No matter how you look at it, packing light is the first step to enjoying a hassle-free vacation. But somehow, we all end up taking along much more than we need in our luggage. So here are some tips for packing light that will help you lug less, pay less checked-bag fees, and save room for souvenirs to bring back home.
Start with your bag first, not with clothing and other items. That way, you’ll always have in mind the size and shape of everything you bring. Lay out every item you plan to pack. If you’re not sure you’ll use it, or even if you might wear it only once, you probably don’t need it.
Bring basic wardrobe staples that you can wear in multiple situations. Versatility and low maintenance are key. And bring the colors that “go with everything.” Men – think dark blue jeans, plain, high-quality t-shirts (that can be dressed up or down), unstructured blazer (that folds easily and won’t take up much space). Women – think no more than two good dresses. One if possible. Then dress it up or down with accessories like belts and jewelry for the occasion, whether casual or elegant.
Think “no air pockets” and store belts, socks, and similar small items inside the shoes you’re packing. And speaking of shoes, you don’t really need to bring more than two pairs: a packed pair for dressier activities and a more casual and comfortable pair (the pair you’ll be wearing when traveling). Roll-fold shirts, shorts, and pants. Rolling them up with care will minimize the space each takes up without causing undue wrinkles. Or, try using packing cubes, which many travelers swear by.
Wrinkle-free and synthetic items are your friends. They pack quickly, and unpacking and repacking them won’t cause them to crease. What’s more, they’re often relatively stain-repellant, and synthetic threads typically dry quicker than standard cotton.
If you’re going on a sun-drenched beach vacation or to any warmer climate, you’ll obviously need clothing that’s less bulky, and probably less of it, too. That said, if you’re taking heavier clothing, if possible, wear your bulkiest clothing items when flying. If they’re on you, they won’t be taking up space in your luggage.
Don’t bring toiletries that you could easily buy at your destination. Also, no need to pack bulky towels that will be waiting for you at your hotel. And leave the travel guidebooks at home on the shelf. You can look up most things on your phone when you need to. Or better yet, let your knowledgeable Concierge help you out with tips and planning vacation activities.
Finally, the accommodations you choose can also aid in packing less. With so many condo-type hotels available, in-unit washers and dryers are becoming more common. This allows you to pack less and wash your clothes whenever needed. Throw in a load before you go out for dinner and pop them into the dryer when you return to your room. And launder items before you depart for home so they’ll be clean, fresh, and ready to wear when you get there, thereby making unpacking just as quick and easy as packing.