Overpacking is a heavy burden: in one recent survey, 90% of women admitted that they don’t wear all the clothes they bring with them on vacation. A minimalist approach to packing is key for cutting down excess baggage on your trip while ensuring that everything you brought gets put to good use. In effect, you want to bring items that fit a wide range of needs. Stripping your wardrobe down to its essentials will eliminate excess baggage, leaving you better equipped to enjoy your vacation.

Backpacking dos and don’ts

Although backpacks were traditionally used for hiking trips, many vacationers prefer backpacks to conventional suitcases as they reduce the amount of baggage on your trip. When choosing a travel backpack, look for one that sits lower on your back so that the weight of your luggage doesn’t rest squarely on your shoulders. Bring warm, thick layers that can be shed easily when the temperature changes.  Since most backpackers wear and re-wear clothes, it’s a good idea to bring a small bottle of handwash detergent so that you can wash the essentials in a sink and hang them to dry overnight.

Prep For Luxury

For upscale travel destinations, one useful rule to remember when packing is to coordinate your clothing based on color. Sticking to a palette of muted colors (black, navy, grey) or warm, earthy tones is a good idea for matching various staple pieces. Keep jewelry to a minimum and pack pieces you know will work for a range of occasions. For upscale or award-winning travel destinations, you’ll want to bring at least one elegant wardrobe item (e.g., a little black dress or shirt and tie) to prepare for fine dining.

Look For Products That Do More

Pack multi-purpose products that can serve a variety of uses on your trip. Coconut oil, for instance, can function as a body moisturizer, makeup remover, conditioning treatment and a number of other purposes. For international travel, a multi-pronged travel adapter is a good option to stay plugged in throughout different voltage systems. When traveling, keep the absolute essentials (e.g., passport, money, phone, toothbrush) in a small carry-on bag that you can readily access. Stick the rest of your clothing in a second travel bag: a good way to pack light is to opt for a smaller travel suitcase so you’re forced to bring fewer things.

Finally, when embracing a minimalist packing attitude, consider the items you didn’t wear or use on your last vacation. Peeling off the excess baggage will save you: not only in baggage fees, but in reducing the added burden of lugging heavy suitcases throughout your exciting destination.