Traveling light is something you hear about all the time. Until you try it, it’s hard to understand the feeling of freedom it brings. You have everything you need (and have left what you don’t), can carry it all easily on your back, avoid the hassle of check-ins at airports and save time waiting for your bags at the other end. The biggest hurdle though is being able to pack light for trips that last longer than a few days. In this article, I show you a handy step-by-step guide on how to pack for 2 weeks of travel in 1 carry-on backpack. 

It all starts with listing out what you’re taking…

Step 1 – Make a list (and cut it twice)

The best way to remember everything you need without taking too much is writing down what you’re taking. That way, you can cull back, consider items that have various functions, and when you get home, check off the list for things you’ll bring or leave next time. 

Here’s a list of what I take with me for two weeks on the road. You can see I don’t skimp. It’s more about being targeted and packing smart, rather than packing ‘light’.

Work stuff

Laptop plus chargers (key if you’re working while traveling)

Set of noise-canceling earphones

Phone and charger


7 x t-shirts (I do washing once while away)

10 x underwear (always good to have a few spares)

10 x socks

2 x dress shirts for meetings/going out

2 x pairs of jeans (one black, one blue)

1 x pair of dress pants

1 x pair of runners (I wear another pair of shoes too)

2 x jumpers

1 x jacket



Reusable water bottle (ditch the plastic)

A cap (often worn while traveling)


Teading glasses

Kindle (I used to cart multiple books, this is a lifesaver).

Step 2 – Pick the right bag

Depending on the time of year, you might need a smaller or larger backpack. I’ve assumed for this article, you’ll need at least a few warm clothes. Extra functionality like compression straps, water bottle pockets and more are really helpful too. I normally take the Venturesafe EXP45 for 2 week carry-on. Plenty of space. Epic features. Anti-theft security built in. 

Step 3 – Pack the right way

I prefer rolling. Others swear by packing cubes. Whichever way you choose to organize your gear, it’s helpful to group things together by accessibility and also weight. Heavy things like toiletries go at the bottom to make things easier to carry (the weight sits on your hips instead of pulling your shoulders back). Things I’ll need less of get compression strapped in to help save space and keep them out of the way. Things I’ll need on the plane get placed somewhere easy to reach. 

Once it’s all nice and snug, it gets zipped up and is ready to go. Depending on who I’m flying with, I’ll also do a weight check to make sure I haven’t gone overboard. If things are a little heavy, I’ll either cut something out, or choose to wear heavier things – ie jeans, jackets, heavy shoes. If I’m too hot, I’ll just take a layer off once I’m on the plane. 

So, wherever you’re headed, it’s easy as 1,2,3 to pack light. Make a list. Choose the right bag. Pack the right way. 

To check out the bag I used in this article, head here.

Or, for other packing advice tips, you might like this article.


Tim Hawken is a professional writer and freelancer who has visited 23 plus countries and counting. He often travels with his laptop for work and not a whole lot else. You can read more about his weird world over

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