Packing light for travel
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The Travel Gangster guide to packing light for travel

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packing light with Jansport

If you are going to have the best time of your life as a travel enthusiast, there are no two ways, you have to be savvy at packing light for travel. It doesn’t matter if you are not a frequent traveler. It’s okay if it’s a major travel trip and there are a lot of things to get in and out. You can decide to pack the whole world because, really, nobody cares. I was kidding yeah. But then, no one ever cares if you had to squeeze in your hair dryer when you could make do with some basic hairdressing services at your destination. What rocks your boat right? Yeah, what rocks your boat.

Imagine however that you are the one person in your entire family that always ends up in different parts of the world many times a year. Don’t even negotiate this, you have to be a pro at packing light for travel because you will have to at some points, go on impromptu trips, squeeze yourself into the only cramped space left, catch trains, literally. You are not going to have so much fun if you have so much of baggage trailing you.

Okay, it’s not like I have to go this extra length to help you understand why you really, really need to pack light for travel. It’s just until I paint familiar scenes, it may not be much of an big deal to you yet. Yes, this is another way of  saying it’s a big deal. Remember how you had to miss out on a particular spot on the itinerary because the whole world was right in your bag? I get it, you really needed to have that pair of sandal because it’s your best so far. It’s ridiculously, annoyingly heavy, but, oh please, it’s the best you have bought in years.

So, I have decided to take some stress off you, hopefully, you give me credit for that. In this article, I am going to share with you, my dear waka waka, how to travel light without losing it.

Below are 9 essential tips to help for packing light for travel


1. Use a small/lightweight travel bag

Jansport traveling bag

This is travel psychology. There is no way in the world you would pack more than what your travel bag can accommodate. In fact, the sizable your bag is, the more efficient your packing process in. You are never going to give bringing in your couch a thought, never.

You can never go wrong with some backpacks in Nigeria. Jansport is one of them. Jansport bags are not only lightweight but stylish on different levels. This multicoloured bag, for example is all you need for stylish, light weight travel. Yes, beauty and functionality can be in just one sentence.

2. Bring multipurpose items

I would rather pack a black jean that can work for both casual and not too casual than pack two bottoms: a pant and probably that new blue jean. Waste of space. Your hoodie can serve for both style and weather control. Ballet shoes can work on both corporate and casual, how good is your fashion sense? Packing light for travel is the best time to bring out your inner Coco Chanel.

You don’t want to overload your Jansport backpack with unnecessary items.

3. Roll your clothes

If you have been travelling for a while, you know this already. If you didn’t know, you should buy me a drink already. You can start by folding, after which you roll up. Rolling up your clothes helps to conserve space if you are going to travel light.

Some travel experts advise that you roll up your clothes and place in your travel bag in the vertical position. They say that helps you to see what you need when you need them. You don’t have to dig through your travel bag only to remember that it wasn’t even something you were supposed to be on the journey with. I would sit and cry for months if I discovered that I messed up my luggage to look for nothing. Oh jeez.

If you are however rolling up your clothes into my Jansport type of bag, you only need to stack them in. Opening this bag gives me life, see how colourful. I like colours tho’.

packing light with Jansport

4. Pack a week’s cloth

Yes, just 7 days. If you are going to pack light for travel, you are going to learn how to be minimalist in nature and how to work with what you have. It doesn’t matter if you are travelling for a month, pack for just 7 days and if you are travelling for less than a month, say, a week, pack for three days. You can always find laundry services wherever you go to. This is way better than having to carry extra luggage just in case you never find where to wash.

A smarter option is to pack clothes that are more dark coloured than light coloured. On some occasions, you can wear some items more than once. Also, remember, you should have multipurpose items that can serve at least more than one purpose.

If you have eyes for colours and are fashion oriented in a way (you can pick up these skills and fashion wisdom from the streets anyway), you should watch out for your colour pallet. This will help you mix and match clothing items without stress. I can’t say this without mentioning neutral colours. These are going to be your best bet!

5. Don’t pack items you can buy anywhere


Hair conditioner, nail polish, bottled water, tissue paper. Seriously? Like really? Except you are going to live in a jungle, cut down on these items. Pack necessary things you probably can’t find anywhere. I remember NYSC camp. I literally had to roll my eyes when soldiers at the gate were beginning to scan through people’s luggage.

Someone thought of bringing in her teddy bear. Oh my, of all the ridiculous things anyone can bring in for a 21 day camp. That probably wasn’t as ridiculous as packing a pillow. Someone put a pillow in her luggage. She was coming all the way from the east. If only I had the opportunity, I would ask why she didn’t consider bringing a bed too.

6. Phone apps can replace some bulky items

Jansport bags by TravelStart

If you are planning to take a book, consider its electronic version. Sometimes you really don’t need a book. Traveling is an opportunity to sharpen your offline, interpersonal skills. Build relationships, strike interesting conversations. A notepad? Really? You know what I am about to say already, use the editing and note apps on your phone. Don’t bother to take a camera along if one, it’s not paramount; two, you have a very sharp phone camera.

If you are a travel blogger who would like to blog on the go, you may not really need to have your system. The laptop and laptop backpack baggage is never sweet. Learn to use your phone to pull off many of the tasks you have to flip open your computer for. You can type on your phone and even publish blog posts. If you are using WordPress, it may be easier with the WordPress app. Otherwise, stick to the Blogger’s mobile version instead of the Blogger app, it kinda sucks.

Side note: if you need tips on how to balance your traveling with maintaining your online audience, your blog and increasing your community overall, just send me an email at

7. Avoid carrying liquids

These are heavy. You may need to hold off on your favorite soft drinks, that’s if you think you won’t ever find them where you are going to. Same for your conditioner, shampoo etc. Remember that I mentioned that whatever you can buy elsewhere, don’t bother packing.

Instead of liquids, find out if you can find things in their powdered form. For example, I would rather go for sachet milk than tin milk. Moreover powdered stuff are as cheap as cheap flights from TravelStart. Both give me goose pimples.

8. Have a travel checklist

It’s important to have a checklist of items you really want to carry along. This helps you avoid packing less important things only to realize that more important things have been left behind. This may sound extra but it helps to begin to develop your travel checklist days earlier. You don’t have to stress, just write down what you’ll need to take along.

This may work best if it is not an impromptu trip for example, packing to resume school, packing for NYSC camp, going on a long awaited vacation. Please pack me into your traveling bag if you are going to Hawaii, I am lightweight, hello. Did you know that with TravelStart you can book cheap flights from Lagos to New York? I would gladly carry your bag for you even if it isn’t Hawaii, New York sounds great too, I am not joking fellas.

Jansport bag

9. Wear the heaviest items in transit

You can even layer up. Travelling on the bulkier items can help to reduce the stress on your traveling bag. This goes down to even your footwear. Pack your flops, wear your boots. Pack your chiffon, wear your hoodie.

I have at a point traveled with cardigan on an ankara skirt and blouse. I knew I could pair the peplum blouse with my black jeans. I also had the option of wearing a funky coloured orange top on my ankara skirt. Of course, my cardigan, it was going to come in handy, it was the harmattan season. Smart right? I had four future mix and match outfits from just one transit outfit.

Alright guys, these are what you need to travel light without the fuss that comes with it. Easy peasy, right? I would love to hear from you. Your extra tips to traveling light would definitely be of great resource to this article.


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