With airline baggage requirements becoming more and more restrictive, the need for smart packing is essential. Your carry-on bags are limited in quantity, weight and size, and if you go over any of these numbers, you will likely pay a bundle in extra fees. To start your vacation off right, it’s key to pack light!
Each airline has its own set of rules for baggage and even some airports have separate rules. It’s wise to first check the websites for your airline and the airports you’re flying in and out from, as well as TSA, to make sure your bags are within the limits and won’t be subject to a fine.
The next step is to ask yourself some very important questions:
Should You Take Less Clothing?
Every trip I’ve ever taken, I’ve managed to pack too much clothing. However, I’m getting better at deciding what I need and now generally only have one or two items left unused by the end of the trip. This is a huge success as it keeps my luggage light and allows me more room to take souvenirs home from my travels.
The length of your vacation and the types of activities you’ll be enjoying dictate much of what you’ll need to bring, but you can cut back on the bulk. First, dress in layers. If the weather warrants outerwear, then bring one jacket or coat or sweatshirt that you can wear over lighter shirts.
Pants can generally be worn more than once before they need washed, so pack fewer sets of pants, preferably ones that go well with whatever tops you’ll be wearing. If going on a longer vacation, you should plan on doing laundry while away. Your hotel room will likely supply a phone book or a list of useful local numbers, and if not, you can always ask the front desk clerk for directions to the nearest laundromat.
What Essentials are Necessities?
The next important strategy for packing light is to pack only the essentials. Cutting back the unnecessary items in your wallet or purse as well as your suitcase will leave you with a little more breathing room.
You can leave your store membership cards, library cards, and any other such cards at home. Your Driver’s License or other Photo ID, and if necessary your Passport, are the ones you want to keep on your person. It’s a good idea for each adult to carry one credit or debit card to use for the majority of the spending.
As a rule, you shouldn’t carry too much cash, but be mindful of what you may need to spend in tipping staff or other such expenditures.
Do You Really Need Those Extras?
Most hotels provide complimentary toiletries, such as shampoo/conditioner, facial soap, and mouth wash, so not packing your own bottles is definitely a space saving option.
However, if you prefer to use your own products, travel bottles (3 fluid ounces or less) will ensure that you don’t have to pack your weighty liquids in checked baggage. You can purchase empty travel bottles from most major retailers and pharmacies.
Also, check with hotels to see if they provide other things like razors, tooth brushes, hair dryers and beach towels. Many do and using the hotel’s complimentary items can help you pack light by eliminating the need to bring your own.
How Many Pairs of Shoes Does it Take To Travel?
A lot of excess baggage weight can be cut down by selecting one or two pairs of shoes to wear on your vacation. If your planned activities necessitate a pair of dress shoes, then you should spare some room in your bag for those. It’s great to be fashionable, but is paying extra in luggage fees really worth having five pairs of shoes for your vacation when one or two pairs would suffice?
If you plan on a lot of walking and sightseeing, then one good pair of sneakers may be all you need. And if you choose to relax on a sandy beach, one pair of flip-flops will suffice. Remember to wear your heavier pair of shoes and stow your lighter pair while traveling to help you pack light.
Additional Tips to Consider
Another great way to spare yourself some bag space is to use travel bags. You can find all sizes of travel size bags at major stores, such as Bed Bath and Beyond. Simply place your clothes inside the bag, close the seal, and bear hug the air out of it.
You can find tons of videos, too, to help you pack more into less space. Travel bags are so handy for separating items in your suitcase, as well, making it easy to find socks, t-shirts or swim suits by keeping them all in one bag.
Remember to pack accordingly for your vacation, but do not pack to excess. Eliminating non-essential, space wasting items from your suitcase will literally take some weight off your shoulders and may also save you money by avoiding fines at the airport. And it’s always a good idea to leave some room in your bag for any souvenirs that may return home with you!