10 Tips to Lighten the Load When Packing

Traveling can be a daunting task. Throw in small children, some in-laws, and the kitchen sink, the last thing you need to worry about is carting around extra luggage. Here are 10 easy ways to minimize the amount you bring when traveling.

#1: Keep the Number of bags down

The first step on how to pack light seems rather obvious, but if you don’t bring multiple suitcases, you simply can’t fill them. A good size suitcase should be no more than 30 pounds and no larger than 25 x 17 inches. It should also have plenty of separate compartments. By bringing only 1 bag you also avoid extra luggage fees and avoid heavy overweight bags.

#2: Reduce Toiletries

Most hotels offer many amenities such as soap, hair shampoo, toothpaste, and other small toiletries, so there is no need to bring these items. If you are staying somewhere that does not provide these items, simply purchase them when you arrive. You’ll travel lighter and be surprised how much space you save in your luggage.

#3: Dump the Shoes

Okay this may be hard for the ladies, but shoes take up the largest amount of space when packing. Before you decide to pack multiple pairs of shoes, see if some of your shoes can perform “double duty” and be adequate for every day wear as well as evening wear. Also, be sure to wear the bulkiest ones on the plane to save valuable suitcase space and weight.

#4: Mix and Match Outfits

Bring clothes that can be mixed and matched so you pack less. For example, 1 pair of pants can work with 2 shirts rather than bringing 2 separate pants. Try to avoid the “wear once” items that you may only use for a few hours.

#5: Reduce the Extras

Do you really need your entire guidebook of the world or Europe or just Germany? Photo copy the pages you need. This goes for entertainment too. Bring a soft cover book or a magazine or a newspaper rather than a hard cover version. Do you need the whole bottle of aspirin or medication or just a few pills? Think about the items you are packing and see if you can reduce them in size and compact them.

#6: Use Packing Savers and Systems

Many gear suppliers have packing systems to compress your clothes. These include vacuum sealed bags and folders that allow you to get every inch from your luggage.

#7: No Heavy Bulky Clothes

Big bulky clothing such as winter coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, etc. not only weighs you down, but also takes up a huge amount of space. Synthetic or lighter material clothing can keep you just as warm and takes up about half the space.

#8: Increase your Carry On Bags

You’ll be surprised to see how much you can fit into that pocket book or brief case. If you are bringing it on the flight regardless, why not get the most out of it and fill it to capacity.

#9: Don’t Pack Based on the Length of your Vacation

Just because you are traveling for 4 weeks, don’t pack more. A traveler should never pack more then what he or she needs for a week. You don’t need your entire closet with you. If you never wore it at home, you are not going to wear it on vacation either.

#10: Do Laundry

Use your hotels or house laundry service or use the washer if you’re staying at a vacation rental home. Washing your clothes is an easy way to reduce the number of outfits you pack and reduce the bulk.

Follow these simple tips to packing lighter and make traveling a bit easier. While you can’t leave your mother-in-law at home, you can certainly leave some of the other items that can bring your vacation down.

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