From Up in the Air  I learned two things: that Vera Farmiga was beautiful and the importance of knowing how to travel smart and light. Travelling light will not only save you money, as many airlines charge you per bag, but it will make your life easier since you won’t have to make a line to check in any bags and when you arrive at your destination, you’ll be free to go.

From knowing what items to take to the actual physical art of packing, we’ll go over the most important tips for successful light packing.

Keep your destination always in mind

The secret to light packing is preparation and planning. Packing will be easier if you have a clear idea of where you’ll be going (weather, time of year, etc) and have a clear plan of what you’ll be doing. By having your days planned ( e.g. 2 days at the beach, one with the family, and one at a conference) you’ll know exactly what to pack and you’ll eliminate any ‘just in case’ clothing items–there’s no ‘just in case’ if you have a plan.

Roll, don’t fold

Even though folding is usually the way to go, in my years of travelling I’ve found that actually rolling shirts and trousers makes everything more compact and allows me to fit more in my limited space. To roll a shirt just fold it vertically in half and then proceed to to roll it up; you should end up with an air-tight roll.

Layers, layers, layers

If you need to take a jacket or a blazer to your destination, wear it as you travel. Blazers and suit jackets are very versatile so you can wear them as you fly. Whenever I flight, I put on my brown or blue navy blue blazer on top of a v-neck sweater or a t-shirt. I know, I know, it’s summer so for hotter days I just put on casual clothing and take a light, almost wind-breaker-ish jacket with me. Whatever your style, the more you have on you, the less you will to cram in your bag/suitcase.

Less is more

Here’s a feeling we can all relate to: we never use everything in our suitcases when we pack. For that reason, I suggest you let go of that paranoic leeway and trust your planning. If you know you’re not going to swim, don’t take swim trunks with you. Worst case scenario, you buy something at your destination. Remember, travelling light and in comfort is more valuable than being over-prepared.

Quick packing guide:

  1. Put your shoes in first since shoes tend to not be very maleable. A good way to save space is to put your socks, ties, underwear and/or belts in your shoes.
  2. Roll up shirts and pants and pack around the walls of your bag or carry-on suit case.
  3. Plan your outfits before the trip so you know what you’ll be wearing. Everything should be essential.
  4. Put in toiletries last for easy access and so airport security can check your liquids with ease.
  5. If you’re taking sunglasses or any other fragile items, put them near the center of the bag so all your other items work as protection