Have you ever started packing for a trip and end up staring at your suitcase and then look at the pile of clothes you’ve selected wondering how you’re going to fit it all? Or, jammed all the “necessary” items in your suitcase(s), arrived at the airport and had to pay extra fees to check an extra bag or pay for one that was too heavy? The excitement of your vacation and all the things you envision doing sends us to bedroom closets and dresser drawers grabbing all the must-have-outfits for each activity of your trip. Yes, most of us have been there. I know I have when I first started to travel. Once I traveled regularly, it seemed to be a fun challenge to pack as light as possible. It made each trip easier– navigating the terminal, to the hotel and during my stay. Here are some things I do to help me travel Light:

  • Review your trip itinerary… and all activities for which I am genuinely interested and will realistically do. Select appropriate clothing. Packing for just-in- case situations adds more than you will actually need. You will return home with clothes you’ve never worn. Right?
  • Consolidate the selected clothing. Do you need all pairs of jeans or will fewer pairs suffice? Some jeans are very similar and your selection can be pared down (see what I did there?). Do you need all those shoes, really? To be fashionable is one thing, to keep things simple is another. Select a comfortable, versatile shoe for your daily activities and, if needed, a dressier shoe that can be paired (did it again 🙂 with multiple outfits. You will save so much room!

  • Avoid bulky clothing. Is it going to be cold? Warmer during the day and colder at night? Try selecting layers that you can combine when chilly or peel off when warmer. You don’t want to pack a big, heavy winter coat and not wear it.
  • Wear clothing more than once. Fashion and the fear of who might notice aside, some clothing items can be worn more than once… others, of course, can’t. You know which ones. Yes, I said it! Why not reduce your load even more with clothing you can mix up for more than just one day. Less clothes, less worry.
  • Consider doing laundry midway through those longer trips. It’s worked wonders for me! More and more hotels, cruise lines, etc. have laundry options. For longer trips, I’ve packed for 1/2 as many days knowing that I can do laundry during those down times of my trip.

When it’s all said and done, what does one really need when traveling? Time and consideration will refine your clothing choices. With the baggage fees and smaller carry-on limits nowadays it’s worth a try. Plus, you can make more room for souvenirs! Plan well. Pack light. Enjoy!