I avoid checked luggage and baggage claim at all costs when I’m traveling. On top of my constant mission of being more patient and saving more money, when I touchdown at my destination, the last thing I want to do is wait around an empty carousel for twenty minutes for the luggage of one hundred passengers to slowly start trickling out. Also, let’s not think about the possibility of the airline losing your luggage. Thankfully that’s never happened to me and I hope to keep it that way forever!
To prevent any extra delays while traveling, I always pack super light no matter where I go. Although it’s a bit more challenging for me to get my bag down to just a carry-on in the winter due to all the bulky sweaters and boots when traveling back home to Georgia for Christmas, for the most part, I like to think I’m pretty good with keeping it concise.
Here are some of my key packing tips:
1. Realize you can’t take everything
This realization is often very difficult for us women to grasp. I think guys may be able to skip this one! For women, especially if you’re really into fashion, you probably want to bring every type of outfit for every possible scenario that nine times out of ten never happens. What if it rains? What if it snows? What if I’m out and I get food on my dress? I need to have a backup dress! Before you know it, that suitcase is overflowing with way too many options. My best advice for this type of thinking is to remember how many days you’re traveling and pack only the things you know you’re really going to need. It’s okay to take one to three backup options for trips lasting anywhere from five to seven days. Not three options for each day.
2. Be versatile
Having the option to mix and match clothes while traveling keeps your packing down to a minimum but it also just makes everything more convenient overall. For example, I love packing an oversized denim shirt that can be worn loosely over a pair of leggings while I’m on the plane and then later I can wear the same shirt with the sleeves rolled up and tied in a crop like fashion over a maxi dress if I’m out somewhere and it gets a bit chilly. I can also wear that same shirt as an open cover up over my bikini when I go out to the pool. With the exception of maybe one or two uniquely patterned items, try to stick to a single color scheme when packing. Versatility is key and will take you a long way.
3. Pack clothes made of light fabrics
This one is obviously easier to do when you’re traveling to warmer destinations. The lighter the fabric, the lighter your luggage and the quicker it dries in case you have to wash it or it gets wet unexpectedly.
4. Rolling vs. folding
I personally prefer rolling my clothes vs. folding because I’ve noticed it really saves more space when things are tightly bundled in the suitcase. It also allows me to see my clothes easier when I open my suitcase. If I fold and stack, I have to remove each article of clothing piece by piece to see and get to all of the clothes I packed. Rolling also does a good job of cutting down on wrinkling.
5. Wear your bulky items during travel
We all have that one item that just can’t seem to fit into the suitcase no matter how long we sit on top of our luggage trying to zip it up. In this case and to obviously save more space, I always just wear whatever it is that won’t fit. Most of the time this is in the winter and involves a pair of riding boots. Even if you have a light jacket or scarf that you want to pack, keep in mind it can get pretty chilly on planes and that item will definitely come in handy. If not as a cover up, you can always use it as a pillow!
6. To pack or not to pack toiletries?
That is the question and a very good one. For me, I keep a toiletries bag always prepared even when I’m not traveling. It’s easier that way for me to just grab it and put it in my suitcase instead of constantly unpacking and repacking it. My sister actually inspired me with this idea when I saw hers. My bag consists of key items such as toothpaste, lotion and sunscreen that are all at the 3.4 oz. limit which is required when clearing carry-on luggage through TSA at the airport.
To save space while packing, sometimes it’s a good idea to forgo packing toiletries altogether and wait to grab them at a local convenient store once you reach your destination. Also, if you’re staying at a hotel, remember you can always count on them to have those great smelling sample sized bottles of lotion, soaps and even shower caps displayed on your bathroom sink upon your arrival!
Your turn! What are some ways you keep your load light while traveling?
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