I used to pack haphazardly and I'd end up coming home with a suitcase so stuffed that it felt like it might explode at any minute. But when I traveled to France for two weeks last summer, I did lots of research on how to travel lighter. And I haven't looked back since! Here are ten tips on how to save space in your suitcase so you don't have to check your bag at the airport or lug a hopelessly heavy bag around town.
1. Stick to basics in one color palette.
If you stick to a particular color palette, you can easily mix and match different shirts and pants throughout the trip creating different outfits with the same few pieces. Think of it like a capsule wardrobe!
2. Downsize toiletries or buy when you arrive.
Think about how much of each item you really need... if you only use a tiny amount of toner on your face each day, don't bring a 3 ounce container of it. If you're traveling for a couple of weeks, it might make more sense to buy easily accessible items like shampoo and conditioner once you get there.
3. Pack socks and accessories inside shoes.
Don't waste the space inside your shoes... fill it with socks, chargers, jewelry, etc. The same goes for other items with open spaces like hats and purses.
4. Opt for convertible clothing.
I'm a big fan of convertible dresses that can be worn in different ways... it feels like you're wearing a different outfit, but it takes up minimal space in your suitcase. Use scarves and jewelry to dress your outfits up or down depending on where you're going.
5. Share with travel mates.
Going on a trip with friends? Coordinate with your fellow travelers so you don't end up with five curling irons and five straighteners. Other things you might consider sharing are accessories, portable chargers and travel guides.
6. Wear your bulkiest items on the plane.
Airplanes are often chilly, so try to wear your bulkiest clothing on the flight there and home. When I travel, I tend to go from a cooler climate to a warmer one anyways so I wear my jeans and sweater on travel days and pack smaller items like shorts and tank tops in my suitcase.
7. Pack a laundry detergent pod instead of more clothing.
If you're traveling for a week or more, don't pack additional clothing... just pack one or two laundry detergent pods in a small tupperware container so you can do laundry at your destination and wear everything again.
8. Rely on accessories.
Neutral, solid colors are easy to wear multiple times in different ways... pair that basic black top with a colorful scarf one day, and a statement necklace and cardigan the next. Accessories can really change the look of an outfit, and they don't take up as much space as a whole new outfit.
9. Go digital.
Skip the hard copy books and magazines, and download them on your phone or tablet instead. This will save tons of space... and weight!
10. Make a detailed list.
Possibly the most important step that will enable you to travel lighter is to make a list ahead of time. Start with all of the absolutely necessary items, and then begin working in clothing in that neutral color palette that we just talked about. Then finish your list with a few unique accessories. Lay everything out to make sure it goes together before packing it in your suitcase.
And if you've followed these tips carefully, then you will probably have room to spare. Don't be tempted to fill it with additional items... leave it open for souvenirs!