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30 Days to Packing a Better Bag – Day 1: Packing Better, What Does It Mean?

Welcome to Day 1 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag! We’re excited to get into the hard packing tips, but before we can get there, we have to do a little setting of the mood. The first several days are going to be about planning in advance because planning leads to a better packer and to a better traveler overall.

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How you pack now.
Does this look familiar? Are you constantly overpacking and still coming out underprepared? We can help.

The goal of our 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag project is to help you become the packing master that you’ve always wanted to be. Do you often look at people with their teeny tiny bags, breezing in and out of the airplane or public transport without a hitch and think, “Why can’t that be me?”

Dream no longer, friends! Becoming the packer you always wanted doesn’t happen overnight; it takes practice and planning, and a little help from Her Packing List. So while we might not being able to flip the switch immediately, with our guide, we’re going to transform you in just 30 short days.

How you want to pack.
It’s achievable. Trust us!

Packing Better: What Does It Mean?

Packing better means packing smaller, lighter and smarter. Smarter here is the key. What good is a carry-on only bag if you don’t have the proper clothing for cooler weather, or the proper accessories for a big hike? We’re not here to tell you that you need to travel with only a carry-on, but we are here to keep you from going overboard.

After all, traveling with too much “stuff” can lead to dramas at check-in… and very expensive ones if you aren’t prepared.

However, packing better is not just about airline restrictions or proving to others that you can manage living without the chain of things. It’s also about being in control on the road. As a woman, especially if we travel solo, we need to be self-reliant; that can’t be done very well if we can’t lift our own suitcase onto the train or up the stairs. It’s like being tied down in a situation that should make us feel free.

female travel manifestoAlong the same lines, packing smarter allows the traveling female the ability to better manage belongings on the road. That means fewer lost items when moving around, and hopefully fewer chances for sticky fingers to take advantage. Why? Because you have a smaller, lighter and better packed bag. It’s easier to keep tabs on when… you need to drop by the restroom, for example. Think about it: You can’t cart a giant suitcase into the stall with you.

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you on this journey.

day 1: define what packing better means to you

Take Action: What Does Packing Better Mean to You?
Define what packing better means to you. What is the biggest benefit to yourself for packing better? Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

Add your voice & leave a comment!

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Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

Creative Ways to Minimize Your Toiletry & Beauty Kit – Practical tips alongside DIY recipes designed to help you pack lighter, smaller & with fewer liquids. (Also included as a bonus to Handbag Packing Masterclass.)

Book Your Trip

Viator – Enhance your trip experience by booking from thousands of tours across the globe. – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sarah says

    Backing better to me means not having to rely on a large second “personal bag.” When my purse is stuffed to the brim with another 10 pounds of stuff, I can’t really achieve being completely self-reliant.

  2. ZA @ The Girl Who Cry Wolf says

    Em… I pretty much managed to pack my clothes. It’s the toiletries that I’m having trouble with. Usually the toiletries is the heavier load, despite keeping to the 100ml limit. I certainly need help. Looking forward to this series for sure. Cheers!

  3. Alli says

    Hi! I came across your blog a few weeks ago and am now a regular reader. I love the very relatable and unique travel tips! I totally agree with the idea that packing better gives you more freedom while traveling. To me, packing better definitely means packing lighter! I live in a city with no escalators in the subway stations, so lugging around a large suitcase while getting to and from the airport is always a struggle.

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series! πŸ™‚

  4. Tiera says

    Looking forward to the series! To me, packing better means streamlining my packing list to the essentials and organizing them in order to make the most of my space.

  5. jessicognto says

    I’ll admit it – I’m a worrier.
    “What if I need [insert obscure random item here]?!”

    I definitely need to pack smarter.

    • Arianna says

      I totally agree! I’m a worrier as well with general anxiety to boot… This guide will definitely help me pack better and worry free πŸ™‚

      Packing better to me means being prepared for every situation, but still packing the right amount. It’s not about packing everything you THINK you need. To pack better you should pack what you ACTUALLY need. Then you won’t worry so much about what you’re packing. You’ll feel confident you have the right stuff and the right amount.

  6. Lori says

    For me, (besides all of the above) it is good to find a bag that is built for a 5’2″ person to lift rather than a 6′ tall person. This either means a shorter bag or a handle along the short edge so lifting it does not mean my hand it up to my ear to get the bag off of the ground!

  7. Lindalicious says

    I am an adventure seeker; I go where the fun is. I have a basic plan in mind, but I always seek out a local adventure. I pack for those “what ifs”, which means I always over pack. What if I find a great local dance club? What if I take an art class? What if I go surfing?
    So, to me, eliminating the extra “what if” clutter and learning to improvise & make do with what I already have is what I’d like to do.


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