The thrill of traveling to exotic places and experiencing new adventures appeals to most people, but the hassles and headaches of getting to these locations is daunting. If you ask world travelers, they will tell you that traveling light and minimizing your packing is by far the best way to go. Airline baggage costs keep getting higher and the last thing you want is to pack, unpack and repack a 50-pound bag at every stop along the way. Use the following tips to perfect your packing like a pro and travel lighter and happier.
Stay Away From Clothes Bulk
One of the hardest hurdles for travelers to overcome is packing too many clothes and big, bulky items. When you are traveling, your priority should be function over fashion. The Washington Post interviewed packing expert Leslie Wilmott who gives some examples of common issues travelers face.
Wilmott points out that you shouldn’t treat your suitcase like your closet. Leave your bulky coats, dresses and boots at home. Plan on layering or wearing microfiber or down fabrics to keep warm because they pack smaller. Also, pack neutral colors that you can mix and match. Between laundromats, services at your hotel and a travel Tide packet in your sink, you can clean your clothes at some point, so plan on more than one day of wear from each item. If you are going to an area where you need a bigger coat or heavy boots, wear them on the plane to save space.
Cut the Cord With Your Electronics
At home, you may feel like you can’t live without your laptop, phone, tablet, iPod, e-reader and GPS. But when you are packing a small bag for a long trip, all of those devices, charging cords and adapters take up space. You probably won’t need all of them, so consider what you need the most.
Conde Nast Travel interviewed several flight attendants to see what they do to save space, and almost all said they only bring their phone on trips. Some of the newer smartphones have the power to act as your Internet connection, GPS, e-reader and entertainment outlet. The new LG G5 even has a virtual reality feature to keep you busy for hours on long flights.
Use Space-Saving and Compression Bags
Another way to optimize precious room in your bag is to use space-saving bags like eBags' Packing Cubes or compression bags like Ziploc Space Bags. These are vacuum-packed pouches that compress your items, so they take up less space. They also make it easier to pack and find your things when they are in individual bags. However, it's important to know that compression bags don’t make your bags any lighter, so take that into account if your airline charges for overweight baggage.
Take Advantage of Your Personal Item
Almost every airline lets you have one carry-on and one personal item. While this doesn’t mean two carry-ons (like some people try to get away with), your personal item may be a small backpack, tote bag or overnight bag that holds a lot more than a purse or briefcase does. If you bring a backpack or tote, you can put your purse, a pair of boots or some other bulky item inside it that would take up a lot of room in your main bag. Also, Duty Free and shopping bags from the airport don’t count as your personal item, so take advantage of this if you want to buy souvenirs or other items for the trip on the way home.