk where you are staying and let them know you forgot your toothpaste. Usually hotels and resorts can help you out with that.

Roll Everything

Packing light means rolling everything. I mean everything. If it’s cloth, roll it. I used to think rolling was a total myth or fad. It really works, though. You’d be surprised how much more space you get when you roll rather than fold. For even more storage power, roll things within other things. Fashionable fall boots can be rolled with socks for instance.

Use Socks as Storage

Fun fact. Socks can double as little bags for packing. I roll everything, but I keep some socks in reserve to hold loose items that I have no choice but to pack. They make great, cushy travel caddies.

[tweetthis]Roll everything up to make luggage lighter. #travel[/tweetthis]

Limit Toys

One toy or device per kid is my rule of thumb when I pack for trips. If my kids had their way, they’d bring every comfort object, plus ten books each, PLUS all of their devices. That’s the polar opposite of packing light. Instead, limit your kids to the one thing they really want to bring with them. Also double check their carryons. Mine have been known to swap out their approved luggage and add extras right before we leave to see if I will notice. (my kids are great travellers and they are 11 and 14).

[tweetthis]You can pack lighter with a few simple tips. #travel[/tweetthis]

Packing Light is All About Keeping it Simple

It really is. Just keep it simple, and you’ll naturally be packing light. Pack for the weather. Pack one outfit per day. Bring a couple of extra clothing options for kids. Even teens and tweens have spills. Don’t bring a wagon load of other stuff. You’ll be surprised at the amount of space you’ll save just by following the tips above. Packing light makes travel much easier and less stressful, so edit yourself and use some of these ideas when packing.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Bonnie Way

    These are great tips. My hubby always rolls his clothes and I should start doing that. I’ve been caught too many times unprepared for the weather, though. Last time we went back to Alberta it went from 35*C and everyone getting sunburned to about 5*C and pouring rain… and I’d packed warm-weather gear and nothing for the rain, not even sweaters. 🙁 So I should’ve packed more there – but that’s Alberta. 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

  • ashley p

    Great tips Paula. I do roll most of our items when possible and it makes a huge difference. We also try and limit the amount of clothing items….

  • Suzanne Rudge

    I always tell myself I will pack lighter, but it never happens. I always think of the worst possible case,like luggage goes missing and then I overcompensate by packing more, LOL. Even when we visit my in-laws cottage we take enough to feed an army when there are just six of us. Some habits never die…

    • Paula

      Suz: True enough. I do always pack something small in my laptop bag or somewhere handy for those occasions when airlines lose the luggage. This has in fact happened to us twice in the last couple of years.