When Not to Pack Light for Your Trip: 7 Times You Can Skip the Rule

7 Moments When It’s Okay Not to Pack Light for a Trip

Embrace your baggage (not the emotional one, though).

Dear travellers, lend me your ears. A lot of times, when you’re planning a trip, the first place you tend to go to for advice is a travel blog or magazine. And of course, who can blame you? There’s a burgeoning need to follow a set of guidelines when it comes to travel, and the holy grail of advice touted by many seasoned travellers is to pack light.

They say packing light is convenient, it’s more organised, and it gives you more freedom. Most of these things are true. However, I’m here today to tell you that packing light is not an absolute rule, and you are allowed to be a rebel. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I do feel like we’ve got a rather overrated trend on our hands. So, let’s take a look at situations where you’re allowed (read: encouraged) to buck it!

Also read: A Guide to the Best Luggage and Backpack Brands for Every Traveller

When it’s okay not to pack light before your trip

1. You’re travelling with kids

when not to pack light

Image credit: Nadezhda1906 via Canva Pro

The idea of fitting everything you need into a small carry-on can seem enticing, but all of that goes out the window when you’re bringing the kids along. Depending on your destination, and the kind of clothing, toiletries, and additional items of interest that you’ll need for your children, there’s really no point in trying to pack light. 

After all, family vacations are all about making sure everyone has a good time. So, it’s important that your little ones (and you) have everything that’s needed. You’ll probably have to check in a good amount of luggage, but it’s better to have a little more than a little less in this case.

Of course, don’t go stuffing your suitcases to the breaking point either. There’s always a line waiting to be crossed, so ward off that temptation. Here’s a pro tip: Try using packing cubes in your suitcase to help you sort out everything that you need when travelling with kids. Even the largest amount of luggage can become navigable when it’s organised.

2. You’re travelling across different seasons

packing light

Image credit (L-R): efired; welcomia via Canva Pro

In the case of long-term travel, you might find yourself journeying across destinations with different climates. This is especially true if you’re going somewhere tropical first, and then moving on to a destination with a colder climate (or vice versa). Situations like these pretty much warrant two entirely different sets of wardrobes.

You’re not going to wear a ski vest in the Maldives, or a bikini in the Swiss Alps. Alternatively, you could be staying in the same country long enough to see the change of seasons. The clothes you’d wear in spring would not exactly be ideal come summertime, and so on. 

Being constrained by the “rules” of packing light and unable to prepare the right outfits for your long-term trip can be a real bummer down the line. Don’t be afraid to pack exactly what you need.

3. You need specific outfits or equipment

when not to pack light

Image credit: filadendron via Canva Pro

On many occasions, the contents of your suitcase or carry-on are determined by the type of adventures you’re planning to take on. Not every trip will have you traipsing about a modern city, where the most you’ll need to worry about is how fashionable you intend to look for the duration of your stay. 

You might end up hiking up a rugged mountain, skiing down a snowy slope, or snorkelling in ocean waters. For activities like these, you’ll need specific outfits and gear to ensure you’re able to enjoy them while still being comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the perfect pair of hiking boots, while also bringing along an elegant pair of loafers to wear out to dinner. 

Packing multiple outfits in a large suitcase doesn’t speak to vanity; it’s just another way to stay prepared and comfy so you can enjoy your travels. The next time you’re wondering when not to pack light, just take another look at the sort of activities you’ve got planned.

4. You can’t or won’t do laundry

Image credit: Jupiterimages via Canva Pro

Okay, this is a pretty touchy subject, but we’re going to talk about it anyway. There may be instances when you’re travelling that you’re unable to do any laundry. For example, if you’re staying somewhere remote that doesn’t give you access to any halfway decent laundry facilities.

On the other hand, you might just be the kind of person who simply doesn’t like doing laundry while you’re on vacation. And this is perfectly okay. This is a judgement-free zone. The truth is, you should always be comfortable and at ease while you travel.

If cycling through the same outfits and doing laundry outside the sanctuary of your own home bugs you, then don’t do it. Either of these instances are pretty good examples of when not to pack light, because you’ll always need a good supply of clean clothes. 

5. You prefer your own toiletries

when not to pack light

Image credit: Africa Images via Canva Pro

It’s no secret that hotels (and sometimes, Airbnbs) leave guests with a good supply of toiletries to sustain them during a stay. However, not everyone is comfortable with using the hotel soap and shampoo. You might prefer a certain brand of cleansing product because of allergies, or simply because it works better for you. 

There might be a specific sort of lotion you love to bring while travelling, a conditioner that works best for your hair, and a dozen other reasons why you deserve to have a preference when it comes to toiletries. So, take them all with you!

Of course, if you find yourself backed into a corner and there’s no other alternative except packing light, you can always transfer your own toiletries in travel-size containers. Choosing to add these essentials to your luggage (instead of insisting on packing light) is a guilt-free decision that shouldn’t bother you in the slightest.

Also read: These Are the Worst Things Hotel Guests Do That Drive the Staff Crazy

When not to pack light during your trip

6. You’re a souvenir hunter

packing light

Image credit: VSanandhakrishna via Canva Pro

Memories. They’re one of the best parts about travelling, and no one can take them away from you. Of course, you can also take travel memories home through souvenirs. Most people tend to go for the simple stuff like keychains, clothes, and various other merchandise. But if you’re a genuine souvenir hunter, then you’ll recognise the need for more space in your suitcase.

After all, do you really want to lose the opportunity to bring home a Venetian mask, a set of Russian Matryoshka dolls, a Japanese fan, or a chunk of the Berlin Wall? These souvenirs are as unique as the chances that come along for you to bring them home. So, if you’re wondering when not to pack light for your next trip, consider the types of souvenirs or keepsakes that you’re planning to bring home.

Also read: 30 Europe Souvenirs to Bring Home from Your Next Adventure

7. You plan to shop ’til you drop

when not to pack light

Image credit: Csondy via Canva Pro

Speaking of souvenir hunting, another occasion when it’s okay not to pack light before going home is if you plan to do tons of shopping! For many travellers, shopping sprees end up being a big part of the itinerary. Certain products are unfortunately exclusive to their native land — like an Australian didgeridoo, or a Malaysian congkak board. The only way to bring them back with you is to buy what you can, when you can. 

Besides that, you might just come across a set of great deals that you can’t ignore. In any case, it helps to have a sizable amount of luggage space to store all the goodies you intend to purchase.

Also read: 10 Coolest Shopping Malls Around the World Worth Travelling For

It’s not a sin to stray away from the current trend of packing light, because as you can see, there are plenty of situations that warrant it. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about packing light, it’s about packing right. Every trip is different, and so is every traveller. When you go with the packing rules that work for you, it’s impossible to go wrong. Good luck!

Featured image credit: photobyphotoboy via Canva Pro

Facebook image credit (L-R): Hirurg; pixelshot via Canva Pro

About Author

Jeremiah Patrick
Jeremiah Patrick

A journeyman wordsmith wandering the creative lexicon, looking to craft a masterpiece. The only thing on par with Jerry’s love for a good story is the time he spends playing dauntingly difficult video games, reading works of fiction, and listening to horror podcasts. His mood shifts between dark brooding and cheery quips, depending on how much caffeine swirls in his system.


Related Posts