Airline travel ain’t what it used to be! First, there’s basically no more “free” food, unless you want to consider a tiny bag of peanuts a sufficient snack. And now that most airlines are charging for checked bags, lightening your load is a good idea. There is a way to get around these little annoyances, however, and it starts with something my mom has always told me: “Once you’ve ‘finished’ packing, bring half of what’s in your suitcase and take twice as much money!”
Of course, in the winter months, packing lighter is almost impossible because you tend to have bulkier items, but here are few tips that can help you pack lighter and not have to check a bag:
- Buy an expandable roller bag, so you have room for items you bring back on your travels. Be sure it’s within airline guidelines to “carry on” the plane.
- Use a large carry on bag versus a handbag (unless it’s quite sizable) to hold your wallet, key, etc. so you can also fit a book or magazine, cosmetics and electronics (ipod, etc.) all in one bag (especially since you’re only allowed two bags per person on most flights).
- Plan your outfits carefully, to maximize what you pack. For example, plan to wear boots with jeans over the boots one day and boots with a dress the next. Wear your jeans tucked into the boots on the third day with a different top. In three days, you’ve worn one pair of boots, one pair of jeans, a dress and two tops–now that takes up very little space!
- Wear your bulkiest pair of shoes when you fly (as long as they’re not 5-inch stilettos and will have you limping by the time you reach your destination!).
- Use drycleaner bags to wrap/pack clothing that may wind really wrinkled otherwise. The bag helps minimize the mush.
- Roll clothing items versus folding. It’s easier to tuck items into the side of the bag, utilizing every inch of space.
- Eliminate things you really don’t need to bring when travelling: Your own pillow, a robe, bulky slippers (opt for flip flops instead), and a hair dryer (all hotels have them now).
- If you do opt to check your bag, put your cosmetics and an extra pair of underwear in your carry on bag in the event your luggage gets lost.
One thing I can say, is that the new regulations of having to put all liquids in 3 oz. or less bottles has been a blessing in disguise for people who would pack 8 oz. or larger containers of lotions and shampoos, which for four to five days, is completely unnecessary. And, if you’re not all that particular about what type of shampoo you use and you’re staying at a hotel, don’t bother packing it at all because it’ll be there waiting for you! We all love the comforts of home, but to minimize back pain from carrying too much stuff and paying for each suitcase checked (and having to wait for it at baggage claim and the possibility of it getting “lost”), try lightening your load and living without ALL the creature comforts. Change is good and travelling can give you a new perspective on what you really need…and what you can do without.