Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack

Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack
Packing Light Tips | Ever wondered how you can fit multiple days worth of clothes in a teeny tiny backpack for a trip? Here I show you how I fit four days worth of clothing in one small backpack for a trip to a cold destination: Copenhagen. Here are my tips and tricks for traveling and packing as light as possible and conveniently. You'll want to pack light every time! How to Pack Light

Hey babes! As some of you may know, I recently went to beautiful Copenhagen and Malmö for a long weekend. For those of you who know me, you know I like packing light whenever I can! I don’t know what it is, but I hate paying AND waiting for a checked-bag. AND I get super anxious when putting a bag in the overhead compartment of a plane (yes, I know I’m weird!)

Anyway, every trip I’ve taken around Europe for the last year has been in a teeny tiny backpack gifted to me by my uncle. This backpack looks SUPER tiny, but it surprisingly holds A LOT more than you’d think. It even fits my 15″ macbook for school!

I decided to document how I packed for this four-day trip to cold Denmark (between 8°C and 12°C /47°F to 52°F), so you can see it’s totally doable.

So let’s get into it!

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Pick one or two pairs of shoes to start

This is your base. You need comfort (for walking) and maybe something that can be more dressed up/warm (depending on your plans). These two pairs should match with the clothes you pick.

I decided to go with:

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I must admit though…I also bought a pair of black Geox boots while I was abroad (oops!) Not because I needed them on that trip, but because it’s getting close to boot season and I finally found a pair I loved!

Then take neutrals that match

The best tip for packing light is to take clothes that match! And what matches better than neutral colors? I’m talking: black, grey, white, cream, navy green, navy blue, and maybe light blue and light pink.

The point is to pick bottoms and tops that can all be mixed and matched – depending on your mood, the weather, or the time of day.

For my four day trip I took:

  • Two bottoms
    • 1 pair of medium-wash jeans
    • 1 pair of black jeggingsPacking Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog
  • Four (and a half) tops
    • 2 thickish and warm sweaters (cream and navy blue)
    • 2 light sweater/shirts (grey and black)
    • 1 tank top
  • A light PJ set
  • A thick pair of fleece tights (great way to keep yourself warm!)
  • A navy green coat
  • Undergarments

All of the items I took were mix-and-matchable and work well together to make over 10 outfits!

Now for the carry-on

Since the bag I took is my carry-on, we have to talk about how to conveniently pack it all together.

Firstly, there’s that whole rule about taking small amounts of liquids and having them in a plastic bag. So make sure to pack all your necessary liquids in a clear ziplock.

Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog

Here’s what I took in one bag:

  • Deodorant
  • Face cream
  • Foundation
  • Face wash
  • Mascara (this counts as a liquid!)
  • Eyeliner
  • Contact lenses
  • Perfume samples (a GREAT way to take perfume — or even roll-on perfumes)
  • Travel-sized toothepaste

I fit this bag in one of the side pockets of my backpack. (If it can’t fit on a side pocket though, make sure to pack it last that way it is easily accessible during security check).

In another clear bag, I put a:

  • Toothebrush
  • Razor (yes, you can take razors on the plane!)
  • Eyeliner sharpener

I also took these items in my backpack. A:

  • Hair straightener
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair clip
  • Plug adapter
  • Glasses

And for my purse:

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  • Passport/ID
  • 2 debit/credit cards
  • Some cash
  • Sunglasses
  • Chapstick/Lipstick
  • A pen (always!)
  • Headphones (a must!)
  • Phone & charger

When packing, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” That way you can avoid overpacking and struggling.

Wear your heaviest items on the plane

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Here I took one of my thick sweaters, my jeggings, my timberlands and my coat. You may have to suffer a bit before getting to ™your destination, but trust me…once you’re there you’ll be happy to be prepared. AND planes tend to get cold, so it works out!

Now it’s time to pack it all up!

The method I use always seems to work for me (I even have to pack for my boyfriend sometimes!)

  1. I put my undergarments in little clear bags (undies in one, socks in another)Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog
  2. I put both bags of undergarments in separate shoes. Since I was wearing my boots, I put them in my converse.Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog
  3. Then I put my converse at the bottom of my backpack to set the foundation
  4. I then roll my tops as tightly as possible and place them in a row on top of my shoes
  5. I put my hairbrush and straightener on the side of my bag, sticking up.Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog
  6. Then I lay my jeans and PJs flat on top of my clothes (to create a flat layer)Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog
  7. Place the liquids in the side pocket (or on top of everything else)
  8. Close the bag and go!Packing Light Tips: Four Days in a Backpack | Bad with Directions | Blog

**Side Note: One thing I LOVE about this backpack (besides being able to hold a lot) is that it has a secret pocket in the back (perfect to hide important documents!)


Want to try packing light? Check Airbnb for a destination & go!

The pros of packing light:

  • You can carry everything in one go
  • Super easy to walk around a city or the airport
  • Cheaper since you don’t need to pay for checking in a bag or for a taxi driver to take it
  • Less time waiting around for your bag to get checked-in or to pick it up from the carousels
  • If anything affects your travels, you have everything you need with you
  • The chances of losing something decreases
  • It keeps your back warm when walking around cold and windy places

The cons of packing light:

  • It can get tiring to carry a backpack all day (but you can store it somewhere if you really need to)
  • It can feel bulky
  • Your clothes can get wrinkled
  • Your shoes maaay be a little deformed for a bit
  • By the end of your trip, everything kind of feels dirty (even if you didn’t use it)

If you feel like the pros outweigh the cons, then you should definitely try packing light for your next trip. It’s 100% doable and you’d be surprised how much you can fit in one little space.

Once you travel light, you might not want to travel any other way again!

How do you pack for a long-weekend?

2 Comments

  1. November 7, 2017 / 12:50 am

    Oh my goodness, Nicole! This post is so amazing and helpful. I admire you so much for doing this. I have been trying to be a minimalist, and in my recent travels have attempted to pack lighter. It is still a struggle for me though. I am saving this post for future reference! I love how you also included HOW you packed your bag. 🙂 Thanks so much!!

    Madison http://breakfastatmadisons.com

    • November 7, 2017 / 9:59 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post Madison! Yeah, it can be difficult to pack lighter, but once you do it, it’s like an addiction. Let me know how it goes the next time you travel somewhere 🙂 I LOVED Denmark btw! So jealous you get to live there!

I'd love to read your comments!