Travel expert Johnny Jet shares some tips to crafting the perfect packing list, helping you travel smarter.
I’m often asked about how to save time and money when you travel and one of my best money and time-saving travel tips is to pack light. When I first started traveling, I was one of those people who took a ridiculously large suitcase and put everything but the kitchen sink in it. However, when I observed business travelers just cruising in and out of airports with a small bag, I realized I was packing all wrong.
There are so many advantages to packing light. For some, you’ll save money on checked baggage fees, although if you’re a business traveler with elite status, you’ll get this for free anyway. But this isn’t my main reason for packing light.
Why I don’t check a bag
- There’s no need to show up to the airport extra early to wait in line at the check-in counter.
- You won’t have to wait around for what seems like an eternity at the baggage carousel, waiting for your bag to show up.
- No need to worry about whether or not your bag actually made it to your destination with you.
- You can easily switch flights if yours is delayed or canceled if you haven’t checked a bag.
I realized that I’d finally mastered packing when I could pack just enough clothes to fit in a carry-on suitcase … even when going on a multi-week trip around the world. And I was able to convince my wife to do the same!
One way to cut back on what you pack is to wear your bulkiest items on the plane. In your suitcase, bring enough clothing, underwear, and socks for a week, then wash your clothes at a local laundromat or book a hotel or an apartment that has machines. Alternatively, you can hand wash them in a bathtub if you need to. Just bring small packets of detergent with you. Unless you have really deep pockets and like wasting money then don’t have your hotel do them.
Here are some more packing tips/hacks. I admit, a few of these are from my wife since she’s now a master packer.
Storing shoes and liquids
Put your shoes in plastic bags so you don’t contaminate your clothing with the dirt and bacteria from the soles of your shoes. Don’t have a plastic bag handy? Use the shower cap provided in your hotel bathroom.
Store all your liquids (sunscreen, aloe vera, bug spray, etc.) in plastic bags so you don’t open your suitcase to find a goopy mess. Always travel with spare plastic bags for things like wet bathing suits that need to be packed in a hurry.
Check the weather
Just because you’re headed somewhere warm, there might be a cold snap or rain in the forecast. You won’t want to be unprepared so find out in advance and pack warm sweaters or an umbrella if necessary. It’s a good idea to always have a sweater anyway, especially to wear on the airplane since they’re almost always freezing.
Mix and match
Pack items that are multifunctional like a carry-on bag that can double as your beach bag or clothing that can be dressed up or down.
Choose a color scheme of three colors (say, green, navy, and white) and pack only items in those three colors. That way, everything will go with everything and you can pack fewer things. (See? I told you some of these were my wife’s tips!)