Whether you’re going backpacking through Europe or on a short vacation on an exotic beach, the packing essentials are the same. Most people are likely to over-pack, which means either breaking your back or paying bigger luggage fees, just to have a lot of stuff that you might not even wear with you.

If you’re really looking to pack less for a vacation, advice like “just lose half of the things you want to pack” won’t really help. Find out how to reduce your luggage, whether you’re packing for a cruise or a business trip.

1. Focus on Separates

The most important thing to do when you’re looking through your wardrobe for things to pack is to choose the right separates. With a pair of jeans, two skirts and three tops, you can create up to 9 distinct outfits. 

You’ll probably need at least a couple of dresses, but find the separates that work with more than one other piece and pack them first.

2. Roll Instead of Folding

One of the best tips when you’re looking to pack less for a vacation is to roll your clothing instead of folding it. You might some space, and you’ll definitely deal with a lot less wrinkling when you unpack, while also making sure everything fits into your luggage.

3. Use Packing Accessories

Some packing accessories are better than others, but one of the most useful ones is the packing cube. It will allow you to store most of your small items in a single place while saving space. Stuff sacks or compression sacks can also help you save a more space in your luggage, but they’ll also get your clothes very wrinkled, so use them wisely.

More: What to Pack for a Cruise

4. Don’t Pack Anything Cheap

When you’re trying to pack less for a vacation, forget about packing items that you can get cheaply at your destination. If it costs less than $10 and you’re running out of space, simply leave it behind. When you’re packing your cosmetics, make sure that you focus on the essentials, not on the cheap and easy to find stuff.

Tricks To Pack Less For Vacation

5. Choose the Right Accessories

If you’re packing less clothes, accessories become more important. You don’t have to fill your luggage with every scarf and necklace you own. Instead, spread out the clothes you’re taking along and choose the accessories that work with most or all of them, so you won’t feel like you lack choices when you’re putting together an outfit.

6. Don’t Waste Any Space

The most common reason why your luggage keeps expanding and you feel like you need to pack less for a vacation is the lack of using the space you have in each bag thoughtfully. When you’re packing multiple pairs of shoes, fill them will smaller items in ziplock bags instead of keeping them empty. If you want to save more space, wear your bulkiest shoes for the trip and pack the smaller ones.

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7. Pack Less Clothes and More Underwear

You probably won’t regret packing too much underwear, especially items that can be shrunk down considerably in compression sacks. Another useful tip is to bring along old underwear you’re likely to throw out in the near future and even old clothes. That way, you can leave old items behind and make place in your luggage for souvenirs.

8. Don’t Leave Behind Multifunctional Items

If you want to pack less for a vacation, think of taking multifunctional items with you, that can help you create a variety of looks. Wrap dresses and sarongs are among your best choices, especially if your destination is a beautiful beach. Dresses that can be worn either strapless or on one shoulder are another item you should pack instead of dresses that only work for a single look.

What Makeup To Pack For Vacation

9. Streamline Your Makeup Kit

Before packing your makeup kit, make sure that you’re not taking items that you won’t actually use. Stick to a single tube of mascara, lose the primer and toner if you can, and make sure that you’re packing the products that have more than one use. Lip and cheek stains can do more than one job and they’ll take up less space.

10. Skip the Unnecessary Hair Styling Tools

If your goal is to pack less for a vacation, then you really should think twice about bringing along a flat iron or any other big hair styling tools. Keep in mind that a warm and humid environment will mean your hair can get wild, and if you’re going to be sitting on a beach and swimming, your tresses are already suffering through a lot.