When you’re going on vacation, you might be tempted to throw a random assortment of clothing and accessories into your luggage and hope for the best. Sometimes, you might include extra items “just in case” or pack an extra stack of socks or toothbrushes. While being prepared is never a bad thing, being over-prepared can cost you not only time but also money and effort that could be spent better elsewhere. Airlines have gotten increasingly strict about carry-on luggage, and while checked baggage doesn’t have the same restrictions, knowing how to pack can save you time, energy and money. In order to make the most of your trip, you should know how to travel light. The following offers some basic guidelines for light travel bags.

Step One: Reduce what you take.

weightThrowing in a few extra socks and sweaters might sound like a good idea, but ask yourself: do you really need them? Consider the duration of the trip and your access to local convenience stores and markets. Most important, make a list of everything you need by identifying the types of activities you’ll be doing.

Packing an extra toothbrush might be acceptable if you’ll be camping in a remote area, but if you’re visiting a city with readily accessible grocery stores, then skip the extras and eliminate clutter. Make a list of your essentials:

  • Undergarments, including socks and layering clothes.
  • Enough clothing for each day of your trip.
  • Accessories like jewelry and glasses with corresponding cases.
  • Toiletries like toothbrushes, combs and razors.

Bearing these in mind, you can then add anything that makes sense, like phone chargers and, if you’re not staying in a hotel that includes them, hair dryers and similar items. Most hotel facilities have laundry rooms. In order to reduce the amount of clothing you pack, consider whether your hotel offers this service and how many shirts you really need. Having a limited amount of clothing also reduces the time you’ll spend picking an outfit for the day, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy your vacation instead of worrying about what to wear.

[title text=”Step Two: Invest in good travel luggage.”]

luggage_bagPurchasing dependable, lightweight travel gear can save you effort and money in the long run. Each airline requires different carry-on dimensions depending, so be sure to check your specific airline for their requirements before you go.

Your goal should be to carry all necessary essentials with you on your carry-on. Why should you bother?

  • The airline might lose your checked luggage; if you have everything with you, you don’t need to worry.
  • Some airlines charge fees for checked bags; you can avoid these fees if you use light travel bags to take on board the plane.
  • Carry-ons will stay with you at all times, so you’ll always know what you’re carrying and whether thieves might have tampered with your bags.

Compare travel luggage for its durability, reliability and weight requirements. Knowing how to travel light means investing in the right equipment for the job. Choose compact pieces of luggage that will expand to include last-minute items or provide an extra inch for another sweater.

Step Three: Practice folding and compartmentalizing.

foldingMany videos exist to teach travelers proper folding techniques and how to optimize space. Utilize these videos as a reference guide, but practice on your own to see what works best for you. If you’re traveling to a place where you know you’ll want souvenirs, make sure to consider this when you’re packing so that you don’t end up stuffing T-shirts haphazardly when you’re packing to go home. Allot space for odds and ends you might forget when you’re ready to zip up. Practice makes perfect. Use all the features of your luggage, like external pouches and hidden compartments, to pack effectively.

Following these guidelines will reduce your stress and allow you to enjoy a more carefree vacation. With strict airline regulations about luggage and the possibility of losing checked bags, you’ll take comfort in knowing that your carry-on holds everything you need to enjoy a trip no matter the duration. Even if you’re driving or taking another form of ground transportation, you’ll still want to maximize space and save your energy by optimizing your travel luggage. Travelers who know how to travel light will save time, money and effort whether they’re driving or flying to their destinations. Light travel bags are the cornerstone to a wonderful, stress-free vacation.

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