From the business trip to a weekend getaway, most of us approach packing in a different light depending on the occasion. Business trips call for more formal wear while backpacking through Europe is a whole different ball game. However, all occasions can be simplified if you chose to travel light. Packing light translates into fewer baggage fees because you can carry-on your luggage, less time spent at baggage claim and more mobility. Whether you are taking off on a weekend getaway or heading on the road for several weeks, here are four simple rules to live by for packing light no matter where you are going and why.
Eliminate Bulky and Heavy Bags: The key to packing light starts with your suitcase. You should select a bag that is carry-on size so that you always have that option no matter where the road takes you. In addition, many travelers neglect to look at the specifications of their bag, namely in the weight department. Be sure you buy a bag that isn’t heavy to begin with, even before clothes are added. It is also a good idea to buy a bag that goes for a variety trips. For example, a rolling duffel works for both a business and a leisure trip.
Set a Strict Shoe Limit: It is no secret that shoes are one of the biggest space hoarders in a bag. Whether you are traveling long term or just for a quick business trip, you don’t need twelve pairs of shoes. For most trips, you can get away with two pairs of shoes – one you wear and one you pack. A good rule for shoes is to pack one comfortable, all day wearing sole and one pair that can go a bit dressier if you need it to be.
Avoid One-Outfit Items: When I was traveling for three months in Europe this past summer, I learned a simple rule for packing light – bringing less. You should always pack clothing items that go with more than one outfit combination. Items should be interchangeable in order to create a variety of combinations, giving the appearance of having more, with a whole lot less.
Make A List and Stick To It: Many travelers bemoan packing, waiting until the night before a trip to start the process. No matter the type of trip you are taking, packing last minute always leads to a heavy load. You toss in items you don’t necessarily need but in the heat of the moment, namely an hour before your flight, you throw in the kitchen sink. Lists can help you pack light. Make a very minimalist list of items you must have a week before you trip. Test them out in your bag. If your load is too heavy, it’s time to make some cuts.