Why you should always pack light, and tips on how to do it

We’ve all seen them at the airport: the crabby passenger who is barking at the airline employee who informed him that he has to pay extra for his overweight suitcase.

Or the weary-faced travelers lugging suitcases that are almost as big as they are.

And, of course, the families literally running late for their flights while juggling kids and backpacks and satchels and duffels.

Travel

Sure, you need to bring a certain amount of “stuff” when you travel, but some people go overboard.

To make your trip as easy as possible, consider downsizing your luggage.

THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING LIGHT

While you might worry about not having enough clothes, shoes or needed supplies if you pack too lightly, the pros of traveling this way far outweigh the cons.

Traveling light means never having to pay extra fees for heavy suitcases; you will arrive at your destination with your back and feet feeling good; you can keep easier tabs on your belongings and not risk losing anything; you can keep your stuff with you on the plane or train; and you won’t have tons of laundry to do when you return home.

If you can bring only carry-on luggage, you also avoid the hassle of the endless wait for your suitcase at the carousel, and you might also get to skip the long check-in line at the airport counter.

To make this traveling dream a reality, you have to learn to pack both smart and light.

START WITH YOUR BAG

Put your empty suitcase on the scale and see how much it weighs. Luggage is now a lot lighter and easier to handle than older clunky suitcases. Treat yourself to a new bag and shoot for a 22-inch model with the traditional two wheels on the bottom. Yes, the four-wheeled models are uber easy to pull, but they are also bulkier and harder to get into the overhead bin on the plane.

MAKE YOUR STUFF MULTI-TASK

Instead of bringing along a camera, laptop, tablet, video camera and phone, invest in a smartphone that can do all of these jobs and more.

For example, the Samsung S7 Edge enables you to send emails, check in for your flights, look up maps and information on local tourist attractions, and take videos and endless photos. As a major bonus, it is water-resistant and super sturdy. Plus, it will fit neatly into your purse or backpack, freeing up precious room in your suitcase for other things.

GO FOR MIX AND MATCH OUTFITS

Rather than specific outfits, go for a color palette of one or two complementary hues, and pack clothing that matches with several other things.

Also, unless you are going to Minnesota in December, skip the heavy coat and pack clothes that can be easily layered.

When choosing shoes, also think “double duty” and opt for comfy flats that will get you through a crowded museum while also looking nice in a fancy restaurant. Or go for tennis shoes that you can wear while hiking around town and on the plane.

STICK WITH TRIAL SIZE TOILETRIES

While it’s super easy to toss your bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen and hairspray in a giant Ziploc bag, downsizing your toiletries will save a lot of space and weight.

Most grocery and big box stores have a large selection of travel-sized health and beauty items, or you can purchase re-fillable small bottles and other holders.

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