Excitement is building here for our trip to Ethiopia. It’s only a week away! I’ve been working on a packing list, and thinking about how to pack as lightly as possible while still being prepared for what is forecasted as a LOT of rain. We are also going to be traveling to several different places in Ethiopia, and the last thing we want to do is pack so much that it is miserable trying to schlepp our bags from place to place.
We are aiming to have three large bags total for the five of us, along with one small backpack for each person. We’ll see how it goes! Here are some of the best tips I’ve discovered and collected over years of traveling to various places that I am planning to use as we pack for 16 days away from home.
1. Start by making your wardrobe selections within a limited number of colors, so that as many items as possible can be mixed and matched. If a particular item cannot be worn with more than two other things, don’t bring it. This time around I’m doing lots of navy and black, with a few items that are pink, blue, or green to liven things up a bit. I’m also packing several scarves that can be used for a little color with all the dark clothing I’m packing. (This gal’s list is a great example of this concept.)
2. Compress as much as possible when packing. I’ve found that rolling clothes up is a great way to fit more into less space. It also allows you to more easily see everything that you’ve packed, since clothes aren’t stacked.
3. Divide and conquer. Another way to keep your bags organized on a trip is to sort clothing by type and organize each type into smaller bags.
This time around I ALMOST sprang for ebags, shown on the right. But when I priced out those adorable bags for the FIVE of us, I decided to go with my old stand-by–zip loc bags, which have worked great for me on previous trips. Three dozen 2-gallon bags cost a mere $15, much more within my budget, especially considering that five of us are going on this trip.
I labeled the bags by type and by suggested quantity to create an effortless packing list for my two younger girls. For example, one bag says ‘3 pair pants’, another is labeled ‘6 short-sleeve shirts’.
4. Pack only what you love, and pack less than you think you’ll need. Most likely you can decrease the number of items packed by 20% without running short on a trip. And one of the ways you can decrease the amount of luggage you bring is by being willing to wash once or twice during the trip. Lightweight items wash and dry best– wring them out well after washing them in the sink. For even quicker drying, roll wet items in a dry towel and walk on the rolled towel for a minute or so to squeeze as much of the water into the towel and out of the clothes before hanging them up. You may even want to bring string and a few clothespins for hanging items. Or hang things on hangers on the shower rod.
What do you do to pack light on trips? I’d love to hear your ideas too!
Some of our previous trips: