Please enjoy this guest post from Imogen Pearce. Imogen is addicted to travel and is now on a quest to visit every European city this year. She shares her tips on budget travel, packing light and seeing the hidden spots of each city.
No one wants to pack more for a trip than they need: not only is it a hassle to keep track of everything and lug your bags around, but it can wind up costing you money as well.
A quick search of the baggage fees for each of the major airlines will show you that you can actually save a decent amount of money when you’re traveling by not checking a bag at all. That means that you’ll have to master the art of packing light and using your carry on as your suitcase for the entire trip. This may sound impossible, but it’s really not that hard if you take the right steps. Here are a few pointers if you want to skip the heavy packing — and the fees that go along with it — for your next trip.
Buy the Right Bag
If you’re going to fit everything you need into one small bag, you better make sure it’s the right type of bag. A backpack that’s meant for schooling is just not going to cut it.
There are tons of different options for you when it comes to finding a bag that will work as a carry-on. The key things you need to look for are size and durability. You need to find a bag that’s small enough to fit into the overhead compartment so you comply with the different airline carry-on restrictions, but you need it to be durable enough to hold all of your items without breaking down after one or two trips.
Also, look for comfort because you will be wearing the bag on your back a lot of times. If you can, try a few different ones out before you buy to see which ones are most comfortable for your build and posture.
Pack Right and Pack Light
Since you will be forced to only use one bag for your trip, you need to make sure to bring everything you’ll need without bringing anything extra. This means packing right and packing light.
The reason you want to pack light in the first place (besides avoiding those fees) is so you can navigate through the airports quickly and efficiently and not have to worry about keeping track of too many items. So it would be counter-productive to try to shove everything you can think of into your carry on.
Utilize all of the small zipper compartments throughout your pack for your passport, ID or any other important documents you may have, as well as your keys and other valuable items. For you clothing, it’s best to roll them instead of folding them: this will save you time and space.
Ditch the Toiletries
Since you’re packing light, you want to avoid anything that adds extra weight, and items like soap, shampoo and deodorant all take up valuable space and add weight.
Think about it: wherever you are going will have a store nearby. Even if you are traveling to the middle of nowhere, you’ll be able to pick up essential toiletries at the airport once you land. For just a few extra dollars, you can have that extra room in your backpack for more clothing or that electronic device you thought you’d have to leave behind.
If you’re not comfortable leaving these items behind, purchase small travel containers and pour your shampoo and shower gel into them. This will still give you a little extra room and you won’t be anxious about finding the items once you land.
Bring a Personal Item
One loophole that travelers may not know about is that you are allowed to bring a personal item in addition to your carry-on with most airlines.
Personal items include purses, laptop bags, camera bags, diaper bags, and briefcases. If you can’t seem to fit everything you’ll need into your carry one, you can pack the overflow into one of these items. The general rule is that it has to be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Of course, these items may need to have the item they were intended for inside them, but you can take advantage of any extra space they will afford you.
You can avoid baggage fees by traveling with a carry on only. Try it next time you want to pack light.
What tips do you have for packing light?