The season for long trips is fast approaching. Everybody is gearing up for the hot summer days. We are no exception to that. Right now, I am already picturing in my head the clothes I will take, the shoes I will pack and so on. I just have this habit of making sure everything is in place before the big travel day.

I have always been a “light” traveller because I loathe being inconvenienced by the hassle of unpacking what I have just packed. My daughter has this habit of taking everything her hands can grab while I fix the stuff. She would squeeze in few teddy bears (and when I say few, it’s more than 5!), her arts and craft paraphernalia, her thick novel books (and that is plural), her sketch pads, pens, and few clothes. 

We’re like those traders peddling our goods on the side streets! Yup, she’s a messy packer and we always end up bickering over what to put and remove from the stuff she wants to take with her. Of course, being the mom (usurpation of power I must say!), I always end up re-packing and removing unnecessary items. This happens though after a lot of justifications and a little bribery on the side (“Princess, leave that and mama will buy you new stuff there. OK?”). So in our family, we each have our own luggage. There’s no way I am lugging several heavy bags during my vacation this summer!

I have my own system of putting all I can carry in a single trolley bag, just enough to fit the over-head locker. And this is how I pack:

1. Depending on the weather of the place we will go to, I only pack a max of 5 shirts (but I make sure the colors can be mixed and matched to my trouser or shorts). Normally, I just buy the essentials on the destination.

I pack 1 dark-colored jeans to compliment most of my shirts/blouses and 1 trouser. Well, the color actually depends on how you will mix and match but I stick with the basics, like white, black and navy blue. I also take only 3-4 sets of undergarments. If it’s cold, I only bring 1 sweater or pull-over and a parka/wind-blazer to keep out the cold. Shoes must match the weather though.

2. I roll my clothes. Yup, roll and not fold. Rolling clothes take up few spaces but of course I do not roll my heavy jacket. I don’t bring towels anymore after checking and confirming that the place we will stay in has this amenity. We don’t worry much about creasing our clothes because I bring my compact pressing iron.

3. I don’t take the normal bottles of shampoo, lotion, conditioner, face moisturizer. I have this small toiletry pouch with tiny refillable bottles for the above bath assortment so I just transfer enough amount of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and moisturizer for the duration of our whole stay. I also buy a very small tube of toothpaste which we all share so only one of us carry these stuff. Most of the time, the hotel provides these amenities but I still carry my personal preference.

4. As per travelling shoes and slippers, I depend my choices on the place and weather situation and the activity we will engage in while we are abroad. If it’s the beach area, I just carry a pair of very light sandal which I also use to go around and a nice loafer for malling or if in case we need to check out museums. I never bring rubber shoes because of the tight security in the airports these days. I try my best to wear something which I can just kick off my feet. Same goes with my hubby and daughter. They too carry light slippers and nice loafers.
5. We use “canvas” luggage. The hard case is durable but it already takes in extra weight so we prefer the cloth. Canvas bags are more flexible and you can squeeze those extra stuff you have bought after the retail therapy sessions.

6. This is just a handy tip, I also carry a big tote bag which serves as my hand carry. Not too big that the entire house will fit and that will call the attention of the check-in agents but big enough to accommodate our travel documents, my purse, mobile phone, keys, small gadgets, and 1 fave book to read. Approximate dimension is 1 ft (H) x 4 in (W) x 1 ft 6 in (L).

There are plenty of sturdy bags in the market so choose a very durable one which has many functional compartments like these:

(Both bags are mine)

7. Keep the electrical cords of your gadgets in a single pouch bag.

8. Instead of using those heavy bag tags, I make my own personalized bag tags the size of a calling card which I laminate. I use a thick laminating card to make it very sturdy and use a thick ribbon to tie it around our luggage’s‘ handle. I also write our names inside the bag, just in case.

All in all, the art of packing and travelling light depends on your travel’s agenda. Just always ask yourself while packing if you actually will use a certain item often while on trip. And if you answered “yes” then put it in. You need to evaluate the need to carry the item and if it will serve it’s purpose for the trip. If not, skip it and leave an extra space for future items to occupy. Remember the reason for the trip! It’s not a “relocation.”