If you’re anything like me packing light is not an easy task – ever! I use to pack an airline standard carry on suitcase full just for an over night trip. When packing I’d stuff items in my suitcase thinking ‘better safe then sorry’, or ‘hey I may need that’, even ‘I’m going to use 8 bathing suits for my 4 days vacation to Cuba‘. There are two general tips to help pack light: Pack everything you think you’ll need then take haft of it out and multipurpose items.
Pack and haft method:
This is probably the hardest method to follow, especially when you’re able to justify everything with “I may need that!” This method is simple and easy to use if you stick firmly to don’t bring it if you’re not 90-100% going to use it, you don’t need it, and they sell it where you’re going if you end up do needing it.
Pack everything you think you will be need, and then go over what you have packed. Bring only what is necessary. There is no need for a wooly jumper for a trip to South Africa, nor is there any need for shorts for a boating expedition to Antarctica either. Most toiletries that you need will be available where ever you go, so save some space in your suitcase by omitting anything you can buy over there for a reasonable price. Don’t bring every CD you own if you’re only going to listen to one or two and only on the plane ride there. Analyze every item you put in your suitcase if you really don’t needed it take it out.
Multipurpose items method:
This is a great method, perfect for those who think “I may need that”. Bring items that have multipurpose. Clothing that can be dressed up and down, pants that can be zipped off into shorts, 2-in-one shampoo/conditioners, palm pilots/smart phones/Ipods (to store pictures, addresses, memos, journals, key languages phrases…), mp3 players etc. Clothing that is wash and go, that can be washed in a hotel sink and can mix and match is key to packing light.
For a 8 day trip all you really need is 8 pairs of underwear (old ones that you can throw away to make more room), 4 bras, 8 pair of socks (same as underwear), 4 pair of pants and/or shorts (1 pair that can be dressed up), 4 pairs of shirts (long or short depending where you’re going and 1 shirt that can be dressed up)
When it comes down to it, you need to be firm if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. If you cannot fit everything in to one carry on bag start all over again weeding things out until it all fits.