Travelling light: What to pack (and leave behind) when you're only allowed one piece of luggage

·4 min read

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Packing light can be a challenge, but these products are my go-tos for dealing with limited luggage. (Getty Images)
Packing light can be a challenge, but these products are my go-tos for dealing with limited luggage. (Getty Images)

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Travelling across Canada often doesn't come cheap, but one of the biggest perks that come with flying with a budget airline is the low fares they offer. However, flying low-cost often means you have to pack ultra-light, since you're only allowed one personal item, like a backpack or tote bag, that can be stored under the seat in front of you.

I recently flew from Ottawa to Toronto for the first time on one such flight, and was only allowed a single bag. I opted for Hershel's signature Heritage Backpack, and for someone who is the queen of overpacking, flying with ultra-light baggage was a challenge. 

Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack

Herschel Supply Co. Heritage, Navy, One Size. Image via Amazon.
Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack. Image via Amazon.

SHOP IT: Amazon, $70

Clothes were easy (I rolled them up and placed them at the bottom of my bag), but when it came to tech, makeup, and especially skincare, finding the room to fit everything in was tough — considering I love to indulge in a 10-step Korean-style skincare routine.

Now that I've got the experience under my belt, I've learned a thing or two about how to pack light. Ahead, I've gathered a selection of products that I wish I had known about sooner for an even more streamlined packing experience, as well as the ones I wish I'd left behind.

What I wish I packed:

Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Sheet Mask

Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Sheet Mask. Image via Sephora.
Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Sheet Mask. Image via Sephora.

My skin would have loved some hydration post-flight due to the dryness, low humidity in the cabin and early morning weather. Farmacy's hydrating coconut gel sheet mask is an easy and lightweight solution that provides instant glow and intense hydration for dry or dehydrated skin.

SHOP IT: Sephora, $8 

Silk Sleepmask

Silk Sleepmask. Image via Sephora.

SHOP IT: Sephora, $70

When you've got an early morning flight to catch and you're already running on low sleep, you may want try to catch some sleep whatever chance you get — whether that's in the boarding lounge or during your flight. I'm a fan of silk pillowcases, so I wish I bought this eye mask to help me nap on my flight.

PEAK Fanny Pack

Fanny Pack (Thin Profile Money Belt with Theft Insurance and Lost). Image via Amazon.
Fanny Pack (Thin Profile Money Belt with Theft Insurance and Lost). Image via Amazon.

PEAK's thin fanny pack would have been perfect for carrying essential cards, cash, and my phone. It's slim and fits right against your body, and also has an RFID chip to track it if it gets lost or stolen. Had I worn it, I wouldn't have had to carry my chunky double-zip wallet with all my cards. 

SHOP IT: Amazon, $16

Valourgo Travel Bottles Set

Valourgo Travel Bottles Set. Image via Amazon.

Leaky oils and cleansers were the bane of my existence on this flight. I wish I had used these tight-seal silicone bottles instead of plastic ones that could have saved me a whole lot of product and cleaning afterwards.

SHOP IT: Amazon, $18

Palette® The Original High Fiver

Palette® The Original High Fiver. Image via Palette.
Palette® The Original High Fiver. Image via Palette.

Given that I have a multi-step skincare routine, I came across this refillable container set for skincare and makeup that I wish I knew about earlier. Instead of carrying the full serum bottles, I would have loved to squeeze a dollop of my favourite products into this convenient set. 

SHOP IT: Palette, $39

Borsali TSA Approved Toiletry Bag

Borsali TSA Approved Toiletry Bag. Image via Amazon.
Borsali TSA Approved Toiletry Bag. Image via Amazon.

Getting through security can be hectic. Instead of shifting the all items from my makeup bag to another clear bag for security check, I wish I had packed my liquids and gels from home in this reusable clear bag. This would have saved me time and kept my packing neat.

SHOP IT: Amazon, $18

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What I wish I left at home:

  • Chunky double-zip wallet. It's better to go with a wearable fanny pack/money belt that can fit your important cards, IDs, cash, and phone, and free up extra room in your bag.

  • Makeup brushes. I learned that sometimes you have to let go of your full size brushes, and try mini ones instead.

  • Electronics cord organizer. Although the case was small, for shorter trips it's best to leave it behind and put cords in a small front pocket of your luggage instead. Try carrying as few electronics as possible too, so you don't have to deal with tons of cords.

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