According to a report done by the US Department of Transportation, US domestic airlines made over $5 billion in baggage fees just in 2017 alone. Unfortunately, this number keeps going up as they increase the cost of check baggage.
To avoid these excess costs while traveling, the only thing you can do is know how to travel light. This way, not only will you travel with only a carry on bag, but you will also avoid dealing with waiting in long lineups to check your bag and pick it up at the carousel.
The only problem is, do you know how to travel light enough that you can stuff all of your belongings into a carry on sized bag? This is a skill that not many people can achieve.
Thankfully, we’ve created this article to teach you how to travel light, so you can save your back, and your wallet!
1. Start Small
If you have a large suitcase in front of you, you will pack enough items to fill it up. This also means that if you switch it out for a smaller suitcase, you will only pack the number of clothes you need to sustain you for your trip.
No matter the size of the bag, we naturally aim to fill it up. This trick alone is one of the best ways to ensure you pack light.
If you must have a bigger bag, you can always use a left luggage service if you want to explore while at your travel destination.
2. Pack, Then Re-Pack
One of the best travel tips we can give you is to carefully select all of your items that you want to bring with you, lay it all out in front of you, pack it, then take out half of it. Once you have removed half, repack your bag again, and take out even more!
We naturally feel inclined to pack more than we need, so this trick will help you to pack only what is actually needed for your trip.
3. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are god’s gift to travelers! They are easy to pack and they are perfect for helping you to stay organized. Start by organizing your clothes into categories such as underwear and socks, pants, shirts, shorts, and swimsuits. Then arrange each category into its own packing cube for easier storage.
Some packing cubes even have compression zippers, which will help you to decrease the size of your bag by up to half. Make sure you do your research and find packing cubes that are durable enough to handle multiple trips.
4. Limit Your Shoes
Contrary to typical belief, you do not need to take as many shoes as you believe. No matter where you are going, all you need is one pair of comfortable walking shoes (runners will do fine!) one pair of sandals, and one pair of dressy shoes.
This rule will only change if you are planning on going on a hiking trip. In this case, you will need to pack hiking boots and a comfortable pair of sandals for the end of the hike.
5. Ditch the Unnecessary Toiletries
Toiletries add up quickly, up to two extra liters of weight to your carry-on luggage. Many people feel they need to pack everything under the sun for those “just-in-case” moments. However, what they are not aware of is that all of those items you can purchase when you arrive at your destination.
Every country in the world has shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste, so why waste your precious packing space to pack something that you can easily get upon arrival?
If you really want to use the products you have, look for a good set of travel-sized toiletry bottles and fill those up instead. This will cut your weight down tremendously, plus it will allow you to take a carry-on sized bag and avoid those hefty baggage fees.
6. Ditch the Books
This may sound scary, but hear us out on this first. Reading books is one of the best things you can do while traveling, it is a great way to pass time, and zone out from the stimulation of the world around you. However, books are not light, and they can add a ton of weight to your baggage.
Instead, swap your paperback books out for a Kindle or E-reader. This means you can have more books with a smaller size, so you can switch between books whenever you feel like it. You can even have a guidebook such as the Lonely Planet edition on your E-reader, instead of lugging around the giant physical edition.
7. Pack Lightweight Clothing
The travel industry has become so advanced that there are even special lighter clothing options for your packing pleasure. Switch out your heavy, bulky clothing for lighter fabrics such as merino wool, cotton, and linen.
Brands such as Northface may seem expensive, however, they last for a long time and they are extremely packable. If you are traveling to a colder climate, pack some leggings or long-underwear to wear underneath your jeans.
8. Wear Your Bulky Items
If you cannot seem to pack a few of your favorite, heavier items, wear them on the plane instead! If you feel that you cannot go without them, plan your outfits so that you can have more room in your bag. The temperature at the airport is cooler, so you will not feel super uncomfortable wearing boots and jeans, but you may sweat a bit if you have to run to the gate!
9. Remove the Towel
Towels are the bulkiest item you can pack in your suitcase, however, what do you do if you need to have one on your trip? Thankfully, there are incredible inventions called travel towels! Travel towels are lightweight, fold up easily, and dry very fast.
You can also travel with no towel at all because there are will be many places for you to purchase one on your arrival.
Learn More About How to Travel Light
There you have it! By following this guide on how to travel light, you can avoid those pesky baggage fees and feel the freedom of using only a carry-on bag.
To learn more travel tips like these, check out the travel section of our blog!