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How to pack efficiently for long-term travel

Team AckoApr 18, 2023

Long-term travel is a dream for many and a reality for some. But in order to make that extended travel more enjoyable, it’s important to be efficient in your packing. With resources such as luggage sizes, weight allotments, and weather concerns, the whole process can be a bit overwhelming. Knowing how to pack efficiently can make all the difference in your travels.

A good foundation for packing efficiently is first understanding what you’ll need on your travels. It’s important to be mindful of the climate, what activities you’ll be engaging in, and, of course, the size and weight of all your items. Once those main points are accounted for, you can really narrow down items that are absolute necessities and make the process of packing a bit more seamless.




1. Assess Your Trip Length and Setting

The first step to packing efficiently for a long-term trip is knowing what you’re getting into. Assess the length and setting of your adventure, consider any events you’ll be attending, and figure out if there’s any restrictions with certain airlines that might limit your packing list.

The length of your trip is important because, the longer you’ll be gone, the more items you’ll inevitably need. Items you might want to consider that are dependent on your travel length are extra items of clothing and specific items necessary in case of emergencies.

When assessing the setting of your trip, consider the climate and environment of where you’ll be staying. Is it a resort where dressier items are necessary, or a cabin ready for rain and cold weather? It’s important to think of any activities you’ll be engaging in and what clothes are required, as well as making sure you have proper footgear.

2. Create a List

It’s important to create a thorough packing list before you dive into physically packing. Having an overview of what you need is important to reminding yourself of all items needed, and will help prevent overpacking. This list should include a wide variety of items, from clothing to beauty products and everything in between.

Start by writing down all items that are an absolute necessity for your travels, then include items that you’d like to bring but aren’t absolutely necessary. It’s important not to fall into the “what-ifs” and overpack items that you’re not completely sure you’ll need. Refining your list will also help with the physical process of packing, as you’ll be able to fit more items with a smaller suitcase.

3. Refine Your Clothing List

A key piece in packing efficiently is knowing what to wear while on your travels. It’s important to make sure you’ll be comfortable and ready for any events taking place, but also pack items that you can mix and match that don’t take up a lot of space.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure to pack items for any activities you’ll be attending. If you’re essentially living in one place for a long period of time, laundry and washing items is a better option than packing for multiple weeks.

In terms of mix and match items, neutrals are important to consider when packing clothing. Neutral colored items are easily paired and take up less space than clothing that only matches with one item. Lighter-colored items are important to bring, as they reflect off the sun and tend to not show dirt as easily, considering you’ll be wearing clothes multiple times.

When it comes to casual wear, look for multipurpose items. Consider bringing items such as a long-sleeve shirt that you can repurpose as a swim cover-up, or a dressy skirt that could double as a casual skirt, too. It’s also important to remember to pack accessories to really switch up your looks.

4. Choose The Right Luggage

Another important detail to consider when packing efficiently is the luggage you’ll choose. The size and weight of your items is dependent on the luggage you bring with you. There are basically two types of luggage: rolling luggage and backpacks.

Rolling luggage consists of more hard-shell suitcases. These are your traditional, more polished-looking suitcases and are necessary in case of more formal occasions. Rolling luggage is also great for carrying with you as you travel via airplane, as you can easily wheel them through the airport, taking away any extra lifting or carrying.

On the other hand, backpacks are lighter and more ideal for camping trips, extreme sports, and long hikes. Backpacks are undeniably heavier than rolling luggage but can be easier to carry through car trips or other transportation travels. Keep in mind that some vehicles only accept smaller backpacks or bags, as any larger bags are considered additional luggage.

5. Consider Weight Limitations and Shampoo & Soap Alternatives

When it comes to packing efficiently, you’ll want to consider the weight of your items. Packing more items than the weight restrictions allotted by your airline is a good way to end up paying more money—money that could be used while on your actual trip. It’s key to check the weight limits of your airline to make sure you’re not exceeding them, saving you extra money while on your trip.

Another way to save money is by not going over board with the amenities. When it comes to toiletries, consider bringing items such as bar soap, shampoo bars, and travel sized containers that are TSA approved. These items can be used long-term and are a good way to save space for items that you truly need.


Packing efficiently for a long-term trip can be a challenge, but by following these five steps, you can make sure that your packing list is realistic and practical. Being mindful of the climate, setting, and airline regulations are important factors to consider in the process of packing. Lastly, remember to consider the weight allotment provided by your airline, and to be creative with the amenities you decide to bring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find below the responses to the questions about packing efficiently for long-term travel.


How do I know what size luggage to get?

Luggage sizes are based on the number of items and weight ratio of your items. Make sure to assess your items beforehand in order to choose the right size. This can also save you money as some airlines may only allow specific sizes.

Are backpacks better than rolling luggage?

Backpacks and rolling luggage both serve different purposes. Rolling luggage is better for airplane transportation, whereas backpacks are more ideal for car rides, camping trips, and long hikes.

What accessories should I bring with me?

Accessories are really key when it comes to making outfits stand out. Consider bringing a few pairs of jewelry and pairs of shoes to really change up your looks for whatever the occasion.


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