Summer is already underway, which means most people have vacations and weekend getaways on their mind. Every trip begins with a packing session, which isn’t the most exciting aspect of your vacation, but it is crucial.
For starters, you’ll want to bring everything you’ll need for a big getaway without taking up a bunch of space in your luggage. After all, there’s a chance you’ll want to do a little shopping and bring back souvenirs to remind you of your trip.
Secondly, many airlines will charge (quite a bit) for any bag you check. You can avoid a lot of additional travel expenses if you are savvy and fit everything into a carry-on. As challenging as it sounds, there are ways to do this, even for longer trips that last a week or more.
Lastly, hauling a heavy bag across the cobblestone streets of Paris, through major, busy airports and on bustling city sidewalks like those in New York or Los Angeles can get exhausting. And let’s not get started on waiting for baggage claim. Simply put: Lighter is better.
Looking for some tips to pack light? Read below for advice on how to become a packing expert:
Fabrics Make a Difference
When you’re headed to a sunny locale for beach lounging, you might not have to worry about heavier fabrics (after all, most of your luggage will be packed with sandals and island wear). However, for temperate or cold-weather destinations, packing light with heavier garments, not to mention outerwear, can be challenging indeed.
Airier materials like smartwool, merino, and lightweight cottons can keep you warm without taking up a lot of space. Unless you’re heading to the tropics, try to pack items that can layer and are suitable for warm or cool weather.
If you need to bring a coat, be sure to wear it during boarding so that it can be placed in the overhead bin alongside your carry-on. A great all-purpose pea coat or army-style jacket can keep you warm, moves well, and still looks fashionable.
In the same vein, if you’re headed to a beachy area, look for items that can pull double duty. For instance, a sarong can serve as a great swimsuit cover-up, but it can also become a blanket, hair scarf, shawl, or pillow while traveling.
Mix and Match
You should also pack clothing that mixes and matches so you can create numerous outfits with just five or six items. For the most part, you can do this with almost any neutral-colored top or bottom (think grey, black, or khaki).
One way to do this is to lay out all of the clothes you are thinking about bringing on your trip. If you find a few pieces that don’t seem to match the others, it might be best to leave them at home. Taking a minimalist, streamlined approach with packing always pays off in the long run.
Make More Space
There are many innovative ways to create more room in your carry-on, but you’ll want to make sure you choose items that are wrinkle-free. For one, you could try rolling your clothes, or tie up your clothes with rubber bands. Packing clothing items vertically can also create more space and keep you from digging around in your luggage looking for a certain shirt or pair of pants.
Be Wary of Toiletries
It might make sense to bring along your favorite shampoo and mouthwash, but these items can take up a lot of space in your bag. What’s more, you can always purchase travel-size portions of anything you need once you land.
With the exception of your medications, it might be wise to grab your toothbrush and toothpaste, and shell out a few extra bucks for the travel-sized portions. This way, you don’t have to worry about TSA regulations, and lighten your load a little bit.
A Word About Shoes
Shoes take up a lot of space in your bag, and travelers tend to over-pack in this area. Some travelers might even bring a bag dedicated to shoes, or load up their carry-on with six or seven pairs. In many cases, a lot of these shoes are left unworn during their trips.
For the most part, you don’t need to bring more than three pairs of shoes on any vacation, regardless of where you go. One sensible pair for day-to-day wear and sightseeing (sneakers or flats work well here), a nicer pair for going out in the evenings, and a location-specific pair (such as sandals for a beach locale or hiking boots for the mountains) will cover all of your footwear needs while exploring.