There is nothing worse than having to haul over-sized luggage along with you as you travel the globe. Some people are learning that you don’t have to trudge along a pair of shoes for every outfit that you plan to wear. Most of us realize that lots of heavy luggage is the equivalent of a millstone around one’s neck. It’s not the best use of time when you are trying to get away from it all. So, how do you change your habits mid-stream and learn to love traveling light? It’s not as hard as you think.
1. Try to take clothing that is on its last leg. Finally, the clothing that was totally five seasons ago can earn its keep. Whether it’s well -worn shirts, tops, jeans, skirts or underwear, you can wear it and discard or donate it before coming back home. It’s a great way to clear out the closet and finally put your neglected clothing to good use plus you will have more room for souvenirs!
2. If you are taking a short trip, try to edit your contents down enough to where it will fit into a carry-on. You know the old rule, lay out everything that you think you will need for the trip and then remove half of that. You will experience euphoric joy when you realize that you do not have to grow old standing at baggage claim when you can leave the plane with the bag you brought on.
3. If you are traveling with a lot of electronics, take a small power strip with you so that you will be able to charge them all at once without having to hunt for more outlets in your room. If you are traveling internationally, make sure that the voltage is correct for the country you are visiting. The USA uses 110 volts while Europe uses 220 volts so bring a universal adapter along with you. A simple Google search will let you know the voltage capacity in any given country.
4. Always carry anything of value in your carry-on, never, ever check it if you want to see it again. This means cameras or anything that set you back a few hundred dollars, not family heirlooms that should be left behind anyway.
5. Remember to follow the TSA’s rules and regulations by not bringing any sharp objects, your granny’s shotgun, lighters, liquids or gels over 3 ounces because they will be confiscated and you may find yourself on the business side of a jail cell in some instances.
6. Make a copy of your passport, flight itinerary, hotel confirmation and any reservations that you may have made and place them in your luggage (preferably checked luggage). Should you ever become separated, it will be easier to track you down, if not…well.…….. But if luck is on your side, you will at least have backups of your important paperwork once you arrive.
7. Carry a complete change of clothes in your carry-on. In the event your luggage is delayed or lost, you will have something to fall back on. Otherwise wearing the same duds over and over again will become so repulsive, it will self destruct as a matter of honor.
8. Ziplock bags, you can never have too many (different sizes) and there is always a way to put them to good use. TSA actually encourages you to use them for any liquids that you may be carrying. You may want to uncap your bottles of liquid and cover the opening with plastic then recap it. This will provide a second barrier for you.
9. Take the guesswork out of what clothes you should pack by checking out one of the trusted weather websites like Weather.com. You can get weather forecasts 10 days into the future so you will be able to better plan your trip and hopefully it will prevent you from bringing unnecessary baggage.
10. I find that I can get so much more ‘stuff’ into my luggage by rolling my clothes up. For example, I will take a pair of pants and fold it in half lengthwise. Starting at the belt loops, I roll it over and over until I get down to the hem.
11. There were three great ideas that I got while on my first and last cruise. First, take a toiletry organizer that has a hook on the end. Since space is really a premium in those small staterooms, you will be able to have all of your makeup and toiletries in one small confined space that you can hang on the back of the bathroom door. Second, use a bungee cord to keep your door open if you have an outside cabin with a balcony.
It allows the room to breathe by letting the sea breeze in. Also, some of the doors will lock behind you, so keeping them open will allow you not to be trapped outside. Lastly, bring a bunch of multi colored ribbons to affix to your stateroom door. It will differentiate your room from the other passengers. I can’t tell you how many times I got confused….they all begin to look alike after awhile.
12. Before stepping into the security line at the airport, make sure that any electronics and liquids are stowed in the front pockets of your carry-on luggage. It will enable you to quickly transition through the line without delay. Also, wear shoes that are easy to remove in order to save you time and aggravation.