I went to Europe for 3 weeks with only 7kg carry-on. This is how I did it.

Want to know how to pack light? If you travel frequently, you’d be all too familiar with the knot that forms in your stomach as you’re waiting by the carousel for your checked-in luggage. Everyone else seems to be dispersing with their bags in tow, yet yours hasn’t appeared. With a bit of luck, your luggage eventually comes out, but if it doesn’t, then it’s up to the travel gods as to whether you’ll see your treasured items again.

I too know this feeling well, yet thankfully, it’s a feeling of the past. These days I take carry-on luggage only, no matter where I’m going, or for how long. Three weeks in Europe with carry-on only? Yep, you betcha.

If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be travelling around the world for weeks at a time with just 7kgs, I would have laughed in your face. ‘How?!’ and ‘why?!’ would have been my first questions. I was notorious for over-packing my suitcase with items that never in a million years was I going to wear, but I had to pack, you know, ‘just in case’.

After all, the beauty of travel is that sometimes you just don’t know what the occasion will bring, so how do you really know what outfit you’ll need? Well, last year I tried it out. I was out of the plane and in an Uber in 20 minutes. Cobblestone streets? No drama, I just picked up my bag!

Hotel room or Airbnb up three flights of stairs? No sweat! And, the fact that our luggage fit easily into the boot of our tiny rental hatchback was incredible. So I’m about to do it all again. I will pack enough for work events, casual lunches, fancy dinners, walking for hours every day, and yet still, I’ll get by just fine with limited items. How do I do it? Experience has taught me all the below methods.

Choose versatile items every time.

This can take some finessing as there have definitely been times when I thought I was taking versatile items, then realised they go with nothing else I’ve packed. Really think about what you typically wear on a daily basis and how you might be able to bring just one or two things that can be used for multi-purpose wears. Think: the perfect scarf that can elevate any outfit or leggings that double as active wear leggings too.

Create a capsule wardrobe.

This advice can be great for your day-to-day life too. Having a great capsule wardrobe full of quality items that are versatile can really save you a lot of time and money. I like to stick to mix and match – all in black (except my jeans).

I take a variety of black shirts – plain, fancy, long sleeve and short sleeve – jeans, two skirts, black leggings (one long pair and one short pair), black singlets and a sport a bra for hiking (always! Every trip includes some hiking).

Find the perfect skirt. 

If you can find the perfect skirt that can be dressed up with a fancy top or dressed down with a pair of sneakers, then this can give you a few different outfit options. I have the best non-crushable Leina & Fleur skirt that is always in my bag.

Bring travel-size everything. 

These days, so many things come in travel size, from toothpaste to skincare, that there’s no excuse to bring full-size anything. For skincare, I obviously bring all my Evidence Skincare products in the 15ml size, which can last three weeks, then I find that places like Priceline often sell handy travel packs for all the necessities, like toothpaste and shampoo and conditioner.

Perfect the roll.

We’ve heard it before that rolling your clothes rather than folding them can yield more space, and this is even more true when you’ve only got carry-on. Sure, your weight restrictions still apply, but rolling your clothing really does allow you to fit more in.

Pick the right suitcase. 

With limited space and limited weight, you really do need the right suitcase. Some of those carry-on bags weigh a tonne! You do not want to be allocating much of that weight restriction to the bag itself. These days I travel with my Antler Clifton bag which is a carry-on hard case style, so it’s sturdy, yet light on its feet.

Wash and wear.  

Travelling with only carry-on luggage does not mean that you have to outfit repeat without washing your wares. Sure, you’ll definitely need to outfit repeat if you’re going for longer periods of time, but getting these items washed is essential.

That doesn’t mean spending hundreds for hotel laundry service, you can do this yourself! Just make sure you pack items that can be washed in your hotel room sink, hung out and will be dry and ready to go the next day. I try to get an Airbnb with a washing machine. To fill in gaps, I use plain hand soap and water. Don’t hate me.

Versatile shoes. 

Trust me on this advice. You do not want to be traipsing around cobblestone streets in your favourite pair of heels. I’m sure they look fabulous, but I’ve already learnt this lesson the hard way, so let me impart this advice: choose comfortable shoes every single time.

Comfort doesn’t have to mean daggy; there are so many great brands out there that will take care of your feet without having to compromise on style. My staple shoes are my Frankie4 lightweight walking shoes that I wear on the plane, and my trusty nude pumps. I find my nude pumps will go with almost any dressy outfit, even jeans, and they can quickly elevate any look.

Listen to Dr Ginni on our podcast Help! I Have A Teenager. Post continues below.

Go light on the jewellery. 

I wear a pair of studs in my ears and a stand-in wedding ring on the plane and nothing else. Stand-in wedding ring you ask? Yes, do not take your real wedding or engagement ring with you (unless you’re having a destination wedding you really don’t need to risk it).

Part of that strategy is both to avoid losing treasured items by mistake and also to avoid looking like a walking billboard for potential muggings. Of course, this can happen anywhere in the world, but better to be safe than sorry.

Share a laptop charger.

We take one between my husband Daniel and I to share. Just try to run on different schedules – that is, you don’t want to both be running out of charge at the same time.

Enjoy the liberation. Once you decide you are doing this, you let go of so much. It is so liberating! Enjoy!

Dr GinniMansberg is a GP and travel enthusiast with a passion for making medical evidence accessible to all. These passions were the driving force behind her co-founding Evidence Skincare (ESK), an Australian skincare brand that, like the name suggests, is based on evidence for real results. She is also the co-host of Mamamia podcast, Help! I Have a Teenager.   

Article originally supplied on : https://www.mamamia.com.au/how-to-pack-light/