You Can’t Take it All: How to Avoid Overpacking

Heels in my Backpack

It’s inevitable that your first attempt at packing for your trip is going to freak you out. How on earth are you meant to fit a year’s worth of clothes, make-up, toiletries, accessories, travel gadgets, and shoes for all occasions, in a 65 litre bag?! It’s pretty daunting. Especially when I’m always telling you more stuff to take… Yeah sorry about that.

Here are some tips to make the whole experience a little easier…

1) Only take clothes that roll up small

I have a gorgeous floral maxi dress that is just perfect for a foriegn land, dining al fresco as the sun sets. Well that’s how I imagined it in my head anyway. So I took it with me. But the dress is lined and takes up a helluva lot of space. I soon sent it home to make more room in my backpack. Fabric is important in your travelling wardrobe, so also don’t take anything that creases easily.

Roll up you clothes for travelling

2) Remember you need to make some cut backs in your beauty regime.

I know it’s hard to believe, as I literally just posted about taking an exfoliator with you, but you need to remember that you can’t take it all. Don’t get me wrong, still take your make-up, but don’t take 8 shades of eyeshadow and all of your lipsticks. Take your face wash but don’t take separate bottles of cleanser, toner and moisturiser. Take your Frizzease but don’t take mousse, hairspray or mattifying powder. This is different for everyone, you’re the only one who knows what’s an essential and what’s a luxury. Sort it out.

Beauty Table

3) See whether anything can be dual purpose

Can one thing have more than one use? If you have aftersun, do you really need moisturiser? Can a top work for both day and night? Can your sarong also be your beach towel? Yes to all of the above. This will cut down what you take with you.

Sarong as a beach towel in Sydney
Sarong as a beach towel in Sydney

4) Don’t take things you’ll need 6 months into your trip

This is the main tip I wanted to give you in this post. It’s certainly a mistake I made when packing for my trip.

If you’re going skiing in New Zealand in 6 months time, don’t carry your salopettes with you all that time. It’s impractical. Look at whether you can buy or rent everything out there or look into how much it would cost for one of your friends or family members to send it out to you once you get there.

I made this mistake by taking things I would need doing my working holiday visa in Australia. So I spent 4 months in Asia, caring around this lot:

  • 2 x work tops
  • Smart dress for work
  • Jeans
  • A pretty paperchase lunchbox

Yep I did that. Again I sent the dress and lunchbox home a few weeks in. They were taking up too much space. Space that could have been taken up by more useful things such as another pair of shoes!

Working 9-5 in Australia
Working 9-5 in Australia

When I actually got to Australia, I realised that Topshop and ASOS delivered internationally. I did also buy some work stuff at Cotton On in Oz but it actually worked out cheaper to buy it all online from the UK and get it delivered.

That’s all I’ll say on the matter for now. But hit me up if you have any more tips on how to lighten the load and avoid overpacking!

Clearly I need them…

4 backpackers' luggage...

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