Limit Packing To One Piece Of Luggage And One Carry-On Bag
More than one piece of luggage and a carry-on does not equate to packing lightly. One obvious reason for a single piece of luggage is baggage fees, even for the first checked bag, averaging $25 and rising for additional bags. The solution is ensuring the luggage size is FAA-approved for boarding, along with the carry-on bag. Another reason is minimizing risk, due to loss, theft or damage in checked baggage. Other tips to minimize screening time are to remove metal items like watches and glasses and place them in a coat pocket or in a plastic TSA bin.
Use Compression Bags Or Plastic Freezer Bags
When using luggage space efficiently, it’s helpful to use a compression bag or even a large freezer bag, which also helps organize smaller items. A number of retailers sell compression bags, including Eagle Creek, Target and Ziploc. One drawback to compression bags is wrinkled clothing. The solution is to avoid overstuffing the bag, thereby minimizing its weight, or not use a bag at all and instead roll up clothing to minimize wrinkling.
Some travelers can make do with just one pair of shoes, but others require one pair of dress shoes and a pair of walking shoes. Anything else is unnecessary weight. Lightweight sandals are another option, particularly when visiting a destination with warm temperatures. Any walking shoe will lose support, stability and cushioning over time so if a pair of shoes are about six months old, they should be replaced. Walking with shoes lacking proper support can possibly result in increased leg fatigue and injuries like shin splints, knee tendonitis and ankle injuries.
Shoes, pants, shirts, socks, blouses and jackets can all be limited to help pack lightly. Some items, like jeans, are preferred by many travelers, but they’re heavy and take longer to dry versus a pair of slacks. By carrying a travel-sized container of detergent, laundry chores can be performed in the guest room sink, allowing color-coordinated clothes to be used repeatedly. Also, most hotel rooms come equipped with an iron and ironing board. On warm weather trips, an extra pair of pants can also be substituted for a pair (or two) of shorts. Even if it’s a little warm on the day of departure, it helps to wear heavier items like jackets on board and pack lighter items in luggage.
Smart Phones, Tablets And Laptops
These devices require a section of their own. It seems as though everyone in America has a smartphone and due to its compactness, it is the easiest device when packing lightly. Travelers mixing business with vacation may insist on bringing along a laptop or tablet or both, but they will make the carry-on bag much heavier. A good solution is to choose between the need to bring a bulkier laptop vs. a lighter, more compact tablet. Choosing a tablet can also allow vacationers to leave books at home, instead relying on E-Books and travel apps. Additionally, a wide assortment of tablet accessories can help ease woes when leaving the laptop behind, such as Bluetooth keyboards, adapters for transferring photos from a digital camera to a cloud-based application and portable Wi-Fi extenders. Travelers going abroad should also determine whether purchasing a global phone makes sense.
Traveling can become a nightmare if necessary precautions aren’t made, especially when vacationing abroad. No one wants to endure losing a passport, but it happens more often than many travelers realize. The best plan is to secure the passport and bring a photocopy of the passport, driver’s license or other valid ID and social security card for emergencies. If a passport is lost, stolen or mutilated, travelers should know where the American embassy or consulate is located and what steps to take. If precautions aren’t made in advance, it could take up to two weeks to receive a new passport.
Other paperwork worth bringing is a list of medications, photocopies of credit/debit cards and a checklist of items to prepare in advance of the departure. If traveling to an unfamiliar country, travel guides and maps can be replaced by smart apps for use on either a smartphone or tablet and yes, a checklist can be transferred onto a tablet or smartphone. Another solution is to place digitized items onto a compact, USB flash drive.
What Not To Bring
Anything left behind means less weight for luggage and carry-ons. Excessive amounts of jewelry, valuables, unnecessary gadgets like electric toothbrushes, CDs, DVDs and books all contribute to overall weight and should be avoided if possible. Many travelers rely on money belts or pouches but can potentially make themselves an easy target for pickpockets. Camera bags are also an easy target for thieves, but can be more secure when kept in a safe bag.Related: Best Historic Vacations In The US
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.