Traveling is the great art of distilling what you need down to the essentials. After all, that suitcase can only hold so much. And if you go over the weight limit, you’ll be charged a penalty, something you want to avoid. Fortunately, the market is filled with compact products that help you make the most out of the space in your suitcase. Follow these tips and tricks to travel light and have a great trip.
Use Carry-on Luggage
The first place you should start is your suitcase. The more compact, the better. The space constraints force you to pack fewer items. As an added bonus, you’ll save money on most airlines if you travel with a bag that fits in the overhead compartment. You’ll also save time since you won’t have to check your bag or go to baggage claim. Forbes recommends the 22-inch Timbuk2 wheeled duffel bag that can hold up to one week’s worth of clothes.
Lay Everything out on the Floor
Lay out all the items you plan on bringing, and then ask yourself what you really need, suggests travel guidebook Lonely Planet. For any item that you’re questioning, if the answer is “no, I really don’t need it,” leave it at home. You won’t regret it.
Rely on Hotel Amenities
Instead of hauling all of your toiletries to your destination, only bring the essentials. Most hotels give you soap, body wash, lotion, shampoo and conditioner, so you can leave your own at home. Many also provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, if you ask for them at the front desk. Call your hotel ahead of time to ensure it has what you need before you leave.
Clothes take up plenty of space, too. To avoid bringing too many, pack items you can layer. Bring one T-shirt per day, one zip-up fleece jacket and one heavy coat. Be sure to pack items that you can wear many times. A simple black dress, for example, can take you from sightseeing to dinner with a few added accessories, and it is only one item you have to bring.
Pick Your Shoes Carefully
One of the heaviest items that takes up the most room is your shoes. Bring along dress shoes, athletic shoes and casual shoes as staples, but if you can eliminate any, do so. Also be sure to wear the biggest, bulkiest pair on the plane.
Bring a Versatile Phone
If you have the right smartphone, you can avoid toting along guidebooks, magazines, books and other bulky items because many apps give you access to those items at your fingertips. Most smartphones also are outfitted with stellar cameras, so you don’t have to tote along your full-size one. A full-featured smartphone like the T-Mobile HTC One M9 is a great option because it includes a native photo editor and 20-megapixel camera. If you’re interested in watching movies and TV on the go (an especially great feature if you’re traveling with antsy children), it’s the perfect balance between mobility, screen size and surround-sound experience.