A lot of people just seem pack heavier than they want to every. single. time. Then you end up having to pay so much for multiple checked-in large suitcases and anxiously waiting at the carousel for your luggage. There IS a way to travel light. It DOES take practice and planning, but hopefully some of the following helps you with your packing for your next vacation, whether it be a cruise, international, or just a domestic trip across the country. Keep all your things with you in your backpack, small carry-on, or large purse and skip baggage claim, *maybe* even losing your luggage, and definitely losing some check-in money. These are what you should avoid packing if you want to keep it light.
A whole bunch of clothes
I know we all love having options for different days, but try to pick just a FEW (3 tops and 2 or 3 bottoms) of your favorite comfortable and practical pieces that would ALL go well together. Neutral colors are best for either your bottoms or your tops. You should include a swimsuit or two for each person, too, whether you'll be somewhere tropical or not. I've found, no matter where or when you go somewhere, there's always an opportunity to go into the water, whether it be the ocean, heated pool, hot tub, water park. If you're just throwing clothes in your suitcase, you'll quickly run out of space, and you probably won't even wear half of what you brought. You don't need to bring your closet, just enough for a small load of laundry. You can always find a place to wash your clothes, if needed.
Multiple pairs of jeans
Denim takes up a LOT of space no matter how you fold or roll them up! We love jeans because they're usually comfortable, hide stains well, and look good with everything. I usually wear the only pair of jeans I'll take into airport for my trip and put a pair of leggings, jeggings, or some other type of lightweight pants in there, along with a pair or shorts or a skirt.
Toiletries or makeup bags
Most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion, but did you know some of them also offer toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, razors and shaving cream, deodorant, and even feminine products? Some even have little stores where you can purchase different types of makeup, and most will have hair dryers, straighteners or curling irons. Instead of bringing your entire bag, take advantage of the free stuff you can get at your hotel. You just have to ask for it. If you're worried about them not having what you'll need, call ahead of time and confirm they have them. Another option is looking for a store around your hotel where you can get all these things, too, or pack them within your things instead of taking up space with their own separate bags, like in your socks that you'd already be packing, or a luggage pocket.
You might want to look like a fashion icon on your next trip, but don't be tempted to pack your nicest watch, jewelry, designer purse and any other nonessential embellishments. Traveling with valuables will make you a prime target for pickpockets, and you'll run the risk of losing or leaving the smaller accessories behind.
Wouldn't you rather be out there exploring your destination and not inside the hotel room icing your feet from adventures of the day before? Pack two or three comfortable, supportive shoes - one good for walking around in for if you decide to take that walking tour, and two others that can be dressed up or dressed down with your outfits. If you plan to go to a beach or pool, a paid of comfortable sandals may also replace one of your shoes. Pack things like your socks, charges, toiletries, or makeup inside your shoes to save space, and wear your chunkiest shoes on the airplane to take up less space in your luggage.
It's okay to bring a snack for the plane, but there's no reason to stash excessive amounts of food in your luggage. If your goal is to save money, plan on buying a few staple items, such as coffee, cereal and milk, when you arrive. But in your effort to save, don't miss out on the local delicacies of the destination you are visiting. After all, isn't the food part of the vacation experience?
Books, magazines, and extra devices
With access to lots of books, news, and magazines at your finger tips on your phone or tablet, why would you want to take up more space with books, magazines, or any other electronic devices? Unless you need your laptop for work (but why would you if you're on vacation), don't bring it!
But don't use these as distractions on your vacation that would take away you completely enjoying your surroundings and the experiences that you're currently going through with your family or friends.
That 'just in case' gear
Everyone thinks about it. "What if it rains? I'll need rain boots, rain coat, something waterproof to put my electronics in." If you really want to prepare, check the weather a couple days before you leave. If it's dry skies, you don't need all that. If it DOES unexpectedly rain while you're there, just go out and dance in it. Enjoy it! Get soaked! Make memories!
If you're going somewhere warm, you don't need a coat. If you tend to get cold easily and would feel comfortable having a jacket, bring a light sweater that you can wear on the airplane to take up less space in your luggage.
It's easy to overpack when you're going somewhere you've never been before! Do some research about where you're going, what to look for during that time of year, things to do, and just go with the flow! Things NEVER go to plan! Don't expect it to. Take a breath and keep it light! 😉