travel light

I’ve been following Team Wiking for a while now so I’m absolutely giddy Jessica is guest posting on my blog today! She writes about travel, photography, and her beautiful family.

Hi, everyone! Jessica from Team Wiking Travel Blog here. I’m here on Rachel’s blog today to talk to you a little bit about packing light, aka not checking a bag when you fly. I write a monthly column on my blog called Travel Light. It’s about packing light and includes a packing and outfit list for a specific destination. Today I’m going to share a simple formula that I use to pack for my family that you can use when packing for your next adventure.

Team Wiking blog

Step 1. Plan
Where are you going? Are you going somewhere tropical, cooler? What will the weather be like? You have to get in the mindset of being practical. From there you can branch out and be more fashion-focused. If you are going to somewhere that won’t be very cold, you won’t need to pack things like a heavy jacket. If you are going somewhere that is cold or wet you will need to keep in mind that these items take up more space. I always try to stick to a few colors in my palette so it is easy to mix and match items.

Travel Light

Step 2. Organize
I always pack the day before our trip on our bed because it is easiest for me to lay everything out. I lay items out on a day-by-day basis, so for 7 days (don’t forget your travel days!) of outfits, I have 7 different sort-of areas that I use to lay out my outfits. I lay everything out and think about what I really need, what is easy to pack, doesn’t take up much space, that I can wash easily on the go, or that can be worn again without notice. One of my favorite tips for packing light is to pack lighter fabrics that can be hand washed in a sink and left to hang dry while you enjoy your day. I use Baggu Zipper bags to organize certain items and use a reusable shopping bag to separate my dirty clothes while I’m traveling.

Pack Light

Step 3. Details
As a general rule for a 10 day trip to a moderate climate I will pack a hat, a scarf, 2 or 3 bottoms, 7 tops or dresses or other item that can be worn as a top, 1 light sweater or jacket or both pending weather, 2 pairs of shoes, and one simple purse or clutch that can go from day to night. It just really depends on how the item can be worn. Sometimes you can wear a dress over a pair of pants or leggings to create a new look, or you can add a sweater to the top so it appears as a skirt and top combo. A tunic can be worn as a swimsuit cover up, as well as over pants or tucked into any other bottom. A one-piece swimsuit can be worn with pants and a blazer or sweater to act as a top. A lighter scarf can be used as a swimsuit cover up if need be. I really like nicely made black jeggings because they are very light but look like black skinny denim to everyone else. I usually pack around 20 items total, not including undergarments of course.

How To Pack Light

Step 4. Fine Tune
Once you have all of your basics laid out, you can add items like accessories to add a bit of personal style or flair to each piece. I always try to pack at least one “statement” item, usually a nice piece of jewelry or scarf. On a recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico it happened to be a floral hat since I knew we’d be poolside or at the beach often. I just want to encourage you to keep it simple, so that it’s easy to mix and you don’t end up over-packing. When it comes to cosmetics and liquids, please don’t forget the 3-1-1 rule! No more than 3oz per container in a quart sized clear bag.

Packing for a long trip

Step 5. Pack and Enjoy!
If you use a standard size roll-on carryon you should have no problem fitting your items in if you have followed the steps properly. Don’t forget to leave your first day’s travel outfit out (unless you’re already wearing it, of course)! I pack all of my electronics and such in my personal item so I can access it easily when I go through security. If you are going somewhere that is colder you will probably want to wear your heavier items, or leave your jacket out of your suitcase. They don’t count it in your carry-on limit. On the way home feel free to roll all of your dirty items so that you have lots of extra room in your suitcase for goodies.

I hope that this has given you some insight when it comes to traveling light and how it really can be done quite easily! I once packed for a 16 day trip to Denmark for 4 people in 3 carry-on bags. I even had room for all of the diapers I’d need during the trip, too. If you ever have trouble narrowing down your choices, remember that you can always go back to the practical mindset to help you make your decision.

If you enjoyed this post and are interested in more packing light, travel tips, or to see photos from our adventures at home in the San Francisco Bay Area of California or photos of our travels abroad, please visit me at my blog, Team Wiking, or you can follow along on Bloglovin’, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Happy Travels!


Filed Under: Guest Post, Travel6 Comments
  • Z K

    This is a great guide! When I studied abroad I went for 3-5 day trips all the time, but only had a backpack. It definitely got interesting when I had to go to London for six days with just a regular school backpack….

    • Postcards from Rachel

      We did that a lot too! I would bring one pair of shoes, some shirts, and then maybe two pairs of pants. It got easier the more we traveled. :)

    • Jessica at Team Wiking

      I feel like it can be done! :) When I was younger (teen?) I think I’d only pack a backpack for longer trips as well. Though I probably didn’t look as fashionable. I probably wore the same tee like 4x in a row or something, haha.

  • Kayli Schattner

    Great tips!!

    • Postcards from Rachel

      I loved her tips too!

    • Jessica at Team Wiking