How to Pack Light for Any Trip (Promise!)

Woman packing suitcase

Practice makes perfect—especially when it comes to packing light. We don’t know about you, but packing efficiently can feel like a herculean feat. It’s easy to start with a few shirts and shoes in your suitcase…and then you pack an umbrella, a poncho, an extra sweater pair of pants. You know, just in case.


Wondering how to pack light? Never fear! Read our packing tips below. Whether you’re taking an overnight trip, traveling for a long weekend, going on a business trip or heading on a big vacation, you’ll be a packing pro in no time.


Go compact

Once you go for a compact carry-on rolling suitcase or backpack, you’ll never go back. Seasoned travelers swear by only bringing a carry-on. Depending on how you travel, this can save you from baggage fees and long lines—as well as preventing you from lugging around more than you need.


When you bring a tote, a carry-on and a suitcase, overpacking is likely because you have the extra space. Going for a compact suitcase doesn’t mean that you’ll only have one outfit for the entire trip. You may be surprised at what you’re able to fit in a carry-on if you pack smart!


FYI: If you’re riding Brightline, you get 2 carry-on bags free per ticketed guest. For more info on our carry-on policy, check out our FAQs.


Versatility is key

Pack a versatile wardrobe. Choose clothes that coordinate, have multiple purposes and can be dressed up or down. Black blazers, denim jackets or neutral slacks all fit the bill. You can add personality with shoes, jewelry, watches or even colorful socks.


Before you start filling up your suitcase, lay out what you want to bring and evaluate your choices. Make sure you can imagine yourself wearing each piece on your trip. Do any items wrinkle easily or stray from your color scheme? Leave them behind! They’ll be waiting for you when you get home.


Pack smart

There are so many packing philosophies on how to pack light. We’ve compiled some of our favorite ways to save space.


  • Tightly roll items that won’t wrinkle like pajamas, workout clothes and underwear.
  • Fold dress shirts, jackets and blazers vertically and roll loosely to minimize wrinkles.
  • Turn your suit jackets inside out and wrap them around soft items to prevent creases.
  • Put heavier items like shoes on the bottom of the suitcase near the wheels. Placing the most weight in this location will make it easier to roll your suitcase around.
  • Put small items like socks and belts inside your shoes to maximize space.
  • Wear your bulkiest shoes during travel so you don’t have to bother packing them.
  • Save those disposable hotel shower caps and place them on the bottom of your shoes to keep other items in your suitcase clean.
  • Try packing cubes. They prevent wrinkles and organize your outfits, which comes in handy for longer trips.


Be thoughtful with your toiletries

Once you’ve mastered your wardrobe, it’s time to tackle your toiletries. If you’re a frequent traveler, keep a bag with mini bottles of toiletries ready to go. That way, you won’t have to put it together every time you pack. Simply refill your reusable bottles and you’re ready to go.


Be sure to take precautions with your liquids. Keep them in a separate bag to prevent leaks. If you want to keep your clothes extra-safe, you can secure your liquids by putting plastic tape over the lid to prevent them from popping open


And remember: Don’t feel like you have to bring along your entire medicine cabinet! Many hotels provide essentials like soap, shampoo and hair dryers.


Bon voyage!

Once you’re all packed, relax and enjoy your trip. If you forgot a t-shirt or zip up, that’s simply an opportunity to pick up a souvenir.


When you return home and unpack, take note of what you didn’t use. You might be able to leave it behind next time.


Ready to put your packing skills to the test? Book a ride with Brightline.

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