11 Best Tips for Packing Light – 25 Days to Green Travel

To be a green traveler there is one true “must”: You must pack light here are the 11 Best Tips for Packing Light. A while back we posted the Ultimate Guide to Packing Light: 45 Tips to Lighten Your Load. Some of you might have found that post a little long and detailed, so for our 25 Days to Green Travel series we’re condensing the tips down to just 11.

11 Best Tips for Packing Light

Pack Early

The earlier you begin to pack, the more time you will have to take out what you don’t need. And let’s face it – it’s too easy to overpack the first time around.

Choose the Best Bag or Luggage for You

For me this consists of:

Learn to Roll Clothes and Bundle Pack

Rolling clothes and bundle wrapping them (essentially wrapping everything around a central object) makes for fewer wrinkles and takes up less space – which allows you to pack a smaller and lighter piece of luggage.

Ditch the Guidebooks

Guidebooks can be extremely heavy. By leaving them at home your bag will not only weigh 5 pounds less, but you’ll be more likely to get off the beaten path. If you insist on guidance for your journey, take a look at these 12 Paper-Free Guidebooks.

Stick with One Color

Coordinating your clothes around one central color scheme means you have to pack fewer shirts, pants, and shoes. Black or brown are smart choices.

Learn the Rule of 3’s

Bring 3 shirts. Depending on the climate, bring 3 long and/or 3 short sleeve shirts. Why? When you bring 3 shirts you won’t be wearing what you wore yesterday. Honestly, three shirts is all you need. When I traveled around Europe for six weeks I wore the same 3 shirts, over and over and over.

Bring Light and Quick-Drying Underwear and Socks

I recently purchased 2 pairs of Ex-Officio Underwear. I’m going to use only these two pairs for an entire 3-week trip. Socks and underwear take up a lot of space and can weigh down your bag, so bring as few of these as possible.

Learn to Layer

Layering is the key to packing light. Why bring a heavy coat when a fleece over a long-sleeve shirt over a t-shirt will do?

2+1 Shoes Rule

1 pair hiking/tennis shoes
1 pair nice shoes
1 pair flip-flops or sandals (they don’t really count as shoes right?)

Bonus tip: Make sure your shoes match your color choice.

Toiletries: If you don’t already own it, buy it there

You can buy brand-name toiletries and cosmetics almost anywhere in the world. And with stricter environmental laws in the EU your toiletries available may be more environmentally-friendly. So if you don’t already own something, buy it when you arrive.

Get Over Yourself

The number one rule for packing light is to leave your variety-needing, self-conscious self (the one with a desire to look not only your best, but also different on a day-to-day basis) at home. When you travel you can literally wear the same thing everyday and most people won’t bat an eye.

11 Best Tips for Packing Light is the ninth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index.


  1. By September Porter on

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I keep saying I am going to pack light but I don’t in the end. I WILL GET OVER MYSELF!. I am going to visit family. I will be caring for my MOM (at her home), Mass (Church) each weekend, and an occasional movie – I think I should be able to pack light- if I ‘get over myself’. The last time I went, I overpacked and did not wear over half of the items. I can wash as often as I please (underwear), so I am good to go.

    Thanks again.

  2. By wayne on

    Another great tip is to use vacum bags and compression bags I can fit 3 pairs of pants and three shirts in a ten inch by ten inch bag thats only 2inches thick. why pack air. the vacum bags work great because i find wrinkling is minimal

  3. By Ariana on

    Not sure about how to pack or what to pack… what I am sure is that some airlines every time I use them they lose my luggage. That is why now I always use the same agency no matter what Travelrepublic is the one to go for! I just do all my bookings through them. Anyway! great post! cheers


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