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Pack Sustainable: 4 Easy Tips for Lightweight Travel

Does adding weight to an airplane require more fuel to keep it in the air? Yes, you're right.

One way to reduce our emissions is to travel without a comfortable checked-in bag and limit ourselves to the things we need when traveling.

For some, it may sound impossible, and several years ago, I thought the same. It's surprisingly easy and nowadays, I'm amazed how little I need.

In this blog post, I spit the secret of how I've been "surviving" months with just hand luggage and a backpack. Altogether, four tips that assist you in achieving the same goal of traveling sustainably.

Tables of Content:

Benefits of Sustainable and Lightweight Travel

What other advantages are there? I mean, besides saving carbon monoxide emissions.

Well, by traveling with carry-on luggage you can save weight (obviously), energy, money, and time. For crucial advantages, but let's have a closer look at all of them.

Saving Weight by Traveling Light

This is the most obvious one - I know. Nevertheless, you will save lots of weight to carry with you because the guidelines of every airline limit you in packing way too much weight. Most airlines prohibit packing more than eight kilos in carry-on luggage. It's a challenge to pack lightly, but besides minimizing your ecological footprint, it's easier to move around with a light backpack.

Saving Money by Traveling Light

Next, it saves you a ton of money. Especially, when you're traveling from one island to another and have to take short-distance flights. To fly with checked baggage adds up to the ticket price, depending on the country at least $20-40.

Saving Time by Traveling Light

It's comfortable to hand over your baggage at the counter and not think about its whereabouts until you arrive at your final destination. But how much time have you spent waiting for your luggage at the baggage carousel? A lot I'd say.

With carry-on luggage, you can head towards the exit straight away. No more waiting and you will save lots of time.

Saving Energy by Traveling Light

It was one of my biggest fears to arrive at a destination without my luggage and unfortunately, it happened twice that it was missing on the other side of the world.

It wasn't a great experience and I hope you never have to experience that. It's stressful, associated with many phone calls and email correspondence, and energy-consuming.

The solution to avoid that is by traveling with carry-on luggage.

Step 1: Choose Your Travel Outfit Wisely

Saving weight in your baggage will be the biggest challenge. It's crucial to save weight in every way you can. One way to save weight is by choosing your travel outfit wisely.

The non-negotiable rule for choosing your travel outfit is to wear your heaviest clothes while traveling by plane. I recommend bringing only one comfortable jumper with you for the whole trip and wearing it for your flight.

Underneath your jumper, you need to layer your clothes. In German, we call it the "Zwiebellook". The more you wear, the more weight you save (but keep it comfortable).

Step 2: Put the Heavy Things in Your Smaller Bags

On almost every flight, You are permitted to bring two bags into the aircraft: your hand luggage and another bag for your laptop and stuff.

One must fit in an airplane's overhead bin and meet the size and weight requirements. This is the one the company will weigh or measure size. The other bag must fit under the seat in front of you and is the bag which you should fill with all the heavy stuff (toiletries and electronic devices) because the regulations usually do not apply to this piece of luggage.

Sustainable and Light Travel

Step 3: Build a Capsule Wardrobe

You may have heard of the term 'capsule wardrobe' before, but for those who are unfamiliar with it, let me explain briefly:

“A capsule wardrobe contains a collection of pieces that goes with everything. Those pieces can be worn with everything and increase your number of outfits.”

Since 2021 I have been minimizing my belongings. I sorted out 85% of my possessions. Today, I own five cardboard boxes.

For me, reducing clothes was the hardest part, but I got rid of most of them by finding my style and building a capsule wardrobe. I don't wear colors and invest in timeless pieces instead of seasonal trends. I know, it's not for everyone but feel free to take my capsule wardrobe as an inspiration. 😊

The clothes above are the things I always bring with me and are my essentials. As you can see, I don't own bright colors and reduce the palette to a minimum.

👉🏽 It's not all the clothes I own! I still have more and don't consider calling myself a minimalist (I'm sure that I own more than 30 pieces) but the clothes displayed here are always traveling with me.

Step 4: Develop Awareness

I dare to say that most of us possess way too many things and nearly everyone has something that is rotting in a corner, waiting to be used. Our society is driven by consumption, and we constantly buy new things, and exchange gadgets, even though they're fully functional.

Being more aware of what I need is something I work on daily. I used to be materialistic and owned a lot more than I do now. I started with decluttering and reflecting on my consumption behavior, and that has helped me to travel with less.

I once read a quote that said:

If outside validation is your only source of nourishment you will hunger for the rest of your life.

And I can only confirm that. For this reason, whenever I buy something, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Can I afford it?

  • Is the item versatile? Can it be used for multiple purposes?

  • Am I up for it to exchange one item for the new one?

  • Is it high in quality? Will it have a long-lasting life?

  • Does it add value to me?


Ultimately, the decision to make a change rests with you. Regarding the environment and sustainability, I hope that I've provided you with some inspiring ideas, and perhaps you'll incorporate a few into your life.

I sincerely believe that our generation and those who come after us have the potential to transition toward a sustainable and greener future. Even the tiniest actions, such as minimizing luggage weight, can have a significant impact.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post!

I'd love to hear about your strategies for traveling as lightly as possible. Feel free to share in the comments!

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