Packing is a critical aspect of traveling to any location. Forgetting to pack something essential or carrying too much is an event that occurs frequently. The perfect packing technique may take years of touring to master; however, packing fails can be easily avoided.
After a decade of traveling, I have witnessed the advantages of packing light like not having to bother about the airline misplacing my luggage, avoiding expensive baggage fees, and being free from heavy luggage while navigating a new city or airport. Trust me, if you have to run through the airport, then a light bag will be your best friend!
While other travelers are panicking at the baggage claim, you’ll be on your way in a cab.
Here are some packing tips that can enable you to pack light for any trip:
- Your packing urge. Why are you preparing for an adventurous South American journey from the sunny beaches of Rio d Janeiro to the icy mountains of Patagonia? Sometimes you might have that urge for packing items or pieces you should have never brought in the first place. Some items might have been sitting in your closet for months, but when travel packing you will feel the need to pack such things because you might need them on the trip. The surprise here is you might end up never having a need for such items and it just means unwanted luggage. It is necessary to get creative with your clothing with some smart dual-purpose travel garments. For example, pants that can be turned into shorts by zipping off the legs are a real winner. Almost everyone overpacks and this is caused by the failure to recognize that not everything needs to go on the trip.
- Consider the climate of the destination. The ideal way to deal with multiple environments is layering. The same lightweight t-shirt you wear while strolling the hot streets of Buenos Aires can also serve as a layer of warmth while skiing through the snowy Andes. Keep your heavy clothing to a minimum—you can wear the same fleece every day as long as you can change into a fresh light shirt underneath it. Packing the wrong clothes is often as a result of not checking the weather/activities for the destination of travel. You may be traveling on a vacation that entails activities like running, hiking, meeting people, and each event will require a different set of clothes. If not, cutting down on what you pack will benefit you.
- Choose what goes into your carry-on wisely. Make sure your traveling bag has enough compartments and pockets to enable you to stay organized. It has to be roomy as possible and at the same time not exceeding your airline’s size requirements. If your journey begins on a cold environment and ends in a warm climate, then you may have to consider mailing your cold weather accessories home, so you don’t have to drag all of them along with you on your way. Sending your luggage home could get expensive depending on your location, but if you still have several weeks of your trip left then lightening up could be well worth the price. A cheaper alternative to this would be bringing along clothes you don’t mind donating or leaving behind as you sojourn. Always consider the specific activity of the travel to avoid ordinary travel packing fail.
- Mean business with your packing. Business trips pose a lot of challenges for light packers: bring only the most critical gadgets to get the job done and looking professional without overpacking. Unless it is quite a lengthy trip, you can survive by bringing along a single neutral colored suit that can be matched and worn with different ties, shirts, and accessories. For example, a woman can get by wearing the same pair of black suit pants for an executive meeting and a dinner out by substituting a button-down shirt with a flowing wrap and adding earrings and jewelry. Too many pairs of shoes, ties, or jackets eat up room in your carry-on.
- Critical things get packed first. Little items that should not be left out include glasses or contact lenses, passports, camera, and toothbrush. Packing medicine or valuables in checked luggage is a dastardly mistake that could ultimately lead to the loss of property. Packing liquids like rum, red wine, juice in your checked luggage is a mistake that never ends well. You might be made to believe that such fluids survive the trip but a more significant percentage of the time they don’t even if you wrap them in socks and other soft clothing. If you know that you will want to bring back souvenirs like these, then you might want to pack an empty tote bag to bring back your gifts.
- Toiletries and hygiene items. Depending on where you are going, you might want to leave these items behind. A quick stop in a drug store with a list of these items and $20 will allow you to pick up things like toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, and razors. Most hotels supply shampoo, condition, lotion, and a hairdryer. A quick shopping trip for the extra thing means these items can quickly be left behind without having to repack them on the way home.
Research carried out by SITA states that airlines misplace a staggering 24 million bags every year. If that is not enough of a reason to pack only a small carry-on, then perhaps you might want to consider the cost of replacing all of these items.