If you’re going on a trip where you will handle luggage only upon arrival and departure and you have many different functions to attend requiring a variety of outfits, then sure, go ahead and take a big ol’ suitcase. But, if you are planning a trip for “seeing” rather than for “being seen,” then may I recommend that you do yourself a favor, pare down the amount you want to lug around, and travel much lighter and more simply.
Steve and I recently spent 16 days in Italy with some dear friends. We planned the trip ourselves and made a pact to each travel with only carry-ons. After all, we knew we’d be on planes, trains, buses, shuttles, subways, taxis and even on foot. Less stuff would help tremendously.
Here is a “before” picture when I was planning my strategy and determining what had to go with me to Italy.
Here is my bag after I got everything rolled and placed inside.
And this is how everything looked before heading to the airport. (Remember that you are also allowed one “personal item.”) My husband had a rolling backpack. I had this, and we had all we needed for the entire 16 days. Yes, we wore several items multiple times. But, after all, who would know that, except for our friends. We looked at their clothes over and over, and they did us the same favor. It worked.
Here are some thoughts to help you decide:
1) Start with the right bag. Make sure it fits the size requirements of 22″ x 14″ x 9″ for going into overhead bins. Handles and wheels are important, too. Go to places like Mountain High Outfitters and study the options. Or, if you’re prissy like I am, then you might want to splurge on something cute. My friend and I had matching Brighton bags and loved them.
2) Pack what you actually need and roll, roll, roll your clothes. 99% of hotels have irons and ironing boards to take care of the wrinkles. Chico’s has a line of clothes that are great for travel and simply will NOT wrinkle. You can also find great items through websites such as TravelSmith. Go ahead and admit it. You know you can wear that favorite pair of jeans several times before you have to wash them. And, may I just insert a plug here for disposable underwear? Yes. That’s what I said. They are soft, lightweight. Wear them once and toss them. As the trip goes along, you gain extra room in your bag. Check out Onderwear. If nothing else, it will make for interesting conversation. 🙂
3) You will save baggage fees. I understand that Southwest Airlines still doesn’t charge for checked bags, but most airlines do.
4) You avoid the possibility of lost luggage.
5) You are able to make a quick exit at the airport and maybe get to shuttles, car rental kiosks, or taxis ahead of the crowd.
6) It’s much easier to switch flights if you find an earlier or more convenient one, plus you can volunteer to get “bumped” and earn a free flight for the future without having to worry about not seeing your checked bag for days to come.
7) Having a fully-packed carry-on prevents you from buying useless souvenirs. If you find items during your trip that you can’t live without, just pay to have them shipped home. That’s what I did with some beautiful pottery in Florence, and it arrived in much better condition than it would have otherwise.
8) You don’t have to tip porters.
9) You don’t have to get to the airport as early.
10) You do have to plan carefully with your toiletries. Liquids, gels, creams, pastes, aerosols, etc. must be in 3-oz. containers or smaller and should be packed for added protection into quart-size ziploc bags. Just read the airlines’ guidelines. If you’ll need more than 3 ounces of an item, take 2 or 3 containers of that size.
Would you believe there is actually a whole website dedicated to this very subject. Check out www.onebag.com “The Art and Science of Travelling Light.” I suspect you will be convinced to give this whole “less is better” travel method a try.