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We have all been there. You have chosen the dreamy destination for your next adventure, you have scored a great plane ticket deal and now it is time for one of the most exciting steps – packing.

However, a quick calculation of all the things you want to take compared to the size of your bag shows that even if you break a few laws of physics it would still be impossible to fit everything. This is the moment when one of the most exciting steps turns into one of the most stressful ones.

Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can put to use the next time you find yourself in such a situation. Here are five of them:

Know your restrictions

Preparation is the key in many life situations and travelling with hand-luggage only is definitely one of them. You can save yourself a lot of stress and potential additional charges when you know the exact size and weight restrictions for hand luggage of the company you are flying with.  There are subtle differences in the dimensions of different companies. However, most of them are roughly around 50X40X25cm and 10kg maximum. What can make a difference is whether you are allowed to take additional bag or not. And sometimes just one more small bag is all you need.

 

Make a packing list 

Staying on the topic of preparation, making a list of the things you think you will need is crucial. Put it on a piece of paper or a document on your phone since making a mental list will not do the trick. Our mind is constantly busy with all kinds of thoughts, important or not and sometimes reminding us to take our phone chargers or even passports is not on top of its “to do” list so it is important you put it on yours.  To make it even more organized, you can divide the list into sections: make one for the essentials like keys, phone charger, passport and boarding pass, one for hygiene and cosmetics, one for clothes and one for entertainment and others or just search the internet for templates.

 Take half of your stuff

There is a reason why I said “the things you think you will need” in the previous paragraph because the next step is to take a look at them, be honest with yourself and admit that you will probably not need half of them. This applies especially to the clothes and entertainment section. When it comes to clothing, pick only the ones that you normally wear most frequently in your everyday life because chances are your style and preferences are not going to change while you’re abroad.  Choose colors and patterns that all go together with each other so you can have more different outfits with less clothing items.

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Rolling instead of folding

Now that you have chosen the clothes that you know you are going to wear for sure, it’s time to actually pack them. Technique does matter and rolling your clothes instead of folding them and stacking them on top of each other not only saves precious space in your bag, but helps keep things organized and prevents creases as well.  Using packing cubes is another game-changer. You can also take a spare one to use for putting the dirty laundry in so that you can stay organized even during the trip.

Bonus tip: speaking of dirty clothes, don’t be afraid of using laundry while travelling. Most hotels or hostels provide laundry service and even if they don’t you can easily find a public laundry in most cities. It might add a few dollars to your budget but it can make it possible to travel even long-term with as little as 3 sets of clothing.

 Don’t take what you’re probably going to have in the hotel or be able to buy on the spot

You can reduce the cosmetics section of the list as well by bringing only the essentials. What is referred as essential is only a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste and a small deodorant that you can easily access at any time. When it comes to shampoo and douche gel or soap, there is a good chance you will have just enough of them in your hotel. If you are staying in a hostel or Airbnb you can just buy the cheapest ones from the closest supermarket, use while you are there and then leave for your fellow travelers. Another item that you can just leave at home is towel. Depending on your accommodation, you will either have it included or be able to get for a small amount of money. Another option is to buy a light travel towel that takes half the space of a regular one and dries twice as fast so you are ready to pack up and continue lightly to the next stop.