Travel: The best tips for packing light

Our tips for better, smarter travel

Jennifer and Stephen Bailey, Cursor & Thread
They’re making old-timey sartorialism casual-chic again, with dandy button-on suspenders and ties, scarves and pocket squares in cool fabrics, from linen to Japanese cotton. This Vancouver couple travel stylishly, efficiently and carry-on-only when visiting their stockists, from Regina to Reykjavik.

Jen favours packing cubes and lightweight totes from Muji, and rocks cotton bandanas. “They add some personality and style to casual T-shirts and are a lifesaver if the weather changes,” she says, adding, “folded bandit-style, they provide great sun protection; and rolled up and tied around the neck, they block wind and keep me warm.” Wellness-boosting ginger chews, kale chips, zinc lozenges and sachets of electrolyte powder make the cut, but running shoes don’t. She schedules yoga or another footloose fitness class, as it’s “one less pair of shoes to pack.”

Stephen recommends the earliest online check-in to snag upgrade deals, like a mere $200 he once paid to stretch out on a business-class flat bed for nine hours. On lengthy economy flights, he pre-orders the vegan meal. “It’s probably better for me, but it also comes first, which is lovely.” He also tries to stand up for about five minutes per flight hour to stay limber. “On a long flight, that will usually mean two or three 15-minute galley stands,” Stephen explains. “Bring your phone or a book.”


The secret to packing for extended trips is to bring just enough for a long weekend (and wash clothes along the way). Sure, you can pay hotel laundry charges—or let the Flexo-Line clothesline make any room a laundry. Manufactured in Burnaby, the 75-year-old travel classic has an ingenious stretchy, braided design so it hangs just about anywhere, makes clothespins obsolete and can hold up to 4.5 kilograms of sink-washed essentials (at TravelSmarts stores or  

A travel steamer, like PurSteam, saves fussing with awkward hotel-room ironing rigs. This tiny powerhouse is worth its suitcase-space in gold for quick fixes on everything from delicate silks to creased cottons.


If liquid-and-gel limits threaten your carry-on plans, there are dry alternatives: La Fresh makes everything from sunscreen to insect repellent, fragrance and antiperspirant in single-use wipe packets. Brands like Lush offer toothpaste powder or pellets and shampoo bars.

There’s no greater multi-tasking product than a travel-size container of virgin coconut oil. It’s a face and body moisturizer, and even a makeup remover—plus, you can brush your teeth with it (really!).


Protect your clothes from packed shoes with hospital-style shoe covers: shower caps work in a pinch!