How to pack when you are not a backpacker?

Hi All!

I have to admit this topic is a nightmare to me everytime before  a trip. I’d be like ‘Which outfit will I be wearing and need to bring?’ ‘ Which footwear is necessary?’ Which handbag or backpack do I need to bring that matches with my outfit?’ ‘What make up set do I need?’

Nope I have not successfully pack light during anyyy of my trips! I tried, I swear I did, I even look up on the web to see what do I need to bring to travel light, but I have gotten so stressed because I feel like there is not enough stuff in the bag to be me during the trip!

Yes this is not your typical how to travel light post but more on how to pack your bag with your gazillion items that you feel like you need to bring and how to talk sense to yourself to filter your items when it goes overboard!

So what do I do first?

My usual loyal trios!

Usually I have this list of ‘must bring’ in my phone that I created so I won’t forget my basic or necessary items before i start packing in my ‘other  stuffs'( which I have to reason with myself everytime on how many of them do I need to bring and whether I reallyyy need to bring it on the trip or not.)

My ‘must bring’ list looks like this:

  • Passport
  • Handphone
  • Camera
  • Flight ticket and itinerary
  • Emergency phone number including embassy’s phone number
  • Power banks – I can’t live without these especially when I travel solo!
  • Adapter – though I have repeatedly forget about them most of them time and had to get them everytime in the airport when I realize it is not there in my bag!
  • Wet tissue cause I will definitely need them in toilets without the hose!
  • A pen to use to write immigration forms on planes
  • Sim card adapter / Sim card release pin
  • Camera chargers, Phone chargers and every other charges
  • A good noise cancellation  headphone to watch movies like in a cinema especially on  14 hour flights
  • Update your music list!
  • Cash/Cards/ Call the bank to inform you are going overseas
  • Download Maps on the phone
  • Address for accommodation and hotel booking number if any
  • Train or tube map / Taxi contact number
  • My Basic make up set : foundation,contour set,my usual basic brush,brown eyeliner,makeup remover and cotton ( Will create another blog post on what on earth do I define as a basic make up set since to be honest that is not justifying how much I actually bring everytime as basic!)
  • Sleepwear
  • My teddy bear! (yes I have a teddy bear that I sleep with everytime! :))


My ‘other stuffs’  list or what I like to call ‘the dilemma list’ :

  • How many  basic shirts do I need to bring and do I need short sleeves or long sleeves?
  • Do i need a dress there?
  • How many undergarments do I need to bring?
  • Do I need other pants other than jeans?
  • Do I need my swimwear and floaters?
  • Do I need my gymwear?
  • Which eyeshadow palette to bring?
  • Which footwear do I need? Slipper ,sports Shoes,flats, High heels?
  • Do I need to bring a small towel if the accommodation doesn’t provide them?
  • Will I get bored and need my Ipad during waiting in airports and transits?
  • Which shades do I need to bring?
  • Do I need to bring a backpack, big handbag, cross body handbag or a clutch?
  • Do I need my fold-able umbrella?
  • Do I need to bring my camera stand?
  • If it’s a cold climate which jacket do I need to bring? Long,short, leather,padded?
  • Do I need my boots? (for cold climate areas)
  • Do I need to bring my shampoo, conditioner, body wash and facial wash?
  •  Hair dryer! (because I am fussy on getting volume hair to look good in photos!)


My filtering reasoning:

Looking at that longggg list of ‘other stuffs’ I know it will definitely max out the space in my bag.So these are a couple of questions that I will need to ask myself everytime to get rid of things! :

  • Is this item comfortable to wear? – it not put it back!
  • Can I match it with the other outfit? – if it gonna be super clashing with anything and looks like a circus wear put it back!
  • Is it going to rain all the time there? If yes put back those heels,open flats and swimwear!
  • Is there a washing machine available? – if yes reduce all the basics!
  • Am I go to go outdoors more than indoors? – If yes backpack and cross body only!
  • Is this a leisure trip or work trip? – If it is a leisure trip put back those gym clothes! very sure would be out most of the time  doing other form of ‘work out’ i.e. walks and climbs while in temples or malls! thus no time for gym!
  • Am I going to buy a new outfits when I am there? -if yes bring only 1 or 2 set of outfit! This is the most crucial conversation I need to have with myself because I will be torn between the thoughts of ‘What If I don’t like what I find in the shop? ‘ What if they don’t have my size?’ against ‘ what if I don’t have enough luggage space when I buy new outfit and only wear those and not even touch any the outfit that I have brought!(which happens 90% of the time)’

How to fit all of these in the bag

After trying to reason with myself the next thing to think about is how to fit the items in the bag?

  • Use travel organizer compartment bags ! These small lil bags in the luggage has been one of the greatest invention to pack things with less hassle! I pack my clothes in them, my make up in them,shoes and even my toiletries! ecosusi-3pcs-Packing-Cubes-Double-Compartments-Men-s-Travel-Bags-For-Packing-Clothes-Underwear-Storage-Bag
  • Roll your clothes! Rolling your clothes saves space! and it makes the outfit wrinkle free too most of the time!
  • Buy those lil small toiletries bottles! (or just don’t even bother bringing toiletries if they are easily available in your destination)
  • Make use of your hand luggage space for non-liquid items!
  • The last resort: Get someone who travel lights to go with you so maybe they can help with luggage space!

These are probably a couple of tips on how to pack when you are not the backpacking type like me! Hope these helps and safe travels on your next trip! 🙂

I still wonder how do people fit everything they need into that small lil backpack and go all around the world! there must be a secret compartment in there that I don’t know of!

The featured picture was taken during my trip to the ‘island of the Gods’ i.e. Bali! This is the cliff view from Uluwatu temple. Love the mesmerizing view from the temple and it was amazing as well to watch the sunset from here! Will take you to Bali  in my next couple of post! I personally love this island so much that I have gone there quite frequent too! Looking forward to another trip to this peaceful and serene island and will share with everyone of tips of what to do there and maybe what not to do and how to get around!


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