Travel Guide: Packing Light!

When we moved back to the U.S. after living in Italy for 3 years, I was determined to not have a bunch of suitcases with us, because we had several stops to make before arriving at our home in the PNW.  Everyone packed 1 expanded carry on suitcase and 1 backpack.  The rest of our stuff wasn’t going to arrive for 2-3 months, but it was a fun challenge to see how we could literally live out of one suitcase! Here are a few ways we did it 🙂

Packing Cubes


I’ve talked about these before, but they are awesome!! Get at least 3 per person, of whatever size you think you need. We use 2 mediums and 1 slim for every person. I  label the outside of each cube with the family member’s name too! Minus a few bulky items, we usually only take what fits in the packing cubes.  Often times, compromising with the littles is involved! 🙂 You can get a set of packing cubes from ebags for about $30 and ours have lasted about 4 years so far!

Roll Clothes, Don’t Stack!

Folding and stacking clothes in your suitcase takes up so much more room than rolling them! Roll everything-shirts, dresses, jeans, shorts etc.  Then place the rolled clothes into your packing cubes. You will be so surprised at how much more you can fit! I usually could fit 2 outfits a day for my girls (ages 3 & 5), for at least 5 days in a medium sized packing cube. Rolling clothes is the way to go!

Osprey Pack


I know this is kinda cheating, but it works great! Pack your diapers, wipes, extra set of kid clothes, drinks and snacks, all in the bottom of your child carrier.  You should be able to bring your child carrier on board the airplane and stash it in the overhead compartment as a carry-on.  Then you have easy access to those items, without taking up space in your backpack or purse. Yay!! (We love our Osprey pack, it has been on several adventures!)

Buy Items When You Arrive

Keep in mind that you don’t have to take everything you need to live on in your suitcase! If you are traveling, you can buy lotion, sunscreen, etc. at your destination (unless you have allergies, then take your regular skin care products :)! If you have a baby, only take the diapers and wipes you need for a few days, and buy more once you arrive. Diapers take up a bunch of space!  If you know you are going somewhere with limited resources, pack what you will need, but generally this helps you to save on packing space!

Do you really NEED that?


When we moved back to the states, my girls carried their 1 favorite stuffed animal (we love Jelly Cat animals!) and 1 doll went into their suticases.  Their favorite books, markers and doodle pads went into their backpacks to help keep them busy during all of our travels. And they were perfectly happy!! Kids don’t need to take every favorite toy, and parents don’t need to carry a bag full of toys from destination to destination.  Pack what will fit in their backpack (my girls have little kid sized backpacks!) and the rest will have to stay.  Kids can get pretty inventive and creative when they have a set limit!

Plan Daily Outfits

Have you ever gone on a quick trip, and just thrown things into your bag that you “might” wear? (I have!!) You can’t do that on a long trip, while packing light at the same time! Plan out your family’s outfits, based on the weather at your destination, and have a set outfit for each day.  This doesn’t mean you actually have to wear those clothes on that day, but it keeps you from just randomly adding clothes (and shoes!!) to your suitcases.  And if you find yourself tight on space, take away a pair of shoes. I can guarantee that they are the culprit!

What are your tips and tricks for packing light? Leave a comment and let us know!!

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