Are you carrying too much baggage when you travel? Chance are, you are. U.S airlines collected over $8 billion dollars in baggage fees last year.
Avoid extra charges and extra stress. Learn how to travel light with this guide on how much is too much.
Why Travel Light?
Apart from saving on baggage fees, you’ll find traveling light brings several other benefits that you might not know about.
If you can manage to travel with ‘carry-on only’ baggage, you’re in a position to set off on your adventures without spending any time waiting at the baggage carousel. You can say goodbye to airport trolley fees and expensive plastic wrap too.
You’ll also save time both packing and unpacking both at home and on arrival. Plus, you’ll spare yourself the guilt (and the tip) of unfortunate porters dragging the back-breaking load of your bags up to your room.
When you pack light, you can nip off to a new destination in no time at all without worrying about missing connections or any of the action. If you want to stop off along the way to your next port of call, it’s easy when you only have a carry on bag to worry about.
There’s also less risk of straining your muscles and back while lugging heavy suitcases and bags around the countryside.
If you want to head off without your bag, it’s easy to check it into luggage storage during your day trip.
It will surprise you how little you really need during your travels. So take some of these tips to ensure you trim down on your baggage without going without.
Basic Principles of Packing Light
Without going into the intricacies of how to travel light backpacking, or how to travel light in winter, these are the basics for taking a load off when you hit the road. Of course, you can also personalize them for your own comfort.
1. Start Small
Whether you’re buying a suitcase or bag, or hauling one out of your closet, pick a smaller size. This will help you think twice before you pack unnecessary items.
Read: Best Travel Purse
A 20-pound backpack should suffice for most trips.
2. Use Travel Scale
Don’t assume your packing strategy makes the grade. A cheap travel scale is well worth the investment to ensure you avoid extra baggage costs and injury.
Set yourself a limit and check your bag’s weight as you go along to see you stay within the bounds.
3. Use a Packing List
It’s tempting to fill up any extra space in your bag with extras you don’t need. Stick to your list.
If you end up with some space leftover in your bag, you’re sure to fill it up during your travels.
4. Cut Down on Shoes
Shoes are bulky and heavy. You don’t need to take your entire collection with you. Stick to three pairs.
You’ll need one for walking, one smart pair, and one for hiking.
5. Pack Lightweight Compact Clothes
Jeans are not your friend when it comes to space and weight. Take one pair and wear them on the flight.
Avoid bulky winter items. Pack one lightweight waterproof jacket that you can wear wherever you go.
Mix-and-match is the way to go if you want to cut down on how many clothes you take along. Pack serviceable clothing that suits different occasions, rather than a different outfit for every activity.
6. Avoid Excessive Toiletries and Makeup
It’s tempting to pack enough makeup for every occasion and every outfit, and then some. Rather, stick to basic neutrals that suit most of your outfits.
When it comes to toiletries, the same applies. Pack small containers of essentials. You can always refill when you reach your destination.
Travel-size toothbrushes and toiletries are a top choice for lightweight travels.
7. Clever Packing
Never underestimate the power of a Ziploc bag in a pinch. You can place all your toiletries in individual bags to avoid carrying a bulky bag around.
Small waterproof pouches are a win for makeup and other items that might spill along the way too. As much as possible, pack items inside one another. For example, you can squish your socks and underwear into your shoes, or wrap items in a shower cap if needed.
Slip in a small collapsible tote bag for those times when you’d rather leave your backpack or your suitcase in your room. You can also use this for on-the-road essentials like your wallet, phone, and paperwork.
8. First Aid and Medication
A first aid kit is essential, but you don’t need to carry an entire pharmacy with you on your travels.
Buy a compact travel first aid kit containing just the basics, and avoid taking just-in-case medications along. If necessary, you can buy extra medications and treatments at your destination.
9. Tech for Your Travels
A kindle or other e-reader is ideal for travel guides and light reading along the way. An iPad’s even better. If you must, pack the smallest pair of headphones you can find.
That said, most airplanes have headphones on board, so if you’d like to revel in the sounds around you while you travel, leave your headphones at home.
10. Laundry Essentials
Laundry detergent’s a waste of space. Rather, find a laundromat when you arrive and spend an hour or two doing laundry every few days.
You can pack a miniature bar of laundry soap in case of emergency stains or spills, but keep it to a minimum.
More Travel Tips
Every ounce counts when you’re up for big adventures abroad.
When you know how to travel light and save money, you can afford to get out and see more of the world. Get started by browsing some more of our blogs for top travel tips and destination snapshots.