As many of you know, I recently returned from a wonderful two week long vacation abroad, and while preparing for it, I learned a lot about how to significantly lessen your luggage load (you can thank RyanAir for that). I thought I'd share just a few of those tips with you today, and hopefully you'll find a little nugget or two that might be helpful when getting ready for your next travel holiday! Ready? Let's dive in:
1. First things first: Invest in hard-sided, lightweight luggage. I can't tell you how many times my fabric luggage has been torn going through rough handling at airports! If you travel a lot, hard-side is the way to get the most mileage out of your luggage, and my new hard-side is actually lighter than my old upholstery case empty. It also does a great job of protecting your valuables, as other luggage can't squash it when thrown or stacked. - While you're at it, look for a case with 360-degree swiveling wheels. They will make gate to gate connections a breeze!
2. Use space bags. Fabulous for bringing your own pillow along for the ride, these little babies will shrink it down to almost nothing! We also love to use space bags for our dirty clothes. Besides saving space, it allows you to fit everything easily back in your suitcase without re-folding, and keeps your clean clothes fresh and separate! We have never had trouble asking the housekeepers to use their vacuum hose for a moment to shrink our bags back for homeward travel. They are usually happy to help!
3. Find lightweight, supportive shoes. Shoes can take up a lot of space and weight in your suitcase. Flip-flops fit the lightweight part of that bill, but aren't so great for traipsing around the streets of your destination all day long. My favorite travel shoes that pack well, are super lightweight, and give you fabulous support at the same time are: TOMS Canvas Classics - great for an enclosed casual shoe, and CROCS Patricia Sandals which can go from the beach or pool to more dressy occasions with ease. The foamy foot bed truly feels like you're walking on air!
4. Bring multi-functional pieces of clothing. One of my warm-weather favorites in the versatile department is this Convertible Maxi Skirt from Target. You can wear it as a skirt or a sleeveless dress. With a belt or without. With a pretty top and cardi for nicer occasions, or with a casual tank for relaxed days. You can wear it as a cover up. You can wear the dress bare-shouldered with statement jewelry, heels, and a wrap, and it's almost formal! You will get your moneys worth +++ out of these fabulous skirts. I promise!
5. Plan to visit a laundromat. If you're traveling for two weeks, pack for one - then plan on making an hour stop in at a self-serve laundromat!
6. Purchase toiletries when you arrive at your destination. Bottles of lotion, shampoo, shower gel, and shaving cream add up to a lot of space and weight - two things at a premium when you are packing. If you know you will be near a drugstore/supermarket/gas station when you arrive, just plan to purchase those things, use what you need on your trip, and pitch the rest before you pack back up. I can't tell you how many almost-used-up travel bottles I've brought home with me. Trust me here: YOU'LL NEVER USE THAT LAST TEASPOON. Pitch them. *Bonus, you won't have to try and squeeze so many liquids into those quart sized bags for airport security!
7. Wear your heaviest, bulkiest items on the plane. If you're bringing boots, a jacket, wool sweater, etc. wear them as you board the plane. You can always take them off and stuff them in an overhead bin when you are seated. Much easier to wear these items than to try to smoosh them into your suitcase!
I hope these little tips have you thinking about even more ways you can simplify and make packing a little less overwhelming and a little more economical for your next trip.
Today, I can also be found at my friend Kelsea's blog: Overwhelmed by Grace talking about a recent visit to Greenville for her Travel Week: 5 Bloggers, Five Destinations. Go check it out!