Right now many of you are on your way to the beach, others getting their bags ready to leave and all the rest dreaming with your next holidays. Whatever the case is, I’m sure that this post will be helpful: how to pack lighter your hand luggage.
Let me know if they do help you this summer ?
1. Don’t pack last minute
Packing your bags on the very last minute means that you won’t be truly thinking about what goes in your bag. My most epic fails have the same thing in common: packing just before leaving to the airport. My sister still makes fun of me for that one time I fled to London with not a single pair of socks in my luggage.
If you need extra help on what to pack or not, use a travel checklist like these.
2. Buy lighter
There are two main reasons why you need to pack lighter: 1) because of the price of going over the limits of airlines and 2) for your health.
I will start by the second because it seems the less thought of: Your bag (and what you put inside) weights too much, but you will have to carry it through stations, take it on the train, go up the stairs of your cute but elevator-less hotel (yes, they do get broken and sometimes they simply don’t have them) and push it inside the overhead compartment on the plane. Wheels won’t help with that most of the times, so you better buy the lighter case (or backpack) you can.
And choose your clothes right, because you can always make lighter choices (and keep your style), and your gifts and souvenirs (you will have to come back at a certain point, and weight limits will be the same).
3. Take advantage of technology
Instead of travel books: ebooks. Instead of maps: apps. You can substitute many of the things in your bag with an app or similar.
Just avoid taking all the gadgets you have: the tablet for Netflix, the ebook to read without damaging your eyes, the camera for bigger photos and the GoPro for action…. You won’t use them all and most of the time you could do the same with your phone. Also, you would have to carry many adapters and plugs.
4. Reduce, minimize…
Have you ever lost your library card when abroad? I know someone who did!
From all the things you always carry with you, I’m sure that at least two thirds you will never use on a trip, even if you wanted to. Don’t know which? the discount card from the supermarket, the gym card, those hairpins you’ve never wore, hairspray…
And of all those things you might use, I’m sure you can find a smaller and practical version you can use. For example, instead of carrying make up removal in a big bottle, you can buy sachets. Or instead of a pack of band-aids with different sizes, you can buy a roll or the box with one size, which you can cut to the smaller sizes when you need them.
5. Plan you outfits
No, this is not a fashion blog, but if you want to pack light, you better think about what you will be wearing and what not. This way you will be able to choose the clothes that you can use more than once, that you can wear over other clothes or that can be more easily combined.
Those that can only be worn once and with a certain something, might be necessary, but try not to have all one-look outfits, it will help you choose day by day and it will be lighter.
6. Never plan for over a week
And a week might be just too much too. What I mean here is that you shouldn’t carry clothes for every single day if you are planning on a medium or long trip. Today, cleaning your clothes while traveling is easier and cheaper: many hostels, airbnb flats and business hotels have coin laundry machines and you could wash things by hand in case of an emergency.
Believe me, it pays off to carry less weight and you will always meet new people while doing that.
7. Fill only 3/4 of your bag
It’s not always possible to do it, but since most of us try to carry over 120% of the bags capacity, try to fill only 3/4 and you might as well have some extra space for those thing you want to bring back home.
When you come back, your clothes are dirty, you won’t take as much time to pack right, you need to add the gifts and other things you bought when traveling… you will need extra room for that.
8. If you can send it, do it
We tend to think that sending things by mail is too expensive, but at many destinations around the world, the cost of postage is amazingly cheap and convenient.
For example, in Japan, you can take your luggage from one corner to the other in 24 hours for less than 20€, instead of carrying it yourself. You can also send home that nice tea set by ship, or those weird books you found at that flea market in Belgium… It doesn’t work as good sometimes (Spanish Correos brand is soooo expensive it’s ridiculous) but most of the times it compensates the extra cost of the airline.
9. Remember: the wold is not “that” wild out there
From every time I’ve ever forgotten something at home, 40% or the time I didn’t really need that and the other 55% I could find at destination. Yes, some things are harder to find or need some more vocabulary than Hola! or Bonjour! But with google and good intention, there is a high chance to find that thing (and you will have a story to tell when you go back home).