Packing lighter and lighter

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Continuing from last month’s post, Luggage: A Simple Choice?, this week I’m going to look at how to pack smarter and lighter.

Imagine a week in Corfu on a cheap package deal from Malta at the start of Summer. How much would you pack? As we stood in the check-in queue with our 15 litre daypacks we thought we must be in the wrong line. One couple had hand baggage plus three suitcases, two of which were larger than the seven year old in front of us! You can bet they paid their ticket price again in excess weight costs.

There are so many advantages to a light, one bag mentality — and not only the blessing of less weight to carry and less things to lose. Budget airlines are making their baggage allowances smaller and smaller, cashing in on excess weight charges. New carry-on laws make flying without checked luggage seem like a dream, but one day it’ll be possible again.

Where did this couple heading to Corfu go wrong? I’m guessing clothes. Here’s my packing list for a week (or couple of months) in Summer. A week in Corfu: what would you take?

Whilst working in northern Italy I ran across a guy in a similar situation to me — he was travelling through Europe for several years, perhaps even looking for a new home. He managed to have five bags though. And nine pairs of shoes plus a portable tennis court. I was amazed to see him balancing all his packs and suitcases…as were several passersby.

So a few helpful light packing tips…

  • Comfort beats style — choose fabrics for the conditions
  • No more than two pairs of shoes (one walking, one dress) plus jandals/flip-flops.
  • Jeans are heavy and dry slowly; is there another option?
  • Wash and dry clothes as you go — choose quick drying fabrics. Buy an elastic travel clothesline, “universal” sink plug (or some bluetack) and some handwash soap.
  • Take minimal toiletries and make-up. Repackage liquids into smaller containers.
  • Bring minimal electronics; cables are heavy! And one universal power adapter.
  • You can almost always buy more layers if temperatures are lower than anticipated; locals often know how to protect against the elements better than travellers anyway.

Remember, your stuff will expand to fill the empty space in your bag!

A few links… – My favourite site for tips and motivation
Linda and me talking about this – On

Prefer to pack heavy? Any other one bag tips? Leave your two cents in the comments.

Craig Martin is a regular contributor to the amateur traveler, podcasts at the indie travel podcast and blogs at our crazy travels. A Kiwi, he has left stuff all over Europe in an attempt to pack light.

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by Craig Martin

Craig Martin podcasts and blogs at

2 Responses to “Packing lighter and lighter”

Allison Brown


I’m fascinated by the diverse range of views and opinions. Who’s your “go to” guy?



My “go to” guy for what? I have more than one.

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