Travelling should be a carefree experience and lugging heavy suitcases around is just not compatible with the modern traveller.
Packing less and travelling lighter will save you money on airplanes, save you space where you are staying and will ensure getting to your destination is no more of a hassle than it needs to be.
It also means less things to worry about security-wise, and going with a less-than-full suitcase means you have some space to bring back souvenirs.
Here are some nifty tips to help you keep things to the minimum.
1. Make a list
Good planning is key to packing effectively. Research your destination to find out the expected weather conditions, and keep your itinerary handy to see what you will be doing most of the time. Then make a list of what you need and how many of which item. Remember, by no means do you need a completely new outfit each day. Mix and match your favourite pieces, and do laundry at your destination so you don’t have to fit the whole wardrobe in. Review your list and scratch items that you are unlikely to wear or use.
2. Use a small suitcase
You can’t pack tons if you don’t have tons of space. Limit yourself (within reason, unless you’re Bear Grylls!) to a suitcase or backpack the size of a carry-on. That way you don’t have to pay extra for checked luggage on the plane, and it’s also easier to handle. Compare your final, above mentioned, list with the size of your suitcase and decide if you really need the one you initially planned to use. You’d be surprised at how much you can fit into a smaller suitcase by smart folding and fitting, too.
3. Wear bulky items on the flight
If you are headed to a cold climate, you probably have one sturdy jacket or parka and one pair of boots or winter shoes to take with. Wear the bulky items on the flight, so you don’t have to squeeze them in a bag. It will also come in handy if it gets cold on the plane. The same goes for bulky jewellery or other accessories like scarves and headgear.
4. Invest in travel-sized toiletries
Many toiletries like shampoos, shower gel and body lotions come in large volume containers. Most brands have special travel-sized versions of their products, though, which are exceptionally handy and sometimes come in as small as 50ml or 100ml. It’s worth getting those, as most airlines have strict liquid volume restrictions too. Keep the bottles and refill from your big bottles for future use. Another option is to not pack an extensive toiletry bag, but rather buy the items you need at your destination in small quantities so you can finish them before you return. Remember to recycle if you can’t reuse.
5. Pack no more than three pairs of shoes
Depending on the nature of your trip, you probably don’t need more than three pairs of shoes at most. If you are headed to a beach holiday, you might even get away with one pair of sandals or flip flops that will take you everywhere. If you want to at least give your feet a change of attire when transitioning from day to night, you could pack one pair of casual slops and one pair of formal shoes for that fancy dinner. Throw in a pair of trainers if you like yo keep fit, and remember to wear those on the plane. You’re all set.