5 Effective Steps to Travel Packing
The Carry-On. Your travel light packing ultimate goal. We've all been there.
You're lugging bags from the car to your hotel, huffing and puffing and wondering why you packed so much.
Or, perhaps, you're standing by the luggage carousel at the airport, trying to avoid the stares of fellow travelers as you unload endless pieces of luggage.
Once, looking at the heavy luggage I was dragging from the carousel, a fellow traveler asked me if I was running away from home. I wish, at that time, I could make myself invisible.
Well, I got so embarrassed that since then, I only buy carry-on suitcases. Over-packing is as common as those last-minute frenzied searches for your passport, and it can put just as big a dent in your vacation fun.
Until now, I still can't remember how my friends and I managed to get our big suitcases into the train from Rome to Paris. That was a travel nightmare. Never again!
Thankfully, there's an easy way to avoid it – go light! Yes, it's hard at first. Yes, you're going to need to exercise some atrophied self-restraint muscles. However, once you experience your first lightly packed vacation, you'll never go back to your old, sitting-on-the-suitcase ways.
Pack Light -You Don't Need that Extra Pair of Heels
Here are some some ways you can pare down your packing to what you really need:
1. Have a Packing Plan
Yes, a plan. You plan for loads of things in your everyday life, right? You make lists for trips to the grocery store and to-do lists which help you get all your errands done. Why not apply the same logical approach to packing?
To begin, roughly outline your vacation in your head. Will you be spending time in the wilderness? On the beach? Eating out – will it be at street carts or in restaurants? Each activity requires different attire, so try your best to pack for every possibility.
However, be realistic. If you're headed for a relaxed beach vacation, where the majority of time will be spent on the sand or in the water, and where your most 'formal' dining experience will be a burger wrapped in foil, you do not need to pack a 'just in case' little black dress. Or the heels that go with it. Just say no.
2. Choose carefully
Once you've got a reasonable picture in your mind of what your clothing needs will be, it's time to pare down even more. Besides, there might be bargains in the cities you're going to so leave space for purchases. We were just in Spain and the UK and it's the end of season sale where you can't just turn away from the bargains. I had to throw out some of my things to have space for the new purchases.
Clothing is not your only need, so you need to leave room for other items. Do you take any medications? They need space. So do all your personal items, such as makeup. Are you planning on doing some beach reading?
Choose carefully – books are heavy – and remember that they can be borrowed from many beach hotels once you arrive. Kindle or iBooks are useful. I enjoy reading from my smart phone. It is light to hold ad I can easily make the text bigger for a better reading experience.
3. Double-and Triple-Duty Pieces
Some of your best travel friends are wardrobe staples that can do double, triple and even quadruple duty.
Pack shirts which can be dressed up for fine dining and down for a casual daytime stroll through the village.
If you can, pare your shoe wardrobe down to just one pair, two at the most, as shoes take up lots of space and are heavy. Scour your closet (and your friends' closets) for pieces that have more than two uses.
When you're travelling to a hot climate, just bring a pair of sandals. Or bring one of your old pairs, easy to walk on and one you can easily throw out if you need space for those hardly avoided souvenirs.
4. Your Ultimate Goal – the Carry-On
For us, even our checked in suitcase is now the size of a big carry-on. From experience, in the worst of delays from another flight, we were able to get on the next plane because our checked-in luggage easily fitted in the carry-on compartment. We decided on this because at our age, this is easier to carry and take out from the luggage carousel.
A carry-on suitcase is one which fits the dimensions of an airplane's overhead storage compartment. This avoids the annoying risk of having your luggage lost, in addition to being endlessly convenient.
The luggage industry has some incredibly roomy pieces available, which make use of every last inch of space. It may seem impossible now, but it's not out of reach – with some careful planning, you will soon be enjoying the stress-free, carefree world of packing light.
5. Buy things you might need in your destination.
You must have packed things in the past which you bring home from your travel unused. Still, you tell yourself, "you'll never know...just in case".
The world has changed. You will find most of these things where you're going, even better many times so if you're in a jam there which often does not happen, you can get those things easily.
If you're used to lugging several pieces of luggage around on vacation, the carry-on goal may be a bit much for your first light-packing vacation. However, it should be your ultimate goal.
We drove around Spain and Portugal in November and December and because it is cold, nobody really sees what you wear so we got by with one bag. It is providential as the stairs we have to climb in some of the places we rented and the distance of the available parking as well.
I just saw yesterday two women lugging a super huge luggage from the Metro here in Barcelona. Both of them could hardly raise it. Why do that to yourself?
It's not as impossible as it sounds – many celebrities and supermodels have revealed that they only travel with a carry-on suitcase. They travel all the time, and they know the value of packing light!
For more on travel packing: