Last weekend I was with a friend who has an extremely heavy ashtray. It’s solid marble and weighs several kilos. I asked her about it and she told me that the Hotel Nacionale d Cuba sells them to tourists without the black base, but that her husband had stolen this one from the hotel by putting it in their baby’s stroller and walking out with it.

Rather than stealing great lumps of rock that add a fortune to your baggage excess, most travellers these days want to keep their luggage light. Minimal packing means flights are cheaper. You can travel around more easily since throwing all your gear in a bag and setting off on a new adventure takes no time at all. And, if the worst comes to the worst, when your baggage gets lost or stolen, it isn’t a huge setback.

First of all, start with your travel backpack have you got a bag which allows for the most space and ease of packing for smaller things like ear plugs? Then consider can you pack less than you think you need. You don’t need a different outfit for every day. You don’t need to pack towels, pyjamas, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. The very barest you need to travel is three tee-shirts, a shirt, shorts, trousers, a sweater and three changes of underwear. If you’re travelling to a first-world country you’ll doubtless be able to do laundry, and if not, you can buy extra clothing, should you need it. If you’re travelling to the rural far east you won’t need much more to wear anyway and you can wash your clothes at the end of the day and leave them two days to dry.

Of course that’s the very least you could take with you. Most people would prefer to take a few of the creature comforts with them, however, it’s worth thinking about whether you really need to take too much stuff with you that you could just as easily leave at home. If you find that you’re in absolutely desperate need, then buy a new one.

One of the best tips is to lay out everything that you want to take with you on your bed. Now close your eyes for twenty seconds and look again. Do you really need to take all that? Remember, you’re the one who has to carry it all! Try to get rid of about a third of your luggage before you even start packing.

Watch this video about making “ranger rolls.” Ranger rolls are a great way to minimise the amount of space that your clothing takes up, meaning that you get to pack fewer bags.

A compressed set of clothes is far easier to look after too. Grab a new roll each day and you’ve got your outfit sorted. It may look a little wrinkled but you can run an iron over it or hang it in the bathroom when you take a shower, the steam you make will make the wrinkles fall out overnight.