With most airlines announcing new baggage rules and rates, it’s time to get our smart packing tips up to date!
Someday I plan to travel the world in style but with only one small side bag as my luggage! I might write about it when I finally do that. But thus far I have managed to go on a week long work trip with a small backpack. This post is about traveling light in general and I hope that some of these tips prove useful to you.
I prefer packing clothes that can be worn more than once during the trip. So wrinkle free, fast drying fabrics in colors that don’t get dirty too quickly are the obvious choice. If I am traveling for two or three weeks, I carry two pairs of jeans or cotton trousers or shorts, depending on the weather, including the ones I wear on the flight and at the most five shirts. Clothes with patterns or a mix of colors hide dirt better than plain colored ones. If there’s no laundry facility available, wash clothes in the shower at night and they will be clean and dry in the morning.
Rolling up your clothes instead of folding them saves space and prevents creases. But be generous when packing undergarments and socks.
To add something interesting to the limited amount of clothing, pack scarves, belts and a variety of jewelry to make repetition of outfits less boring. These items require less packing space and can be squeezed in between other things. In fact, pack your jewelry and other smaller items in your purse to make the best use of space since purses are considered personal items and are complementary on airplanes.
If you’re traveling to a colder place, carry your coat around your arm instead of packing the bulky thing in your bag. That could save packing space and you could use it at the airport too since airports are usually cold.
During the flight wear shoes that are comfortable, stylish and match every attire that you’re taking along. There are so many options to choose from. Go ahead and buy one if you need to, especially if it will save precious bag space. Most shoes cost cheaper than overweight baggage fees! If you absolutely need to pack an extra pair of shoes, fit them in between other packed things separately instead of as a pair if that saves space. Stuff your socks into your shoes to keep the shape of the shoe intact and save additional space on packing socks.
Toiletries can be bought easily in most travel destinations so I try not to pack any non-essentials. If you do need to pack some soap or shampoo for your trip, opt for bars instead of liquid soaps. If you carry the permitted amount of travel liquids, pack them in plastic Ziploc bags so that they won’t bleed onto your clothes in case they get squeezed. If you use make-up, pack the versatile and most essential ones. When it comes to medicines, pack sanitary items, bandaids, pain relief ointment, stomach calming tablets and eye drops.
Now about all that additional clothes and gifts that you pick up during your extensive shopping trips. You could keep your backpack half empty or pack an extra folding bag in it. Folding bags take up less space and can be filled it with things on your way back. You will need to pay for that extra baggage only one way! Some people can exercise a lot of discipline and avoid compulsive shopping but that advice doesn’t apply to everyone.
Smaller laptops are easier to pack. If you don’t like small laptops and have one that’s 17 inches, like I do :), take it only if you need to. It’s possible to plan the rest of the space in your backpack around it.
Organized packing plays a huge role if you want to maximize your luggage space. Pack the items that you will need during the journey (id, wallet, passport, tickets) in a way that gives you easy access to them.
If you’re planning to pack books, opt for Kindle instead. Or if your phone battery lasts long, just get the app on your phone.
If you don’t mind doubling your phone as the camera, you won’t have to pack your camera – big space saver there!
Get the minimalist traveler mindset and you can save some baggage fees during your next travel. Can you think of something else that I missed? Comment below or start a conversation on our Facebook page.
Author: The Lead Journal Editor