1. The trusty, dusty Boy Scout roll. There is a reason this is the all American packing method of choice amongst our nation's patriotic outdoorsy youth. (Actually, I can't back that up... any Boy Scouts reading?)
Roll your clothes up tightly instead of folding to make the most out of your suitcase space. This allows you to squeeze clothes into every available square inch. It also reduces wrinkles and makes it easy to see at a glance all the riches you have packed.
2. Ziplock bags are your friend! They buy you beers, they laugh at your jokes, but most of all they help keep your stuff organized. I like to separate mine by garment type; i.e. blouses, skirts, undies. Anything that doesn't fit in it's designated zip lock is left behind, which keeps me honest in the packing-light department. This method has the potential to be wasteful so make sure you hold on to your ziplocks for reuse when your trip is over.
3. Have a gift suitcase. If you are seeing friends abroad, chances are you want to bring them treats from your homeland. Designating a separate suitcase for this purpose also ensures you have plenty of space to bring goodies for yourself and your friends back home, too.
I like bringing local bath products (these lotions are from the Indie Pendent in Virginia Highlands), and small bottles of American bourbon. I scored these on my recent trip to Kentucky. The dream catchers are authentic (not made in china!) from Cherokee, NC. If you travel a lot, it's a good idea to pick tiny gifts up as you go about life to later share with friends in foreign lands.
4. Throw and go. I originally learned this from a girl traveling in Israel with me. At the end of the day, she threw her gym socks away rather than repacking them moist and stinky in her bag. Anyone who reads this blog knows that the thought of throwing away perfectly good gym socks makes my palms sweat, so I adapted this trick to fit my more green ways. If you have old, worn out undies you've been meaning to toss, save them for your big trip! It's not exactly wasteful since you intended to throw them away anyway, and it saves you the trouble and space of repacking used underwear!
[not pictured because, ew.]
See how easy it is to pack light and go green? It's the only way to travel! Now get out there and start planning your big trip to Europe so you can put my methods to the test.
Btw, hello from MFin FRANCE!!! Nothing tastes better than your first croissant of the trip, even if it is from an airport cafe. These are the faces of happy, green, light travelers.