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Packing Lightly
1 Apr

Leave Your Baggage Behind: Tips for Packing Lightly

Packing a suitcase for traveling should be considered an art; at least to those that do it well.  I think we all know that traveling with heavy baggage can be a real bummer. It’s heavy, bulky and tough to manage dragging you down. Relief at the airport bag drop can’t come soon enough. But don’t forget about those the expensive fees that most airlines impose for your bags, as if they were passengers themselves. Maybe we should take a hint from the airlines and rethink how we pack our bags for travel. Think again about how you pack your bags and set a goal to pair down your baggage. It’s time to relieve yourself from the burden of baggage, save yourself a few headaches and lots of cash by reexamining your packing process. Check out these tips for packing lightly.

Choose your suitcase wisely

Don’t bog yourself down by choosing the wrong suitcase. Keep your baggage from becoming your “baggage”.  Do you really need the biggest suitcase you’ve got? If you can fit the contents of your entire dresser, it’s time to make another selection. Slim it down from the get go by using a smaller bag. A smaller bag will not only keep you from overloading with things you really don’t need, but it’s lighter and easier to navigate through the crowds at the airport. A smaller suitcase will also help you minimize and be more selective about what you actually put in it. If you take the biggest suitcase available, you are likely to fill it with items regardless of whether you need them or not. The key to packing lightly is to not over pack.

Feet First

Think feet before you pack anything. Of course shoes can make or break your outfit, but the reality is that shoes mess up the packing process. Sadly shoes can take up a lot of space in your suitcase and they can really weigh your bag down. Having the right footwear available to you is important, of course, but ask yourself how many pairs of shoes will you really need on your trip. If you are going to be relaxing on a beach much of your trip, the reality is you probably don’t need as many pairs of shoes as you think…or would like to think.  

Dial it down by taking a minute to look over your vacation itinerary. Look at what activities are you planning to participate in and think about the most appropriate footwear for each. Chances are, you’ll be able to double up and use one pair of shoes for many of your activities. Think necessity first, then couple that with your style. If you will need a pair of bulky shoes for a rainforest hike, then save the space in your suitcase by wearing them while traveling to and from your destination. Take the headache out of packing lightly. 

Cosmetics and Personal Care Items

Cosmetics and personal care items can be killer when it comes to packing lightly but it is important to leave some of these behind too. Analyze your collection of cosmetics and toiletries sitting on your bathroom counter. Though some of the bottles and tubes may be small, it’s time to think minimal. You really don’t need to bring all five of your face creams. Trust us, you can live without some of them for your vacation. Go ahead. Skip a few steps in your daily beauty routine, especially if you will be spending time snorkeling or zip lining.  Don’t forget: you are on vacation. Grab the basics and the sunscreen and get out of your routine. Isn’t that what vacationing is all about anyway?


When deciding which clothes to bring, lay them out so they are easy to see. Choose articles and colors that can easily be mixed and matched. Ditch anything that cannot be used more than once during your trip. Unless it’s for a special occasion like a wedding, you can get away with re-purposing a couple of pair of shorts. Pair them with different tops the second time around and no one will notice. Get rid of anything that is similar to another item. Multiples of the same khakis are just not necessary and are a waste of space in your suitcase. And you probably don’t need to bring every bathing suit that you own. Choose just a few instead.

For larger items that you might need to take with you, like a sweater or jacket, consider wearing it or carrying through the airport instead of trying to jam it into your suitcase.  This makes packing lightly easier and you’ll have something to keep you comfortable if you get cold on the airplane.


Electronic devices can be invaluable, especially when traveling. But don’t bring all of your devices. If you are bringing on with, choose one device that is multi-functional and can serve as a handful of items all in one. Take along books, movies, travel apps, event tickets and itineraries all on a single device. Or even better, consider unplugging while you are vacationing. Leaving your electronics behind can lighten your load in more ways than one and really help you enjoy your time away.