4 Tips for Traveling Light this Fall

October 03, 2017

No matter your destination, traveling with a lighter load has many benefits. The most obvious is relieving your arms from lugging unnecessary weight, but it also affords you extra freedom and flexibility. Packing light makes it easy to use public transportation, and it frees you up to squeeze in one more adventure (even with bags in tow) before or after checking into a hotel. Plus, flying with only carry-on luggage often saves you baggage fees. The following four expert-approved tips will help you enjoy these benefits on your next adventure.

1. Make a Packing Plan

Write a packing list in advance of your departure. Travel expert Leslie Willmott described to The Washington Post her habit of noting on a calendar her destinations, corresponding weather forecasts and planned activities. She assembles outfits for these specific conditions, covering every expected incidence with as few items as possible.

Consider only expected events and not "what ifs." Rick Steves sums it up: "Don't pack for the worst-case scenario." You can't rule out a rare rain storm or surprise invitation to a black-tie gala, but you certainly don't need to pack for them. Write down only the essentials, then after arranging those items on your bed, perform a final, vigilant purge.

2. Focus on Multipurpose Clothing and Accessories

Wisely selecting clothing means you bring fewer items overall. Opt for neutral-colored garments that mix and match together. Instead of packing a "fancy" outfit for a night out, dress up a plain dress or pants-shirt combination with accessories. Avid travelers often recommend a sarong or pashmina, which functions as a blanket, cover-up, sheet, towel and headscarf all in one. FITS socks are a perfect example of multipurpose clothing, able to keep your feet warm on a chilly mountain trail, cool on the hotel treadmill and comfortable while strolling city streets.

3. Utilize Today's Technology

Modern fabrics make it easy to pack light. From your suitcase itself to outerwear, you'll reduce weight and bulk by selecting high-tech materials. Look for light down-filled jackets, wrinkle-free shirts and stay-dry performance fabrics for outdoor activities. Sweaters and socks made of merino wool, such as FITS socks, are ideal for wearing more than once, as the fabric wicks moisture, eliminates odors and is naturally antimicrobial. Consider a single electronic item, such as a phone or small tablet, that functions as your camera, entertainment and communication device.

4. Downsize Your Luggage

A great tip offered by Lonely Planet's master packer is to start with smaller bags, such as a carry-on-size suitcase, plus a medium-sized backpack. He references the tendency to fill bags large or small to the brim. Simply using smaller bags eliminates over-packing as an option, giving your luggage visible, cheat-proof parameters.


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