When you are a nomadic traveller you pick up all kinds of weird skills. At the top of the list is the ability to pack light: for a globetrotter, being able to live out of one small bag for weeks on end is definitely an essential ninja skill.
However, it can also be handy for other types of travellers to know how to pack light. It is always good to be able to hop on a plane with hand luggage instead of going through all the expense and rigmarole of taking a big case with you.
The right bag
First, you need to choose the right size bag. It is important to do your research before choosing one. Take a look at this page to get an overview of the size and weight limits for a range of the world’s favourite airlines. You can use this information to make sure that you do not end up buying a bag that is too big.
Stay organised and use the cube
Because you only have limited space it is very important to make the room you have, and to stay organised. The last thing you need is to have to take everything out of your case when you go through security to get to your electronics and toiletries.
A good way to do both is to use packing cubes. These super light bags are a great way to allow you to pack everything in tightly. If you arrive at your destination and it is raining, all you need to do is to reach into your case and pull out the cube that contains your waterproof and jumper.
Use Ziploc bags
When you pack things together tightly you increase the risk of the lid popping off or your shampoo and spilling over your clothes. The best way to stop this happening is to put your toiletries in a good quality Ziploc bag. Many airports require you do this anyway, so you can take them out at security and put them in the tray.
Zip lock bags are also handy when you have a pair of wet swim shorts or muddy shoes to pack. It is a shame not to be able to take that last minute swim because you do not have a way to pack wet clothes without them contaminating everything else.
Roll don’t fold
Rolling up soft items of clothing rather than folding them means you make better use of the space you have available. It also helps to prevent creases.
Pack in an orderly fashion
The best approach is to pack heavy items that do not roll well, like jeans, into the base of your bag. Then add your shoes. If you can, pack soft shoes held together using a good elastic band. This keeps them compressed together, so they take up less space. Now add your shirts, t-shirts, shorts and other soft items of clothing. As you go, fill in any little gaps that you see with socks and other small items.