As exciting as planning a trip can be, many people don’t love the idea of packing. There are people for whom packing is merely throwing a few items in a bag at the last minute and rush off to catch their taxi to the airport. In reality, packing can be a real chore. It is often time spent deciding which of your favorite pairs of jeans to bring, episodes of unpacking and repacking, which usually ends with someone sitting on a suitcase, so you can squeeze in that neck pillow. And instead of enjoying the breathtaking views and fresh air of a mountain hike or the sun and surf at an island resort, you find yourself dragging a giant suitcase behind you on a sandy beach or rocky trail.

Like most things in life, packing is an art. We’re here to show you can skillfully downsize your luggage, so you can jet off to whichever destination a few pounds lighter.

Start with a small bag

When shopping for luggage, pass over oversized suitcases, as these will likely tempt you to drag your entire wardrobe with you. Rather opt for a carry-on bag or a smaller hard-sized suitcase that will prevent you from cramming in nice to haves. Your options will be limited, and you will have no other choice than to pack only the essentials.

Wear your heaviest clothing

It’s easier to pack light during the summer when you’ll mostly need clothing made from weightless fabric such as T-shirts, shorts and dresses. However, when travelling during the winter months on a cold evening, wear your heaviest clothing like jackets and trousers, and layer up if possible.

Pack travel friendly toiletries

The best way to travel with your beauty and skincare essentials is to buy the the mini-me versions of your favorite products. For example, soap facial cleansers and sunscreen packets are much more convenient to carry around than their bottled counterparts and will prevent spills in your bag. Also, look for multi-use products such as two-in-one shampoo and conditioners, and hair and body wash.

Be selective about technology

Technology can add quite a few pounds to your baggage weight and should therefore require some consideration. Do you really need a selfie stick when you can ask someone to take a snap of you? Is it necessary to bring your Canon when your smartphone can take just as good quality photos? Why do I need a laptop when my tablet can serve the same function?

Leave at home the things you can find at a hotel

Chargers, towels, bathrobes, soap, hair dryer, razors – most hotels offer some nifty freebies to guests so, if possible, call your hotel ahead and enquire which items come complimentary to your stay. Then ditch the stuff you don’t really need to pack.

Of course, no two travelers are the same and your packing really depends on where you’re going, how long you will stay, the weather and the type of activities you’ll be partaking in, however, these tips should get you started as a more effective packer.