I’m sitting at the airport right now, waiting to catch a flight back home. Some of the flights out of this little mountain town have been cancelled today, including my own, due to weather. Fortunately we were able to book a flight with another airline before we make our connecting flight in Denver. Flying over the pointy tops of the Rocky Mountains in a little prop plane doing corkscrew turns reminds me that I’m glad “get life insurance” has been checked off my to-do list this year. But instead of thinking about that, let’s talk about packing for a trip.
If I had to check a big suitcase for the flight, there is no way it would have made it home with me after all of these flight changes today. I love traveling with less luggage. It is so much easier. I don’t ever have to look out of the window from the plane to watch someone throw my bag onto a trailer, or wait next to the baggage claim hoping my suitcase appears.
Whenever I go on a trip, I pack all of my stuff in a tote bag and one weekend carry-on bag. These are the bags I take whether the trip is for two days or two weeks. One Bag and Rick Steves both have really helpful packing guides.
My favorite packing tips that I use to pack light:
- Don’t pack more than one extra pair of shoes. Have a good pair of shoes that you would feel comfortable wearing every day.
- Keep a small bag of travel-sized toiletries stored in your suitcase to save packing time before the trip. After the trip, refill the bottles so they’re ready for next time. The current airline rules say that carry-on liquids should be in bottles 3 ounces or smaller, and all of the bottles should fit in one quart-sized zip-top plastic bag.
- Bring clothes you can layer, and avoid bulky clothes. Pack fine-knit sweaters instead of chunky ones.
- Bring clothes that coordinate, so that you don’t need to pack extra clothes or shoes to match.
- Bring fewer shirts and pants, but pack extra socks and underclothes.
- Unless you’re leaving civilization, know that you can buy Tylenol or toothpaste or anything else if you need to.
- Bring paperback books instead of hardbacks, and if you bring a travel guide, think about tearing out the sections you need instead of packing the whole book.
What I haven’t learned yet is how to travel light with small kids. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
Related Post: Before the Trip Checklist