6 Tips to Travel With Less

posted by Andrea | 03/25/2013

travel with less

Dave’s spring break starts this Friday, and we are planning to spend a nice relaxing week AT HOME. Hallelujah!

But for those of you who are headed out of town, I have a few tips that should help you pack a little lighter… and could potentially save you a bundle if you’re flying.

Below is a list of 6 questions I ask myself whenever I’m packing for a trip. They always help me to pack less; hopefully they are helpful for you too!

1. Is it practical for your type of vacation?

Most of the vacations I’ve been on are for the sole purpose of relaxation. We sleep in, go for walks, lounge around the pool, play mini golf, visit shopping malls, and eat at casual restaurants. So there’s no purpose in bringing any dressy or fancy clothing. We bring a couple pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, flip-flops, swimming suit, and a sweatshirt.

If this is the type of vacation you’re planning, consider that when you’re packing. Also, since you most likely won’t see a ton of people you know (if any) I’d consider wearing the same thing a couple times as long as it’s not too dirty :)

Obviously, if you’re going on a fancier vacation, this tip might not help… but I’ve found that if I just stop and think about how many items of clothing I actually NEED, I can usually put over half my suitcase back in my closet!

2. Does it fit?

There is no sense packing something that doesn’t fit or that isn’t comfortable to wear, so I suggest quickly trying on the items you plan to pack. Plus, if you’re packing for a warm destination in the middle of winter, there’s a chance you might forget about the rip in your favorite pair of shorts or the button that popped off your favorite sweater last summer — so trying everything on is always a good idea.

3. Can you layer this piece?

I’m a big fan of layering… but even more so when I travel. By layering, you can mix and match a few different pieces to create a totally different look. This is also helpful if you don’t know what the weather is supposed to be like.

I’ll often pack a handful of tank tops and layer them with different shirts/cardigans/etc. Then I pack one pair of pants, one pair of capris, a casual skirt, and a pair of shorts that can be mixed and matched with any combination of tank tops, shirts, cardigans, etc.

4. Does it coordinate with your other items?

Along with my layering question above, I also try to pack mostly coordinating colors. I usually stick with white, black, grey, and light khaki colors so everything coordinates — meaning I need less stuff.

Not only do I save a bunch of time wondering if a certain outfit looks good together; I also save tons of space in my suitcase because I only need to pack black shoes/sandals/belt/etc.

5. Can you live without it for a week?

Again, my motto is that no one really cares what I look like on vacation (at least they shouldn’t), so I personally don’t feel the need to be fully accessorized and beautified while I travel. I’ll often wear one pair of earrings the entire trip and skip necklaces, braclettes, and watches entirely.

I usually only pack 2 pairs of shoes (walking shoes and flip-flops) and I personally don’t have any issues wearing something more than once in the course of a week. Besides a toothbrush and a bathing suit, I could most likely do without everything else on my vacations!

I also ask this question when it comes to technology items as well. Because of the nature of my business, I need to bring my laptop and we both bring our phones — but that’s about it. We figure we can live without everything else for the week.

6. Can you buy/rent/find it when you arrive?

There are many things that might be much easier to buy or find when you arrive than to waste the time/space packing them — especially if you are flying and paying ridiculous rates for checked bags and carry-ons.

We usually don’t pack any showering products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, etc) because we just use whatever the hotel provides. We also don’t pack our beach towels and simply use the hotel pool towels instead (no, they’re not as nice, but we save a ton of space).

If you’re flying, it’s probably better to buy a cheapy cooler when you get down there then to try and lug that on the plane — and it might be smarter to rent sporting equipment, like golf clubs, if you’re only planning to go golfing once or twice during your trip.

If the items you want to pack get a “no” from the first 4 questions or a “yes” from the last 2 questions, then they are probably items you DON’T need to pack.

Think of all the space I just saved you :)

What are your tips to travel with less?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: ClothesFamilyOrganizingTravel

 
 

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

17 comments

  1. Damian

    03/25/2013

    It still amazes me how we can take two to three suitcases for a weekend trip! Along with plenty of electronics, games, videos, etc… it’s like we’re moving. ;)

    [Reply]

  2. Natalia

    03/25/2013

    What a great post!
    Wonderful questions!
    I can hardly wait to share them with the other people in my team traveling soon on a mission trip half way around the world!!! Besides the small carry-on, we can only take 1 luggage (of 50 lb !!!), and we’d have to pay $100 for the second.
    It will be an interesting challenge to decide what to take with us for so many different types of activities, varying from construction work and green space improvements to Vacation Bible School and youth festival in a church setting! Not to mention that we’ll need to take some materials to aide us in ministry…
    If you have any other “tips between now and the end of July, … I’d be so grateful!!!
    These are wonderful questions to help us decide. I’ll make sure to share them!

    [Reply]

  3. Debbie

    03/25/2013

    The last couple times we traveled (flew), I looked for places to rent car seats for my kids at our destination rather than lugging our 2 heavy seats with us on the plane. I know it is free to check these in, but I would rather not risk them getting tossed around and possibly damaged during transit. By googling “baby equipment rentals” in the destination city we were going to, I was able to rent car seats for much cheaper than through the car rental agency, and know that they were cleaner and the right size for my kids. They even delivered the car seats to the car rental agency for us free of charge, and picked them up afterwards! You can also rent pack and plays and other baby equipment for a low price rather than bringing them with you.

    [Reply]

  4. Mary Billmaier

    03/25/2013

    We travel at least twice a year and never take more than a carry on bag and a personal item. I always take the small bag that matches my carry on and hubby takes a backpack.
    We wear our clunkiest shoes (usually sneakers) and pack our sandals on the bottom of the bag when it’s lying flat. They fit snugly right between the supports of the bags.
    We also pack our clothes by rolling them after they have been folded and slipping them into a “space bag”. We take five or six tops and bottoms that coordinate and then wash our clothes midweek if we need todo so. We can get two wearings out of clothes if we are at the beach because we spend half the day in the clothes and the rest of the time in swimsuits.my bag holds two space bags and I have the best time flopping down on top of them to squeeze the air out when I’m ready to put it in the carry on bag. Don’t waste $$$ on the kind that use a vac to suck the air out because you may not have a vac at your destination when you are packing to come home. I bought my “space bags” at Target for $15 – $20.
    I bought clear vinyl zipper bags to put toiletries and chargers in ( we take our phones and iPad and occasionally an iPod and/or Nook) and have this tucked into my smaller bag also with a CPAP I need for sleep apnea.
    Hubby carries his shaving and toiletries in his backpack as well as his hat and my visor, sunglasses, a deck of cards, a small notebook (3″x5″) that we have found very handy, snacks,our travel documents. The backpack has so many side pockets in it that we can put our passports in one, sunscreen in another, and a bottle of water for each of us when we get to our destination and decide to explore

    [Reply]

  5. Mary Billmaier

    03/25/2013

    Oops! The wifi cut out before I could include my last thought!
    I remember how hard it was when we had three under 3 years of age because we had twins when our oldest child was 2 1/2 so we NEVER travelled now we are making up for lost time! Currently, we are on Spring Break from school and in the Carribean on St. Maarten/St. Martin. We travelled with only carry on and do the same when we go to Hawaii, Key West, etc. We plan to pack the same way when we go to Italy next Spring Break for two weeks and the only thing we will do differently is carry a fleece jacket if the weather is chilly.I love being able to travel light and not worry about the airlines losing our bags and it saves us the baggage fees. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Jenny Reply:

    Mary, I’d like to hear your tips for international travel – we are going on a 2 week trip out of the country & I’m so stressed about packing (never done this before).

    [Reply]

    Mary Billmaier Reply:

    Jenny, as Andrea would say, start making your list! I have a master packing list on my computer that I print out after I tweak it for the specific trip I’m taking. I don’t need the swimsuits for the trip to visit the family back East in the Fall, etc. So I adjust the list for what I need and then print it out to use as a packing checklist.
    Constant items on the list:
    Undies, toiletries, socks, jammies, two pair of foot wear like sneakers and sandals or sneakers and dress shoes, sweater, tops and bottoms that coordinate, a travel skirt and top made out of that great stretchy material that can be rolled up in a ball (and it still looks good afterwards)
    if we go out to dinner or to an “occasion” like a wedding, camera, iPad or Nook tablet with ebooks to read and games like Solitaire and 7 Little Words or crosswords preloaded for down time as well as access to TripAdvisor or online travel guides, our phones, charger for those electronic gizmos, camera, and a jacket or polar fleece if the weather is chilly or I want to use it as pillow/blanket on the plane.
    Remember that you can always wash stuff at your destination, even if you have to do your undies, socks, and other items in the sink and hang them on the shower rod to dry! I have a friend who went to Europe and packed her old underwear and threw them in the trash as she travelled and replaced them at a Costco or Walmart on the way home. I thought that was a pretty funny way to “travel light”!
    Good luck and keep track of what you used on your trip and you are well on your way to being a travel list maker, too! :-)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — sounds like you are DEFINITELY making up for your lack of travel in previous years! Maybe you should be writing about how to travel with less :) Enjoy all your fabulous vacations!

    [Reply]

    Mary Billmaier Reply:

    Thanks for the great blog idea, Andrea. I’d love to do that one of these days. I am definitely one of those people who is busier now that I’m retired than I was while I was teaching full time. (My job was cut three years ago when our District underwent some massive budget cuts so I retired at 53.) I’ll have to squeeze my blogging in between travel, a three day a week job that pays for the aforementioned travel, scrapbooking, photography, cooking, and chasing around my grand kids! As they say, life is good!
    BTW, I love the new moniker and look of the blog that debuted today. Great photos and nice, crisp visual organization!

    [Reply]

  6. Vera

    03/25/2013

    I think the hardest packing issue for us was dealing with all our extra “entertainment” like books, chargers for all our electronics, and the like. In the end I just pack my Kindle Fire which lets me read and surf the net and I can keep it in my purse! :-)

    [Reply]

  7. Beth

    03/25/2013

    I like to pack a cotton or other casual fabric dress, weight and length according to season. I’ve used one as a cover up, a dress for a dinner out with or without accessories (scarves are great as is a sari) or a cardigan, or for the walks/shopping around town. I like a sleeveless, knee length. Some fabrics are better for releasing their wrinkles and multitasking!!

    [Reply]

  8. Kalyn Brooke

    03/26/2013

    I always pick one neutral color scheme – black or brown, and then pack one pair of shoes and outfits that go with that color.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I do the same thing Kalyn — either brown and tan or black and grey (for the WHOLE trip!) Those are the colors I usually wear anyways so it isn’t that difficult for me to stay pretty neutral!

    [Reply]

  9. Marie

    03/26/2013

    I love this post. We recently went to st. Lucia At an all inclusive resort where you had to dress fancy for dinner. So knowing this, I brought like six dresses, quite a few summer dresses for the day time, along with a few casual outfits and my swim suit. In reality, we usually only stayed in our nice outfits for only the length of dinner before changing into something more comfortable after dinner, and then the rest of the time we were in swim wear. So really I could’ve just brought 2-3 dresses and worn them more then once, 2-3 casual outfits, bathing suit and sneakers flip flops, and 1 pair of dress shoes that would have went with all of my dresses instead of the two suitcases full of all different kinds of clothes and shoes that I packed for the nine day trip. So that would be my best advice is to consider the type of trip you’re on and your itinerary to assess what you’ll REALLY be using the most. And if you’re going somewhere where you’ll have access to a washing machine, account for that as well knowing you can bring what you need for half of your days there and just wash them.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good advice Marie — and it sounds like you had a lovely vacation!

    [Reply]

  10. Melissa

    03/28/2013

    My husband and I have been on 3 cruises and I completely over packed for the first one! I learned my lesson and really pared back on packing for the next two. I think the things that helped me most were 1. start picking out outfits early and identify all of the potential outfits (it’s okay to go nuts in this stage as none of it gets packed yet) 2. try on all of the potential outfits and decide which ones I like best 3. Then I match those outfits on a spreadsheet I make with each day of the week listed with what activities we have arranged for that day and that evening (no sense in packing a pretty sun dress for a day we have a hiking excursion planned) 4. plan on sending some clothes off to the ship laundry so that they can be reworn later in the cruise 5. record all planned clothes on the spreadsheet with our calendar of activities listed which not only helps to not pack anything that won’t be worn, but it also helps each morning to not have to decide what to wear…I just consult my spreadsheet and do what it says. :)

    [Reply]

  11. Kristen

    03/29/2013

    I get lots of the sample “packets” of shampoo and conditioner – the foil-y ones that you rip open. I take one packet for each day we’re gone. (They are usually single use for me since I have long hair, but it might be two uses for someone with shorter hair.) I find that they take up a lot less space than a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and I don’t have to pack it for the return trip. I save the samples of body wash, lotion, toothpaste, etc. that I get for the same purpose :)

    [Reply]