Ever since I was young, I’ve taken packing as a personal challenge: to find the smallest possible bag for my trip. Going on family vacations, I’d be the one with a backpack while other family members carried 2-3 bags (not that there is anything wrong with that — just different styles of traveling).
As I travel more frequently on budget airlines (first Ryanair, then EasyJet, Spirit, and most recently Wow), the more creative I have to get with packing. My most recent challenge was a weight limit of 11 lbs for my trip to Iceland.
Eleven pounds is not very much weight. Especially for a trip that requires winter gear.
But I was able to get to and from Iceland without having to pay for extra weight 🙌 (I may or may not have worn 5 layers of clothing until I got past security…). Mission accomplished.
Before I tell you how I did it, I wanted to share a few reasons why I value traveling light.
- It makes travel easier. Not having to worry about a checked bag or the possibility of my luggage getting lost or stolen takes a big stress out of travel for me. Plus, it’s easier to navigate airports, buses, trains, etc. when you only have a backpack (plus maybe a purse).
- It helps take away distractions. I’ve essentially done all of the deciding on what I’m going to wear before I even get to the airport. With limited outfit choices, I can focus on getting out the door faster and experiencing the new city. And less decision fatigue.
- If you don’t have much space for souvenirs, you have to focus on the few things that you really want (instead of just accumulating stuff).
- On those nightmare-esque occasions when you are running through the airport to make your flight, you aren’t weighted down by tons of baggage.
- You’re forced to consider every item you are bringing to make sure it has value. Almost everything I took to Iceland could have had more than one use.
- As I mentioned earlier, packing lightly is a personal challenge to me. So yes, I do just do it for fun ☺️.
Back to Iceland. Here’s are a few tips on how I managed to fit everything in my 11 lbs carry-on:
- I made a list of everything I could possibly need. I didn’t want any surprises popping up after I had already packed my bag.
- I laid everything on my packing list out (including what to wear to the airport).
- I went through my clothes 2-3 times to pare them down. Everything needed to coordinate so I could easily mix and match (I ended up with less than half of what I originally laid out).
- I picked a few items I could leave behind if necessary. I took an old hoodie and handmedown jeans that didn’t have to come back (although they both did).
- I separated out what I planned on wearing to the airport (2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, you get the picture 😋).
- I used my bulky winter coat to my advantage and stuffed the pockets full.
- Even though it was 60 degrees, I wore all of my winter layers. And quickly took them off once I was weighed in so I wouldn’t sweat through all my clothes on day 1… 😂
- I made a mental list of everything I could ditch at the airport (or additional things I could wear) if my bag ended up being overweight.
- I weighed my bag multiple times at home.
- Wore lots of deodorant.
What tips do you have for packing light? I’d love to hear your ideas!