Traveling the world to photograph the most beautiful sights sounds like a dream. For Jill Paider, it’s a reality. Her work as a visual storyteller has taken her to at least 100 countries, where she uses her camera to capture interior design, architecture, well-known residences and resorts, and fine foods. Her images then appear in her books and exhibitions.
But there’s a lot more that goes on outside the frame. Telling that story inspired one of her latest books, “Carry-On Only: Confessions from 100 Countries.” She describes it to Travel + Leisure as “a memoir of travel, photography and 13 books in the making.” She hopes her travel memories inspire others to explore.
Another clear takeaway is how to pack light, limiting yourself to only a carry-on. Here are seven ways to channel Paider’s minimalist packing style for your next trip:
1. Love Your Luggage
Her go-to luggage is a hard-sided carry-on from Calpak and a Samsonite Underseat Bag. Her choices have kept up with a heavy travel schedule without weighing her down.
2. Make A List
Before any trip, Paider prints out a master packing checklist so she doesn’t forget anything. It includes basics like toiletries, medications and tech accessories. Then she moves on to clothing, considering factors such as climate, temperature and events.
3. Less Is More
Paider learned her lesson young. On her first international trip, she “grossly overpacked.” “My suitcase weighed more than I did—a rookie error that I did not repeat,” she wrote on her blog. To avoid her mistake, she recommends refining clothing before packing. Everything from getting through airports to getting dressed each day is easier.
4. Focus On Outerwear
When it comes to clothes, nice outerwear is the most important. Jackets may take up a bit of space, but that’s what people see.
5. Roll It Up
Paider recommends rolling instead of folding. She rolls clothes the night before, so there’s no extra air. The rolls also fit into the bag better.
6. Select Comfort
Shoes are another item that can take up valuable space. Paider opts for Born boots, which are a comfortable, all-purpose option for colder climates. Her biggest piece of advice is comfort. “Don’t bring any shoes you can’t walk in comfortably,” she shared with Travel + Leisure.
7. Shop Small
Photos and journal entries are Paider’s go-to souvenirs. But if you must shop, stick to small items like jewelry or even local foods. This way you’ll be able to bring home more than photos without taking up too much space.
If you’re still not sold on simplifying your suitcase, consider this. Packing light ensures you’re mobile and self-sufficient. Paider says she likes to be able to manage her own luggage no matter where she is.
For more on getting the most out of your luggage, watch this video on how to pack 100 items into a tiny carry-on.