Packing Light: What to Leave Out of Your Luggage

There’s no better feeling than arriving at your destination and strolling through a city with minimal luggage, making your way to your hotel in style without worrying about losing your bags in transit. Overpacking is a common problem and we know how hard it can be to minimize what you bring on a trip as you excitedly pack for your next adventure. We’ll help you decide what to leave behind so you can travel with ease and confidence on your next trip. Here’s how to pack light and what to leave out of your luggage the next time you travel!

While its tempting, avoid brining your wardrobe 😀

Clothing Items to Leave at Home

When it comes to packing, clothes are often the first thing on your mind. You might wonder what to wear and what you should bring along. Although it's tempting to pack extra clothing for any possible weather scenario, it's rarely necessary. To make things easier, take some time to research your destination's weather patterns, and expected precipitation before you start packing. This way, you can focus on bringing the essentials. And if you're headed somewhere with fluctuating weather, pack versatile clothing to cut down on the bulk.

A few of the clothing items to avoid include heavy winter clothing items in warm destinations, excessive pairs of shoes, and bulky or non-versatile articles such as thick sweaters, large hats, or oversized scarves, as these take up too much space and aren’t as useful.

Depending on where you are headed, another factor to consider is cultural sensitivities as certain clothing items might be prohibited. Think carefully about how revealing your clothing will be and bring versatile things to help cover up for visits to religious sites. Our various destination guides can help provide further guidance on specific locations and what to pack so you aren’t unprepared!

Electronics and Gadgets

We know how easy it is for electronics and travel gadgets to sneak into our luggage and weigh it down. Trust us, we've been there! To keep things light, consider cutting back on charging cables and relying on your phone's camera instead of packing bulky photography gear. With today's smartphones, you can still capture stunning photos and videos. And if you can, leave the laptop and oversized headphones behind. By streamlining your tech gear, you'll enjoy a lighter and more carefree journey.

One electronic item that you shouldn’t forget is a Universal Power Adapter. Look for one that can charge via a traditional plug and USB cords to help minimize the amount of adapters you need to bring. This way you can charge most of your electronic items at the end of the day all in one plug if necessary.

Toiletries and Personal Care Items

When it comes to toiletries and personal care items, a good rule of thumb to follow is to always bring travel size toiletries. Full-size bottles are bulky, heavy, and have a better chance of spilling, not to mention they aren’t allowed in your carry-on luggage. If you can’t find smaller versions of your favorite products, purchase reusable bottles and tubes to put things like your moisturizer or contact solution in. If you have an extensive makeup routine, consider minimizing it for your trip. Bringing multiple eyeshadow palettes, numerous lipsticks, and several types of foundation add up to an unnecessarily large and awkward makeup bag. Ask yourself about the activities you plan to participate in and if a heavy makeup routine fits into these plans. Pack only the essentials and you might be surprised how little you end up using on the road! 

Travel-size bottles are a great alternative to bulky bottles.

Another factor that many travelers don’t take into consideration is that most beauty and toiletry products are available in other countries. Chances are you’ll be able to find your product or something similar in stores at your destination. This fact might help you relax when packing up toiletries and make you more comfortable going a more minimal route while knowing that if you’re truly missing something you can pick it up somewhere along the way.

Valuables and Sentimental Items

Adventuring and traveling in general isn’t the time to pack valuable or sentimental items and cherished artifacts. Leave the expensive jewelry and irreplaceable family heirlooms at home in a safe place where they won’t be lost.

Most trips will require that you bring important documents, like your passport, and you’ll want to be sure to bring color copies of these documents as well. Keep these papers in a safe, designated place like a passport wallet or document pouch that is waterproof and protective.

Restricted and Prohibited Items

Obvious items you’ll want to keep at home are items banned by airlines such as sharp or flammable objects. Double check the airlines website to make sure you’re not bringing any forbidden items and remove them from your luggage before heading to the airport if you accidentally packed some. Beware of certain batteries as these are being banned by more and more airlines.

Specific countries have currency, cultural, and legal restrictions and you’ll want to research these rules in advance to prevent any miscommunications on the other side of your travels. These restrictions particularly come into place with large sums of money and some medications.

Bulky and Heavy Items

One of the heaviest items that many travelers lug along with them on their adventures are books. As tempting as it may be to bring along your guidebook for the trip or a paperback book to read on the beach, these both add unnecessary weight to your luggage. The solution is easy! Pack a Kindle or simply download the Kindle app to your phone and voilà, your book or magazine can fit in your pocket and is ready to be read anywhere. 

If your trip requires specific sports equipment or camping gear, most of these items can be rented at your destination. Whether it be golf clubs, skis, or a tent and sleeping bag, chances are you’ll find it upon arrival, negating the need to drag these bulky things through the airport.


  • Reply
    May 10, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    I also appreciate the fact that you mentioned the importance of leaving out items that can be easily purchased at the destination. I used to pack snacks and drinks for every trip I went on, but I’ve come to realize that those things can easily be purchased at the airport or at a nearby store. This has not only saved me space in my luggage but also allowed me to try new snacks and drinks at my destination.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Very interesting, just bookmarked your page.

  • Reply
    Austin A. McCary
    June 2, 2023 at 7:52 pm

    Great article! I always struggle with overpacking when I go on vacation, so these tips on what to leave out of my luggage are really helpful. I never thought about skipping the bulky hairdryer and using the one provided by the hotel instead. Definitely going to try that on my next trip!

Leave a Reply