When you are heading for a foreign destination for the first time, it can be hard to pare down your belongings and travel light. After all if you are not certain about the weather or your plans for sightseeing, it can be hard to anticipate what kind of clothing you will need.
Consequently, most novice travellers will pack far more than what they need, to make sure they have all the bases covered from rain to cold weather to hot temperatures.
There are many disadvantages to over-pack that impact both your trip expenses and your comfort while travelling. For instance, the average airline charges $30-$50 per bag for checked luggage. Don’t try to save money by cramming all your belongings into one large suitcase. If you plan to pack heavily, anticipate an extra $100 per piece of luggage for round-trip baggage fees.
Photo Credit: Ecotourismperhutani
Transportation and Accommodation Fees
In addition to airlines charging extra for luggage, travelling with multiple bags will cost you more in cab fare and hotel service tips. Would you like your bags taken to your room? Anticipate an extra $10-$15 charge for an appropriate tip when checking in and again while checking out. If a shuttle driver has to wrestle with your bags, he or she will expect a tip also to and from the hotel.
If you are travelling with a family, it may even be necessary to take more than one cab depending on the cumulative amount of luggage you have with you. Packing multiple suitcases can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars in extra fees.
In short, when you consider the added inconvenience of having to carry, pull, pack and unpack multiple suitcases, over packing on a vacation makes very little sense.
Less is More: Making Travel Easier with Less Baggage
Consider the advantages of travelling light on your vacation. Not only will you spend less money in baggage handling fees but you will also avoid all of the inconveniences of travelling with luggage. By packing light, you will be able to focus on what matters most: having fun!
If you can manage to pack your clothing, shoes and sundries into a small carry-on suitcase and utilize a handheld bag (which can be stored under or in front of your airplane seat) for other essentials, you can avoid checking baggage in altogether. That means reducing your time in line both heading to and returning from your vacation. You can also eliminate the need (and added frustration) of having to wait by the luggage carousel to pick up your bags.
Packing light can also help you breeze through international customs for foreign travel. A small bag that can be sent through the carryon x-ray is less concerning than a number of bags which may be flagged for inspection. While people are being pulled aside and asked to open their suitcases, chances are you will be able to walk through to the security check-in at the airport, again saving you both time and frustration.
Packing light will not only save you a few hundred dollars but if you do it right, you will literally add hours of leisure time and relaxation to your vacation. By being selective about the garments and personal devices that you bring, you can reduce the amount of luggage you take on your vacation by at least 60%, travelling two thirds lighter and have double the fun without having to track the whereabouts of multiple bags.
Tips for Packing Less for Your Vacation
- Choose a high quality and space optimizing carry-on luggage bag. Ensure that it meets the maximum legal carry-on (MLC) requirements of major airlines. New generation carry-on luggage bags can pack more than a week’s worth of clothing and accessories and are worth the initial investment.
- Choose to bring a maximum of three pairs of shoes; one pair of athletic or comfortable walking shoes, one pair of flip-flops or beach sandals for pool use and swimming, and one pair of dress shoes to be worn with slacks or more formal attire.
- Use a quality large messenger bag in lieu of your second piece of carry-on luggage. A unisex stylish messenger bag can hold grooming supplies and double as a backpack or accessory bag on tours. The ‘cross body strap’ of a messenger bag is comfortable for all day wear.
- Pack two pairs of wrinkle resistant slacks. Choose a black pair for evenings and one neutral pair of dress pants, such as a tan, khaki or white color. The 100% cotton blend casual pants (think chino style) are ideal for pulling together a classic casual look.
- Bring three custom fitted shirts. Men should consider packing a black shirt, one white shirt and a brightly colored one. Tailored shirts are suitable for evening wear with a tie (pack one classic tie for semi-formal restaurants or events) or they can be worn casual with the top button undone for a more relaxed look. Pack one undershirt.
- Avoid travelling with bulky bottles and toiletries if you can live without them. Pack cologne or perfume and your razor but when it comes to shampoo, conditioner or body wash consider a quick trip to a local pharmacy or even the gift shop to purchase any sundries you may need for the duration of your stay. Remember to discard the remaining items or leave them in your room when you check out. It will save space on packing and reduce damage to your clothing in the event of spills inside your luggage.
Remember that all hotels offer laundry and garment press services. When you consider the cost of using the service during your vacation versus the costs associated with over packing, you will find it to be an affordable option. Pack half the clothing you will need for your trip and enjoy the cost savings and incredible convenience of travelling with carry-on luggage only.
Brian Zeng is the Chief Marketing Officer for OwnOnly, a new-age online apparel store for the modern man. He loves digital marketing and to explore the dynamics of e-commerce and men’s fashion. Follow him on Twitter.