Although baggage allowances remain pretty much the same as they’ve always been, airlines have been making it less and less convenient and more costly to have our holiday luggage transported in the hold. More of us are learning how to travel with just hand luggage whilst for others it a complete anathema and we wouldn’t know how to begin. Here are 8 ways to travel light.
In order to qualify as hand luggage your bag has to be within certain dimensions. Although they are roughly the same, each airline varies within a range. Generally it’s around 17x13x7 inches. At seatguru.com you’ll find the dimensions permitted for each airline. A softer bag is also lighter and more pliable and not necessarily less secure or protective of your belongings.
It may sound old fashioned but make a list of everything you think you should take as it’s one of the key ways to travel light. It should save you trying to find space for that vital forgotten item just when you thought you’d finished. It also helps you weed out anything you can do without if your list is too long. Cardinal rule: Don’t pack anything “just in case”.
The most efficient of all ways to travel light is to throw everything you think you know about packing out of the window. The most common way of packing is folding everything into small squares but the creases and folds actually create more bulk. The best way to optimise space is to roll clothes together. Go to onebag.com for the detailed instructions for this method.
Until the rules change (and it might be soon), you can carry liquids only in 100ml (4floz) bottles and stored in a clear plastic bag. But, unless you use special toiletries, consider leaving the whole lot at home. Decent hotels have complimentary toiletries and unless you’re going to the back of beyond you can buy toiletries at your destination and leave them behind when you go home. Leave your large expensive perfume bottles out of the luggage too. Pick up tester packs wherever you see them and take those instead. Another alternative is to use solid shampoos and soaps etc which are much easier to pack anyway because of their shape. Try lush.com
Some of the ways to travel light require a bit of thought, maybe a bit of forward planning and possibly an initial outlay. Anything that has a dual purpose, particularly in the clothing line is perfect for lightening the load without losing choice and functionality. A sarong isn’t just a sarong for instance. It’s got tons of uses. A skirt, a dress, a shawl, a beach mat …
If you are having to take any heavy clothing wear it rather than pack it and for light gear as many items as you can without looking daft, feeling uncomfortable or being able to fit in your seat. You can always take things off whilst you are on the plane.
Think carefully about other bulky items. Do you really need a hairdryer or a travel iron? Will your holiday be ruined if you can’t use your hair straighteners? Limit your pairs of shoes and use the insides to hold rolled up pieces of underwear, socks or whatever else.
How many TV adverts have you seen for those plastic bags that once the air is sucked out of them the contents reduce to practically nothing? Why they advertise these as ways to travel light I don’t know. What happens when you reach your destination and you let the air back in? You have a pile of clothes so creased they look like an elephant’s skin. Not only have you left the iron at home because you’re being clever with your packing but also, where is the vacuum to suck the air out again when you pack for home?
There are lots of items available that present ways to travel light. Check out things like Ultimate Travelwash which cleans absolutely anything and everything, packing cubes and organizer pouches which condense and organise contents and travel towels which are a fraction the size of a normal towel but highly absorbent.
With ways to travel light, packing should become a pleasure not a chore and a less stressful start to your vacation. If anyone has any more handy tips or handy travel products please share them with us.
Top Photo Credit: Tandem Guy
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