Traveling is one of the most important and marvelous experiences you can give yourself, but lugging around your four-piece luggage through airports, shuttles, and buses is definitely one of its least enjoyed parts. Not to mention the fact that the more luggage you have, the higher the travel expenses you’ll need to pay for them.

That’s why so many people nowadays are dedicated to mastering the art of “packing light.” Knowing the tricks and tips on packing everything you need in a carry-on or even a mini backpack will make your life and travels easier. If you’re prepping for a trip and want to try your hand at optimizing your packing, here’s some advice on how to travel light and right with a mini backpack.

Why travel with a mini backpack?

If you have a tendency to pack a full-size suitcase for a quick 5-day trip to have things “just in case,” using a mini backpack may seem like mission impossible at first. However, with a bit of patience and preparation, a small backpack can go a long way, especially if you’re going on a short jaunt. If you’re yet to find a backpack that works best for you, there’s no shortage of mini day pack choices out there that you can choose from.

Do this right, and you don’t have to worry about meandering through crowds with your luggage or juggling several different things in your hands as you shuffle through the airport. That’s the beauty of a mini backpack: everything is compact, and if you organize your packing, everything will also be easily reachable. Plus, there are no additional baggage fees you have to pay, and your light packing makes the trip more environmentally friendly. It’s a win-win-win situation.

Packing Tips for Organizing Your Mini Backpack

A Packing List Is Your Foundation

One of the first mistakes we make when preparing for a trip is overpacking. The “just in case” mentality won’t serve you well when you’re optimizing your packing, so the best starting point is writing a list. 

Check the weather at the destination you’ll be at and organize accordingly. If you need to take winter clothes or clunky boots with you, the best option is to wear them when you travel. That will save you loads of space and keep you warm when you arrive at your destination.

Maybe you’re struggling to prioritize what to bring, but you can find checklists online that wil help you know exactly what to bring. Now that you’ve got your list, you can proceed to get the clothes out of your closet without succumbing to the call of the “just in case” mentality.

Versatile Clothing Is a Lifesaver

We can’t stress this enough – the DNA of light packing is planning your outfits. If you can make 3-4 combinations with only several pieces of clothing, you’ll save a lot of time and hassle when picking and packing your clothes. If you’re not used to doing this, it may be tricky initially, but it will become second nature after a few times.

Make Every Inch Count

Since you’re working with a small backpack, you want to be sure you’ve used up every single inch of space. If you’re packing shoes, roll your underwear and socks and fill your shoes with them; it will save loads of space from the get-go.

Seasoned travelers swear by rolling their clothes before packing them because they take up less space that way. The bonus is that if you roll carefully, the clothes will get less wrinkly, which is a godsend when you’re stuck somewhere without an iron. You can also try using packing cubes, which allow you to sort your things (t-shirts, pants, toiletries, beachwear, etc.) and fit more clothes into a smaller space.

Cosmetics Conundrum

This is a tricky one, especially for women. We’ve all got our skin routines and hair care routines that usually require their share of bulky cosmetics, but if you’re packing lightly, try and go back to basics. 

The most important thing to consider is getting your toiletries in travel sizes or having travel-sized containers into which you can put all the products you need. Some people have no problem using hotel toiletries, but if you have sensitive skin, this may not be an option for you. Remember that all your cosmetics will be coming to the plane with you, so pack them in a ziplock bag, and you don’t have to worry about your lotions and potions ending up all over your backpack. 

Your Essentials Should Always Be on Hand

Even when you’re traveling with a small backpack, things can get miraculously lost, especially when you need them the most. That’s why it’s crucial to pack all your most important things on top of everything else. 

This means your passport, airline tickets, boarding passes, and visas should be easy to find and get when you need them. Then you’ve got your wallet, phone, earphones, and an external battery that should also be close by during your flight, and maybe even some light snacks. And you’re ready to go!


Packing lightly may seem intimidating at first, but practice makes perfect. If you challenge yourself to travel only with a backpack, the more you do it, the easier and faster the packing will become. Then, you get to enjoy your trips without having to worry about piling expenses, lost baggage, and wrestling suitcases into submission. Give it a try, it will be worth it!