Have any advice for how to travel lightly? Please add it to this article.

People have a variety of reasons for traveling lightly. The different reasons may result in different definitions. For instance, some people want to stay under airline weight limitations; others don't want to have to carry so much weight; and for others it means reducing bulk (so luggage fits in the car or overhead bin). Some other reasons for traveling light are:

  1. Security: Once you travel light, the chances of loss and damage is less.
  2. Cost advantage: It is always economically advantageious to travel light. It is less costly.
  3. Mobility: While traveling light, your mobility increases. You may move with your luggage with ease which would not have been possible with bulky luggage.

As you make adjustments to your luggage, don't forget the travel necessities. But, also remember advice by Rick Steves which he declared in the International Travel News (March 1998) that the biggest mistake tourists do is "Packing too heavily..." He was right as many have discovered after practical experience.

To Reduce WeightEdit

Obviously, one way to reduce weight is to take fewer items, but what?

  • Some items will be easily available at your destination, many hotels supply soap, shampoo, irons and hair dryers.
  • If you are traveling with relatives or good friends, coordinate. For instance, if you are taking reading material, travel DVD players or music, and you have similar tastes, by sharing, you can reduce the amount you need to take. You may even be able to share basic toiletries (toothpaste, antacids, etc.) or items like hairdryers.
  • A coat with a removable lining can be adjusted for a variety of temperatures. (Layerable clothing is also good.)
  • A sweatshirt can be worn, used as a nap pillow or even neck support (instead of a neck pillow on a flight).
  • Travel or sample size toiletries are great provided you are not going to be gone for more than a few days. You can also use full size bottles, but only half full to cut down on weight. Or you can buy your own mini bottles to fill from a full bottle.
  • Plan to buy things at your destination and throw some things out before returning. If you are going to buy clothing as souvenirs, you can wear it on your trip unless afraid of looking like a tourist. You can also throw out clothes after wearing them if you were considering getting rid of them anyway. If you realize you hate that flavor toothpaste or scent of perfume while on a trip, don't take it back home to throw away later.

To Reduce BulkEdit

  • Pack socks in your shoes and small items in the corners of your luggage.
  • Use the plastic travel bags (Air is pushed out through a one-directional valve and the space taken by cloth is reduced.)
  • Roll your clothes to keep them compact and easily stackable even in a dufflebag or backpack.
  • Be able to mix and match your clothes. Take only shoes you actually need, like one pair of dress shoes if you are going to an evening show and one pair of boots if you are going hiking. Take clothes that coordinate with each other easily and have no more than one outfit for every day you are gone; you can probably get by on less, especially if you can launder your clothes in sinks. Lay the items out on your bed if you must to see how things go together.
  • Try carrying your luggage around your home and up and down steps a few times. You may be able to streamline things remarkably after that sudden realization that is actually wears you down.
  • Pack enough snacks and drink for one day and then restock when you arrive at your destination. Don't feel a need to pack enough food for an entire week unless you are camping. Also make sure the food you take is mostly food, not packaging. Meal bars, good; bags of potato chips, bad (more space for air than food). Plastic bottles, good; glass bottles, bad (thicker and heavier). Yes, the hotel vending machines cost more than your grocery store, but carrying that six pack across an airport will make you willing to pay for that convenience.
  • Know what you are able to do without. Do you have to take all your makeup, or can you take just a small bag of the basics? Will wearing the same pants two days in a row drive you nuts, or can you roll with it? Will you constantly be wishing you had your camera, or forget to take pictures from being too busy having fun? Take as little jewelry as possible; less to lug and less to lose.
  • Consider how much entertainment you actually need. While kids may need plenty of toys to keep them busy, one giant puzzle book or novel may be enough for you. You can usually find magazines or other books in countless places if you go through what you have. Consider if you need both your laptop and walkman, or if you can be happy with just one or the other.
  • Also consider if you will actually use what you take. Will you actually use your video camera often enough to justify carrying it around? Would you be happier lugging your skis around and not using them, or paying to rent them if you do manage to hit the slopes?

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