5 Reasons To Pack Light & 11 Ways To Pack Lighter
If there is one thing that will make you want to pack lighter, it’s lugging your luggage around…twice. Recently, I traveled internationally twice in the span of 1 month. When it comes to packing light I usually wish I’ve packed even lighter.
While I successfully packed light for my recent trip to Thailand, I could still have packed lighter. At the end of the trip I had un-worn items in my carry on. On the other hand, my pack job for a multi-destination dual business and personal trip was not as successful. But it sure made me realize how much easier traveling can be when you pack light.
5 Reasons to Pack Light
Save $$s by not paying excess baggage fees
There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and having to shell out an extra $100 to $200 for an excess baggage fee. The less you pack the less likely your checked bag will be over weight.
I made a luggage induced flight change from San Diego to Denver last month, when I found out the airline would not waive excess baggage (overweight) fee for military dependents. Talk about a buzz kill. I forked over thousands of my hard earned United MileagePlus miles to buy an alternative flight. Because my luggage fees would have been hundreds.
Save $$S by not paying a baggage fee at all
Even better than not having to pay an excess baggage fee is not having to pay a baggage fee at all.
If you’re flying domestic then chances are you’ll have to pay for that checked bag. You can pocket that $50 bucks by fitting everything in carry on luggage.
Pro Tip: check airline baggage fees before you book. Some airlines (cough cough Frontier) charge you even for a carry on bag. It’s sneaky and I don’t like it!
Navigate the airport with ease
You can’t leave you luggage unattended at an airport, so your luggage needs to go everywhere you go.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to lug my entire wardrobe with me…
From the curb to the ticket counter/kiosk
From the ticket kiosk to security
To the bar/restaurant
Into the bathroom
To the gate
Down the center isle
Through customs and immigration
Back out to the curb
Lift your luggage with ease
Wheely bags don’t levitate. If you can roll it but can’t lift it, you’ve got problems.
Being the girl that can’t lift her own bag isn’t cute. It makes you a nuisance to your travel companions if you can’t lift your bag into and out of the car, up over the curb, into the overhead luggage bin, and off the luggage conveyor.
Do yourself a favor and pack a bag you can easily lift. Your back will thank you.
Skip the time spent at baggage claim
And the anxiety of not knowing whether your bag will show up.
11 Ways to Pack Lighter
Now that we’ve talked about why to pack light, let’s talk about how to pack light.
The key to packing light is to pack only what you will actually need or want. Here are 11 ways to help you do it.
Pack from your hamper not from your closet
What you’ll actually want to wear is probably what you actually wear. What you actually wear is probably in your dirty laundry right now.
Pack from your clean laundry basket
This is really a part 2 to number one. After you wash what’s dirty, gauge it’s wrinkle factor once clean.
Packing from your laundry basket will help you identify items that wrinkle easily. Which you should not pack.
If your clothes are wrinkly after sitting in the dry for an hour (or say 24 hours, no judgement here) then they’re going to be wrinkly after sitting in your suitcase for a day, or a few days.
Know how much toiletries you need
Do you know how much shampoo you use in a week? How much conditioner? How much face wash?
Knowing how much of each toiletry you will need for your trip is a great way cut down on weight. Only pack as much as you’ll need.
Use appropriately sized TSA approved containers
If you’re taking a carry on, they you have to pack 3.4 oz or less per container. And for all those containers in less than a quart sized bag.
It’s beyond me why you can pack 6.8 oz in two 3.4 oz containers. But it doesn’t appear it will be changing any time soon.
Once you know how much of each product you use, you can pick the appropriately sized containers to cut down on weight. For me this means the 3.4 oz containers for shampoo and conditioner, and a 2 oz container for face wash.
If you’re going to purchase a new travel set I recommend silicone since it’s BPA free. I’m a bit of a greenie.
Related post: Eco Product Alternatives for a Lower Plastic Lifestyle
Skip what liquids you can
While I’ve committed to packing organic shampoo, conditioner, and face wash. I’m not loyal to a body wash or lotion that absolutely must come with me.
I’m perfectly fine with using whatever the hotel provides. So I often won’t pack one.
Skip the aerosols
While aerosols are technically TSA approved, I’ve seen them confiscated so I skip them. I’m not one to argue with security.
Pro tip: you can pack baby powder in place of dry shampoo. You’re welcome.
Get it when you get there
Don’t try and pack everything you could ever need. If you have a basic wardrobe and your prescriptions, most everything else can be bought when you get there.
Like say that dry shampoo you can’t live without.
Pro tip: while you don’t need an entire OTC pharmacy. Always pack stomach medicine and pain relievers. These are the two things you may need “right now.”
Take advantage of hotel laundry services
I only recently discovered hotel laundry service. It’s a game changer. If your staying in a hotel more than 1 night, you can probably get your laundry done.
Get a travel straightener
My mom recently gave me a travel straightener like this one. It’s awesome. I can let my hair air-dry without blow-drying and still look presentable.
Call and inquire about the hair dryer
If WTF crossed your mind when I said air-dry this one’s for you.
Call your hotel(s) and ask if there is a blow dryer in room. If they provide one you don’t need to pack one. And if they don’t you can always buy a travel blow-dryer to save on space.
Reconsider your souvenir
Is it a trinket that will collect dust? Skip the tourist shops full of clutter.
My favorite souvenirs are coffee and unique candy. Or clothing I will actually wear. I recently came back from Thailand with a pair of elephant pajama pants.
When I discussed this post with my mom and sister (and laughed about how heavy my bag was at the time), my sister’s tip was to not pack the night before.
I always pack the night before so I can’t really weigh in on that tip. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on packing in advance below!