By Ferdi Burger on 24 September 2013

Sometimes it can be very tricky to pack light. You start off with good intentions; telling yourself you won't take much but before you know it, you've packed almost your entire wardrobe into your suitcase. Recent research by Debenhams found that women over-pack by two thirds when they go away, with some taking up to 150 items that they'll never use.

It is possible to pack light, though; here are some hints and tips on how to do just that . . .

Plan ahead

Once you've sorted your travel insurance and plane tickets, it's time to plan your luggage. It might be best to write a list of the essentials you'll need when you're away so that you know what you have to pack, then you can add in luxuries later.

Remember that you can take a piece of hand luggage with you as well as a suitcase and you should pack vital items such as medicine, money and your mobile phone in your hand luggage. Remember not to pack any liquids in your hand luggage, or you may have to remove them (depending on their size).

It might be best to pack your bag in advance to see how much your bags weigh. Check with your airline how much your bags are allowed to weigh and what size they're supposed to be, as each airline has its own rules. You could invest in a digital luggage scale to use at home, or you can use a normal set of scales to double-check it won't go over the allowed weight. Otherwise when you get to the airport you'll have to pay extra charges if it's over, meaning you won't have packed light at all.

Pack smart

The way you pack your bags can massively help how much you can get in and how much they weigh. For example, if you're going on a family holiday and therefore will be taking more than one suitcase, remember to distribute heavy items between the cases to avoid one being very heavy. Don't forget that each passenger is allowed their own suitcase so if you're not planning on taking what you're fully allowed, pack an easy to fold up bag that could be used to bring back souvenirs in.

Pack any heavy items at the bottom of the bag, such as shoes. Don't take too many pairs of shoes though, as you simply won't need them. Alternatively take light shoes (flip-flops, for example), as they won't take up much room and weigh next to nothing. Fold or roll up your clothing items - don't just stuff them in the bag, because they'll get creased and will take up a lot of room. If you roll your clothes together you can pack in a lot more than you'd expect.

Furthermore take a few staple clothing items that can be dressed up or down with accessories. Don't take an entire wardrobe full because you won't wear it all. Plan outfits day by day if that helps.

It's not difficult to pack light, just be strict with yourself and plan ahead. You should always remember that if you do forget anything, most things can be purchased when you get to your destination anyway.

← The world's best zoos explored

Top travel tips for foodies →