Have you ever started packing and realised there’s absolutely no way everything you want to take on your trip will fit into your bag? Yeah me too… I’m a self-proclaimed overpacker, and will admit to times of shame where I’ve resorted to sitting on my case!
You could say I like to travel prepared for any situation and is that really a bad thing? Well yes (god damn weight restrictions). Still, over my recent travel adventures, I’ve managed to curb my chronic overpacking using the following 8 handy tips below. 🙂
1) Take everything out you think you’ll need and half it –
One tip to avoid overpacking is to take out everything you think you’ll need and half it…
Okay, so this may be a little extreme! But, look at everything you’ve got out and decide whether you really need it all! A 5th bikini may be nice but in the scheme of things it’s taking up valuable space for shopping at your arrival destination!!
2) Plan your outfits –
Most females feel the pressure of ‘not wearing an outfit more than once’, especially if we’re planning to flaunt our days abroad on social media – and let’s be honest aren’t we all?
Although we shouldn’t be bothered by this ‘re-wearing stigma’! If like me, you must have as many outfits as possible, your best packing policy should be to plan, plan plan!
What I mean by this, is that you should pack strategically… Buy and pack clothing items that can all be worn with each other. This equal’s different combinations, thus more outfits!
(men, you should not take for granted the ability to wear the same top all week and not feel judged)
3) Borrow clothes/outfits –
Following on from my last point, the easiest way to reduce the number of clothes you’re attempting to squeeze into your case/backpack is by offering to swap items with friends during your trip together. This is a very easy way for you to get a fresh outfit for those Instagram pics 😉
Granted this is won’t be an option when solo travelling… Unless you’re confident enough to ask your new hostel bestie, but that could be pushing it.
4) Plan Laundry stops –
On longer trips, people (my past self-included) tend to take the approach of cramming as many clothes into their bag as possible and hoping to bump into a laundry facility before they run out of underwear.
Unless you want value bag space to be taken up with an unnecessary amount of pants, think ahead! Plan/book accommodation that you know has laundry facilities available or near-by.
For example, on my recent all American Road trip, my family and I stopped in the small (off season) ski resort of Mammoth Lakes. Knowing exactly when I would be able to wash my clothes meant I could reduce my packing accordingly!
5) Remember foreign countries have supermarkets too –
We’re all guilty of cramming as many cosmetic products into our bags as possible, seemingly forgetting that foreign countries have perfectly good stores and supermarkets selling exactly the same things!
Thus a tip to avoid overpacking is to buy your cosmetics once you land because let’s be honest any old body-wash will do the trick! This said you’ll be surprised by the familiar brands you’ll spot…
6) Travel minis –
Despite my previous tip, there’s still bound to be certain products you can’t live without. I for one am very picky about shampoo and face wash…. I know what I like what can I say. 😉
Luckily many brands have helpful travel sizes of their products. Sure they might be expensive, but they can fit in your carry on and take up less space than their full-sized counterparts. Plus everything’s cuter when small – so there’s that.
7) Buy and leave –
In the past, I’ve packed my case to perfection and then remember I’ve left out the mother f**ker of all items – the beach towel. If this happens, leave the towel (or similar big item) at home! There’s no point trying to cram it in. It’s far easier to find a cheap replacement in your arrival destination!
When its time to go home, you can simply leave your cheaply purchased item behind. Because one things for sure, if you couldn’t get it to fit on the way out, no way in hell are you squeezing it into your overpacked case on the way home. 😉
8) Roll, don’t fold –
You’ve most probably heard my final tip to avoid overpacking before, but its honestly life changing! Rolling your clothes towels and anything else capable of being packed in such a way saves soooo much space! It’s a miracle…
Hopefully after following these tips the bag for your next trip won’t be quite so full to the brim. This said, packing for my recent trip to Bali I followed my own advice and still took to much stuff – it seems once an overpacker, always an overpacker…
(any overpacker will appreciate this Buzzfeed Post)
Have any packing tips to share? or horror packing stories? comment below 🙂
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I am also an over packer and wrote a blog post on the struggle of packing light 🙂 I think your tip about not being afraid to leave things behind is so true! I have had to leave a brand new towel at a hostel before, because there was no way it was going to fit in my carry on home.
I’ll check out your post! 🙂 I find I end up chucking loads out just so my backpack is lighter haha
I hope my advice helped you. It’s always a challenge to pack light but I find it is always worth it. We never need as much as we think.
Loved your tips! I recently spent a week in Valencia, Spain with my boyfriend and we definitely ended up stopping at the local supermarket or the city center to pick up anything we forgot to pack. It’s not worth stressing out about what to bring, especially if you’re visiting a place where you know you can find the things you need!
I love the towel tip and I use the roll method religiously! Cheers to smaller carry ons and NO added fees!
Amen to that haha
I’m the type to take 5 outfits for a weekend and make it work! Loved the tips. I use the rolling and travel mini’s all the time when I get my carry on ready.
Its the best way forward haha 🙂
I LOVE packing as light as I can. There is no greater feeling than not having to pay for more luggage or to not have to haul a ridiculously heavy suitcase through the airport. These are great tips to avoid overpacking!
oh how I envy the light packers haha! Although I agree completely 🙂
Even when I intend to not overpack I end up overpacking :/ I have a long trip ahead of me so your tips came in the right time!!
I wish you the best of luck 😉
This is great! Number 1 was something I really try to do..but instead of halfing it, I take out 1/4. LOL It’s a work in progress but the more I travel, the better i’m getting at packing..I learned the rolling method last year and I also investing in some packing cubes and now I cant travel without them. its great! Thanks for this
halving it may have been a slight exaggeration 😉 I also invested in packing cubes after writing this post and they’re amazing! Especially when backpacking!
Oh great tips! I agree on the pack then half. It’s what I need to do more often on my trips.
The roll don’t fold is a big one. Vacumn packed bags can also be a life saver but I find my issue is always weight rather then space. Investing in a bag that doesn’t cost 4kg is also a good way to go.
Agreed! Nothing worse than celebrating that you’ve fitted everything in only to weight your bag and find its wayyy over the limit
Agreed completely!! I am an over-packer and tend to use literally just half or less..Sigh!!
Story of my life haha
Great tips! Definitely more relevant to today than my post which told a story from the past.
As I mentioned in my post, my husband is the over packer. One extra tip he uses is to pack his clothes in those bags that you can suck all of the air out of. It squeezes the cloths to almost half the size so more fit. He does have to use a luggage hand-held digital scale to check the luggage weight. Though some of the clothes are a little wrinkly, I don’t know about you, but I tend to iron some things anyway, regardless of if they were ironed before packing.
Over packing is headache. Its great tips to reduce headache.
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Awesome tips! I agree on the pack then half. overpacking is a headache for me but your tips going to help me a lot on my next trip. Thanks