For the last few holidays that I've been on I've only taken hand luggage. Which has a lot of perks. You don't need to arrive as early at the airport or wait around at the other end. And nothing is going to get lost. But it does mean that you have to be really careful about what you pack as you're limited on space for packing and weight. But now that I've gotten used to travelling with only hand luggage I don't miss the extra stuff that hold luggage allows you to bring. I can bring everything that I need in hand luggage and everything else just begins to look unnecessary. I'm not saying I wouldn't like hold luggage for a much longer stay(I'm definitely taking hold luggage for my trip to North America) but if you're only going away for a few days you can definitely fit everything in hand luggage and here are my tops tips for packing light:
1. Be realistic about how much clothing you need and what sort of clothing you need. I am definitely really bad for over packing. So I have to be really strict with myself. I'll plan out outfits before I go and see if I can wear the same thing in two different outfits so try and get as much wear out of them as possible. Also don't stop checking the weather forecasts until the very last minute. When we went to Geneva the weather forecasts were saying that the weather would be much like Edinburgh but when we arrived we were quite shocked by how warm it was and had to buy a t-shirt for the last day as we had brought really warm clothing.
2. See if you can share liquids with anyone you're travelling with. When I went to Geneva I took things like shower gel and deodorant but over the holiday I didn't even use half of them and neither did my friends. So when Morag and I were planning Amsterdam we separated out things so that we weren't both bringing one of everything. I took deodorant, shower gel, toothpaste and facewipes and she brought shampoo, conditioner and some other things too. It definitely helped save us space and they actually got used a bit more.
3. Take a collapsable shopping bag with you. I have this Yelp shopping bag that I got at ScotBlogMeet and I've taken it on two holidays now and it is super handy. It clips onto the outside of my bag so doesn't even take up any space. Generally anything you can clip onto the outside of a bag like a water bottle or a rain jacket is really helpful. Once I've gone through airport security I can take some stuff out of my main bag and carry it in that one. It's also really handy for the hotel/hostel as I use it for worn clothes to keep them separate.
4. Remember and leave space for anything you might buy whilst away. If your bag is totally crammed on the way out then chances are it's going to be hard for you to bring anything home. Either leave some space in the bag for anything you might buy or take things you wouldn't mind leaving behind. For example taking an old, worn out pair of pjs and then just throwing them away at the end of the holiday. I normally take a book that I've planning to reread once before donating and if I finish whilst on holiday then I'll leave it wherever I'm staying. I've found that most hotels/hostels have a bookshelf where you can leave books for other guests.
5. Roll your clothes up to save space. I've found that rolling up clothes really makes them fit much easier. If you're taking another pair of shoes then I'd also recommend stuffing the shoes with small things like socks and underwear. I like to try and make sure that my bag is about halfway filled with clothes. This leaves me some space for things like my camera, liquids, a book etc and then a little bit of room for anything that I'd like to bring back with me. I'm a sucker for some touristy tat.
So those are my tips for packing light! I hope that if you're going anywhere soon that you have a lovely trip. Leave me any other tips you have in the comments!