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How Anyone Can Pack For A 7-Day Trip With A 7KG Weight Limit

When checking-in your luggage is not an option.

Cover image via SAYS

Packing light for a trip is essential if you're going to be on-the-go, or if you just want to avoid checking-in your bag

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This is a really awesome way to travel. You save money on check-ins and you can get around easily. Packing light not only lightens your load physically, but mentally as well. You have less things to keep track of/worry about, and you just feel... freer.

I for one prefer this style of travelling for its convenience, and for the freedom it gives me. Also, I hate checking-in my luggage, and at the same time, I don't want to be that person that inconveniences other people with my oversized carry-on. So, packing light it is!

It may be a bit difficult if you're a "Mary Poppins" type traveller...

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... but if you're up for the challenge, read on!

For this challenge, we'll work around the lowest carry-on weight limit of 7kg. The big question here is if it's possible to pack for a 7-day trip in 7kg or less. And the answer is... YES (even when you combine the weight of your cabin bag and small bag). I managed to do it. Here's how:

1. Use lightweight luggage

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This is the base of your packing pyramid. Get this part right first, so you don't have to worry about paying a fine/removing stuff later on because your luggage has exceeded the 7kg carry-on weight limit. This applies to your small bag (handbag, laptop bag, etc.) as well.

For my week-long trip, I used a 1.67kg Deuter ACT Lite 40 +10 (I didn't use the extra 10 litre capacity of this bag, so it was about 56 cm tall instead of 73 cm) and a 200-ish gram Longchamp Le Pliage tote.

Tips on luggage:

1. Always choose a lightweight cabin bag/small bag
2. If you want to bring a cabin bag and small bag on board, ensure that the combined weight of your (empty) bags is less than 2kg
3. Ensure that your cabin bag does not exceed the following dimensions: 56cm x 36cm x 23cm
4. If you're opting for a travel backpack, choose one with a capacity of 45 litres at the very maximum
5. Use a running belt like a FlipBelt to store your passport, some money, and other small items
6. Use a digital luggage scale to ensure that your luggage doesn't go past the carry-on weight limit

TOTAL WEIGHT = 2KG OR LESS

2. Pack less clothes

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More often than not, you end up packing more clothes than you need for a trip, by simply throwing stuff into your luggage bag the night before you fly off. Sound familiar? If you want to pack light, don't pack at the last minute!

Follow the 'Rule of 3' if you want to pack suuuper light - 1 set of clothes to wear x 1 set of clothes to wash x 1 set of clothes for an emergency. Wear, wash, repeat. I've never used this method before, but it's an option if you'd like to try it.

If you can't bring yourself to packing thattt light and you want to pack more clothes, go right ahead! Just remember to sit down and plan how many clothes you'll actually need for your trip. I usually just bring a few colour coordinated clothes that I can mix and match for a week's worth of outfits. My go-to (albeit slightly depressing) colour scheme is black, white, and maroon/dark blue.

Tips for packing clothes:

1. Choose thin clothes over thick clothes (for colder climates, I suggest getting lightweight clothes with heating capabilities like Uniqlo's HEATTECH wear)
2. Re-wear your clothes and do laundry while you're travelling
3. Pack clothes that you can match and layer
4. Wear your heaviest clothes and shoes on your flight
5. Get disposable underwear (or go commando, whatever floats your boat) if you want to bring even less clothing with you

* WOMEN

Wear on plane (heaviest clothes)
1 x jacket
1 x top
1 x bra
1 x bottom (jeans/pants)
1 x underwear
1 x shoe (ideally sneaker)
Pack in bag
3 x tops
1 x dress
2 x bras
1 x bottom
5 x underwear
1 x set of pyjamas
1 x shoe (ideally sandal/flip-flop)

* MEN

Wear on plane (heaviest clothes)
1 x jacket
1 x top
1 x bottom (jeans/pants)
1 x underwear
1 x shoe (ideally sneaker)
Pack in bag
4 x tops
1 x bottom
5 x underwear
1 x set of pyjamas
1 x shoes (ideally sandal/flip-flop)

* assuming that you will re-wear your clothes/do laundry

TOTAL WEIGHT = 2KG OR LESS

3. Trim down your toiletries

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Here's the thing. If you want to pack light, then things like hand lotion and scrub have to go. They add unnecessary weight to your precious load. I used to overthink and overpack my toiletry kit. But then, I started to track what I actually used on my trips to see what I should leave out. After that, my toiletry kit became much lighter. It's super light now!

If you're feeling minimalistic, then just bring face wash, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. You can buy travel-sized versions of the rest of the things you need at your destination. I usually choose to stay in an Airbnb or a hostel that offers basic amenities like soaps and towels so I can save on money and space.

Tips on toiletries:

1. Use small 50 ml - 100 ml refillable bottles from stores like Daiso to store your liquids like face wash
2. Buy travel sized everything!
3. Use a contact lens case to store items like makeup or small vitamins so you don't have to carry full sized containers
4. Do not stuff your transparent re-sealable plastic bag (1 litre, no larger than 20 cm x 20 cm) with too many bottles of liquids
5. Get an all-in-one soap like the Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap that's made for cleaning everything - face, body, hair!
6. If you're bringing make-up, pack less miscellaneous items

TOTAL WEIGHT = 0.5KG OR LESS

4. Don't bring unnecessary electronics

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The problem with packing light is deciding what gadgets you should bring. There are some gadgets you do need, like a phone; and there are some gadgets you don't need, like a laptop. Come on, you're on holiday. Leave the laptop at home. If it has to come with you on your trip, then it must weigh less than 1.5kg.

Think of it this way - the less tech you have on you, the less there is to lose/get stolen. Your electronics are pretty silent killers when it comes to weight, so beware of them. Bewareee.

Things to pack:

1 x phone
1 x powerbank
1 x camera
1 x travel adapter
1 x phone charger
1 x camera battery/charger

TOTAL WEIGHT = 1.5KG OR LESS

5. Small miscellaneous items can be deceiving

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You may not notice it, but the small random things you add to your luggage really add up in weight. Miscellaneous items are last on my packing guide because they are the things you can work around with, depending on the combined weight of your luggage, clothes, toiletries, and electronics.

Below are the items I usually bring on my travels. My list is not one you have to follow, nor is it exhaustive. Think of it as a guide, and only pack what's essential to you. I hope it helps!

Things to pack:

Passport
Cash
Cards (identification, credit, business, insurance, etc.)
Driving license
Flight tickets
Travel itinerary
Umbrella/rain coat
Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
Panadol
Small mirror
Foldable water bottle
Pen
Notebook
Luggage lock
Reusable, re-sealable storage bags

TOTAL WEIGHT = 1KG OR LESS

That gives you a grand total of 7kg!

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2kg luggage + 2kg clothes + 0.5kg toiletries + 1.5kg electronics + 1kg miscellaneous items = 7kg of not checking-in!

And there you have it. How to pack 7kg or less for a 7-day trip. Think you can do it? Go ahead and pack light for your next trip! :D

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Recently, AirAsia’s enforcement of their 7kg rule for carry-on luggage received much attention:

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