Everyone likes to travel light. It will also often save you money, especially if by saving space packing you can get to travel with hand luggage only. Beware, even if when you think you've packed correctly for a budget airline, they may still fine you, as these surprising pictures show: How Strict is the Ryanair Baggage Allowance?
On this page you'll find advice and gadgets to help you pack well and leave some of your bulkier items at home.
I have owned the last four versions of the Kindle e-reader and I have loved them all.
The latest Kindle, called the Kindle Paperwhite, saves more space when packing then ever if you tend to read at night as it comes with a light built in.
Thinner than a paperback, it can store thousands of books for reading on the go. And its 'e-ink' screen means reading it is as easy as reading from real paper, with the Paperwhite having the fastest page-turns ever (those who have disliked the way previous version of the Kindle turned pages should check out the Paperwhite as it is a vast improvement.
It's the best way to save space packing. Not only does it mean you can leave out all your usual paper-and-ink vacation reading (and guide books) at home, but the free international internet means you can leave your laptop at home home. too.
Buy a Kindle
2. A compact or mirrorless camera
Your phone probably has a good camera, but if you want a truly excellent camera, you no longer have to go for a DSLR.
For years the Canon S-series was the best pocketable camera you could get. The current model is the S110, which is still an excellent camera, but if you have the money you could get even better with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100. Both cameras are small enough to put in a pocket.
If you aren't looking for something pocketable but still want to save space packing, consider a Sony NEX, particularly the 5R (or the slightly older 5N, which is the one I own). These cameras have the same size sensor as most mid-range DLSRs, but at a fraction of the size.
3. Vacuum or compression bags
The most bulky item in your luggage is likely to be your clothes. So a bag that compresses your clothes will really help you save space packing. The best solution is a Vacuum storage bag, which uses a vacuum cleaner to really compress your clothes. Problem is, if you don't have a vacuum cleaner at your hotel, you'll find that your clothes won't fit in your bag on the way back! The best compromise is a compression pack, which does the same job without the vacuum cleaner (various alternative methods are available).
4. Roll Your Clothes
Rather than folding your clothes, roll them. They crease less and you'll save more space than if you fold them.
OK, it doesn't help you save space packing, but it will help you make sure won't go over the weight limit of your airline.
Buy a set of Luggage Scales
Most hotels - even cheap youth hostels - will give you a towel to use (or at worst, rent one to you). But if you really need a towel (like if you're camping or on the Camino de Santiago), consider bringing a travel towel, which will help you save space.
Buy a Travel Towel (buy direct)
7. Economise on Your Toiletries
Toiletries take up a lot of space and (especially) weight. You have a number of options. The best is to just not pack any. Just buy them when you get there! Alternatively, you can buy a pack of travel toiletries bottles and fill them up with your favourite brands from home. Otherwise, buy some specific travel site bottles. A recent arrival on the market is soap sheets, which take up no room at all in your bag! A great way to save space packing.
8. Ryanair Hand Luggage
This won't save space packing, but knowing Ryanair's hand baggage allowance will prevent you getting into trouble with Ryanair for having a bag that is too big to agree with their rules. Ryanair has the smallest hand luggage allowance in Europe, and will sometimes fine you even when your bag follows all the rules. Don't believe me? See these pictures: How Strict is Ryanair's Hand Baggage Allowance?