Postcards & Passports

5 Tips for Packing a Suitcase on a Budget

This post was most recently updated on September 28th, 2023

You’ve already maxed out on plane tickets and you’ve spent a ton on your accommodation of choice. Now your budget is restricted for the other aspects of your trip. This is going to create challenges in terms of choosing activities during your vacation and dining out at restaurants. It’s also an issue when it comes time to pack. Did you realize that packing a suitcase on a budget is a thing?

Of course it is! How you pack affects how much you pay — for extra bags on the plane, to having to buy the things you forgot to pack when you arrive. So if you’re on a budget, here are some tips to help you shave expenses. 

Keep it light with a carry-on suitcase

If you can avoid paying for additional hold luggage, do it. While it can be tricky trying to pack everything into a carry-on suitcase – it’s certainly not impossible. Even if your trip is longer than a weekend. For instance, Tortuga has a comprehensive guide to maximizing your carry-on bag. 

To avoid going above the weight limit imposed by your airline of choice, always try and select a lightweight suitcase. Opting for an Eminent 55x40x20 cabin size bag is beneficial in such situations, as its lightweight and compact design allows for more flexibility in packing. Plus, compared to large suitcases, small suitcases will help you bring along all your essentials without surpassing weight restrictions. This way, you’ll have more weight to play around with when packing – a precious extra pound can go a long way. 

Be strategic with your clothing

travel outfit

Photo credit Laura Chouette via Unsplash

If you’re only using a carry-on bag for your trip, it won’t be possible to take your entire wardrobe. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. If you are strategic with your clothing, you can develop multiple outfits with just a few pieces. Packing a suitcase on a budget means that you must pack only the most important clothing items. DO make a packing list and then stick to your list so you don’t forget anything important nor throw in unnecessary items! Remember to include something that can be dressed up a bit if you go to a nice restaurant or theatre.

Yes, you might need to to wash a few items during your stay. Perhaps you can plan to clean a few basic items halfway through your visit and then wear those items again. Since you’re traveling, you’re not seeing the same people every day, anyway!

With just two or three t-shirts or blouses acting as a base, you can create various looks by combining them with, say, a shirt, or a jacket. Even a simple scarf can change up an outfit without adding much bulk to your suitcase. Ultimately, there’s no need to pack everything in your closet! If you plan well and pack smart, you will have what you need.

Packing Accessories

As the luxury travel pack guide by Cash Lady highlights, there are a lot of fun options for your travel accessories. You know — the headphones, sunglasses, water bottle, toiletries, electronic devices, (and more) that you will need. The options are plentiful and your selection should consider cost and size (amount of space it will take up in your luggage). 

Find a way to pack all of your accessories as efficiently as you can, and you’ll be set to go! And do remember, most airlines also allow for a personal item, so use that to your advantage too.

Versatile Shoes

A pair of versatile and comfortable shoes is beneficial for several reasons. First of all, you’ll only need to have one pair – and it’ll be on your feet. No footwear will need to be stashed in your bag. That’s good news because shoes are often the heaviest and bulkiest items in a suitcase.

Secondly, and most importantly, for your trip in general, they’ll keep your feet protected. A nasty blister on the back of your heel is a quick way to spoil your journey, so always opt for comfortable footwear. Grab those elegant stylish flats and your feet will thank you.

Learn what your accommodation provides

When traveling on a budget, you must take a close look at what your accommodations provide for your use. Do they provide toiletries and towels? What about a hairdryer? Or makeup wipes? What about a good makeup mirror?

Using the provided shampoo and soap isn’t exactly ideal, admittedly, but it saves you from having to spend money on or pack travel-sized toiletries. Plus, items like towels and a hairdryer can take up considerable real estate in your bag. The more amenities they include, the better it is for your suitcase – and your budget. Another bonus? The complimentary breakfast that many hotels provide!

PRO TIP: If your lodging provides a small kitchenette, you’re in luck. You can make simple lunches for pennies compared to buying out — and save your budget for a few nice dinner meals.


Packing a suitcase on a budget really can make a difference. Just remember to pack light, pack smart, include a few fun items, and don’t bring more than you need. You’ll save money, space, and even your back!

packing a suitcase on a budget

packing a suitcase on a budget



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