When it comes to packing for a trip do you get your suitcase ready a week ahead or do you scramble at the last minute? Perhaps your packing time falls somewhere in between. One thing is for sure, whenever you pack for that trip, it always seems like you pack too much. That can lead to charges for overweight bags or even a second bag.

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel light? You can when you follow these tips:

Cut It in Half

To make a true dent in what you’re packing you should lay out everything that you’re considering to go into the suitcase. Then simply reduce those items by half. That sounds radical but remember the goal and think ahead on your trip. BTW, when it comes to the money you plan on bringing, instead of cutting that in half you should double it.

Opt For Plain Clothes

When packing you want to keep things simple. Obviously, if there is a special night as part of your trip, then you want to pack that special outfit. As for everything else, you can reduce items by keeping your choices simple and plain. For instance, 3 pairs of pants and 3 shirts can be mixed and matched into 9 different outfits. That works when the colors for those pieces are neutral.

Pack Layers, Not Bulk

If you are heading into a cold-weather environment, then you’ll want to wear your winter coat on the plane. As for your suitcase, you should pack for layers and not bulk. Those big sweaters might keep you warm but they’re going to take up a lot of space. Instead, pack long-sleeved shirts and a thin cardigan. Less space and more flexible.

Utilize Quick-Dry Fabrics

Clothing items that are made from quick-dry fabrics allow you to wash and hung up overnight to dry. That means things like socks and underwear can be washed and worn again. A few minutes of cleaning effort can result in a lighter suitcase. Remember that is the goal.

Don’t Shop Just for the Trip

If you want to buy a special outfit or article of clothing for your trip, then it should be something that you would also wear at home. Adding pieces to your suitcase with items that are “once wear” isn’t practical. That includes technical or sports gear. If you end up needing a special hat or shirt, then you can always pick it up at your destination and bring it home. Why? Because you’ll have a lot of room in the suitcase!

This rule can also apply to all the potential lotions, shampoos and other items you might be packing up. A good rule to follow is if something costs less than $10, then don’t pack it. You can always buy it at your destination.

Use a Smaller Suitcase

This might seem obvious but when you notice all the people lugging around enormous suitcases at the baggage claim, then you realize many people skip this step. If you have a smaller suitcase, then you’ll automatically be limited in space. Don’t worry. If you follow all the above tips, then you’ll have room to spare!