Over-packing is a disease caused by people over-worrying. When you’re going to new places and only meeting strangers, you don’t need to impress them with all of your outfits. Most strangers will never remember what you wore – honestly, they probably won’t remember you at all.

My tips for packing start before you even pull your bag out:

  1. Know where you’re going: Take a look online at the weather forecast for your destination. If rain is likely, an umbrella or rain gear might be necessary. Look at the temperature highs and lows and then add / deduct five degrees to that, meaning you’ll have something to keep you comfortable no matter what happens. Look for things you don’t need, instead of what you do.
  2. Pack the right bag: People will fill whatever bag they have in front of them. If the bag is smaller, they will pack less, so don’t take a steamer trunk when you’re going away for the weekend.
  3. Write a list: It takes two minutes to think through your trip – even one without an itinerary – and to conjure up everything you want to take with you. Think through the activities you’re likely to do. A fancy dinner? Beach lounging? Coffee shop smoking? Take the right clothes, and see if some items might be able to serve more than one purpose.
  4. Plan on buying stuff: Cash and credit cards are much lighter than shirts, shoes or anything else. You can shed pounds in your bag if you’re planning to buy a few things on your journey. Additionally, those purchases will stay with you when you return – a friendly reminder of your time abroad.
  5. View everything: Pull out everything that you want to pack and put it on your bed. If the pile is too big, then ask yourself: “Do I need this?” If you have to really think about it, you probably don’t. Also, include the clothes you’re going to wear to the airport – and make those your heaviest items.
  6. Be decisive: Just make up your mind, and never pack two things because you couldn’t choose between them. If you ever arrive home with clean clothes, you over-packed. Don’t let that happen again.

Paring back your packing list will lighten your load – and just in case something happens and you end up lugging your bag around for a few hours, you’ll be grateful for everything you didn’t bring.

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