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Seasoned Travelers know that there is an art to packing. It takes skill that is developed over many many trips. Now that airlines are getting stricter on passenger luggage, it’s time to think a little more carefully about what you NEED to bring, as opposed to what you WANT to bring. The packing pros have the following mantra: “Keep it lean and light and you won’t have to lug”. And if that sounds too vague to you, then the following ten tips will spell it out for you in more detail, so you can travel lighter for your next flight.
Know Your Limit
Exceeding your luggage limit will cost you dearly. Airlines are changing their baggage rules on the fly, and charging passengers more for bringing more. The first packing rule is to know that an airline is not a buffet – it’s not an all-you-can-bring. Before you pack, the weight, dimensions, and how many carry-ons you have will all be subject to fees if you go overboard.
Pick Your Luggage Wisely
Don’t bother wasting precious pounds on luggage that weighs a lot, even when empty. Your best bet is to buy extra-light luggage. For example, a lightweight hard-shelled roller will be both easy to maneuver, while lightening the load. Soft duffels are another great bag, as the weight will come from the contents, not the bag itself.
No To Black
Did you know that over 70% of travelers have a black suitcase, which makes it very difficult to tell which one is theirs coming off the luggage carousel? This eats up valuable time, and can be very frustrating – especially when the point of your trip is to relax. Do yourself a favor the next time you’re out buying luggage, and don’t buy black.
Weight In Both Directions
Hand-held scales are a seasoned traveler’s most valuable tool. You may think you’re underweight, but you’d be surprised how much little purchases and extras can pack on the pounds. So make sure to not only weight your luggage on the way to your destinations, but also on the way back.
Make A Plan
Do you know what kind of trip you’re taking? How many days will you be gone for? What about the weather? And how about what kinds of activities you’ll be doing as well? Jotting down exactly what you’ll be doing will help you to figure out what – and how much – you’ll need to pack.
Plan Your Plane Outfit
Here’s a pro travel tip: wear your heaviest outfit on the plane. That’s right, your thick jeans, loafers, knit sweaters, parka if you need it – the airline can’t charge you for weighing more. Besides, it’s always a good idea to dress warmer, rather than cooler, on the plane.
Less Is More
While this is one of the harder tips to follow, it’s best to take less than you think you’ll need. The truth is, most people rarely wear everything they pack. And far too many pack way too much in the event (which never comes) that they’ll need a new wardrobe change throughout the day.
Choose Multitasking Items
You know what cargo pants are? Luggage pants. Yes, you need to start looking at things for their alternate purpose. Embrace anything that can allow you to multitask. FYI, a sarong makes a great skirt, and beach cover-up.
Roll, don’t fold your soft garments. By rolling, bulkier items can be packed in an interlocking manner, which not only reduces creases in clothes, and eventual ironing, but also stacks into your luggage better. And remember, shoes and heavier items should be on the bottom, and your belts rolled up and placed in the corner.
Invest in some water-resistant packing cubes. They help compress items such as your socks, underwear, and toiletries – items that can get muddled around in your luggage otherwise. Also, try throwing a dryer sheet into your suitcase of dirty clothes on the way back, to help reduce the smell that can seep into your bag.