Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life Skills: Packing Light and Smart

Another great post from guest VikingKitten - a veteran traveler with some tips on keeping your suitcases light!

We travel a lot, so we know what you’re thinking:  You don’t want to be THAT person—the notorious over-packer who takes 5 suitcases on a week-long trip, but you also don’t want to leave anything important behind.  Here’s our top 10 tips for packing light while still covering all the bases:

1.   Make the room to bring a camera:
You’ll regret it if you don’t.
2.       Check the weather before you leave:
This point cannot be emphasized enough, but always remember that weather can be unpredictable.  Make sure to take advantage of layers, and consider bringing a jacket, umbrella, and hat.
3.       Choose clothes in travel-friendly fabrics:
Knit, cotton, and denim travel better than linen or silk, particularly if ironing won’t be an option.  Opt for easy-case fabrics that will retain their shape without the fuss.
4.       Bring versatile shoes:
The average female traveler packs 5 pairs of shoes—what a waste!  Bring a couple pairs of versatile, comfortable shoes in neutral colors, and at least one pair that can handle water/rain.
5.       Make your own travel-size toiletries:
Don’t waste space packing your huge shampoo bottles, and avoid wasting money buying travel-sized bottles of all of your favorite toiletries.  Instead, fill up reusable travel-sized bottles, like these with your existing shampoo, lotion, conditioners, and other toiletries to save both space and money.
6.       Use plastic bags to avoid potential spills:
Speaking of toiletries, make sure to put any bottles containing liquids that may leak into plastic bags to avoid a disaster.
7.       Try space-saving bags:
Affordable bags such as these get great reviews from frequent travelers who want to save space.
8.       Stick with color schemes:
Color schemes make outfits easier to coordinate.  Neutral colors are better because they are easier to mix and match and can handle many climates.
For women in particular—it’s always wise to pack a dress in a neutral color, which can be dressed down during the day with sandals and dressed up at night with heels, jewelry, and a cardigan.
9.       Remember your chargers:
For your phone, camera, laptop, etc.
10.   Pack a scarf:
Scarves are an underrated travel accessory: versatile and worth the space.  They are good for cold weather (for warmth) or for warmer weather (to dress up an otherwise bland outfit). 

And finally, some inspiration:

Any more tips readers? What are your tricks for keeping everything in the carry-on?

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome!

    I usually pack two or three pairs of shoes, depending on whether I need both running shoes and heels. The other pair is flip-flops. A trick I like is to wear the flip-flops on the way going somewhere, figuring that on the way back I won't have time to pack as neatly, or I may have to pack things I've bought, in which case I can pack the flip-flops and wear a bigger pair of shoes.

    I could really use a 3-oz bottle with a spray top for some hair stuff. Has anyone seen one?


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