Most business travelers try to avoid incurring charges for checked baggage by cramming everything into one carry-on bag and one “personal item.” Carrying everything you need with you is handy, but it also can be a literal pain in the neck. The Society of American Travel Writers, a band of well-traveled globetrotters, have compiled these tips to help you lighten your load.
- Pick one basic color (such as black) or a color scheme (such as khaki and navy) for your clothes, and pack lightweight accessories like scarves and jewelry to dress things up. Make sure each item of clothing can be worn with any other item and will match with all your shoes.
- Wear your coat and heaviest pair of shoes on the plane. Don’t pack more than two pairs of shoes.
- Pack clothes that can be washed in a sink and dried overnight.
- Buy new, lightweight luggage. Many older bags are very heavy by themselves. Advancements in plastics and materials have led to durable, strong bags that weigh a fraction of their older counterparts.
- If you are checking luggage, put the heavier items (like cameras, books, reading materials and shoes) in the carry-on bag with a change of clothes and any medications needed, just in case luggage is lost. Cut up guide books and take only the pages you need, or pack magazines as reading material. When you’re done with them, leave them behind.
- Take only small bottles of shampoo and toiletries or buy them when you get to your destination. Remember the 3-1-1 for carry-on bags: 3.4 ounce bottles or less (by volume) must fit in a 1-quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag and only one bag per passenger can be placed in screening bin.
- Pack clothes you no longer want and leave them at the destination or throw them away as you go to make room for souvenir purchases.
- Pack for the best possible conditions, not the worst. If the weather turns foul, you can always buy something at a thrift shop or on-site.
- When traveling within the U.S., ship very heavy or bulky items ahead. Shipping FedEx ground from New York to Seattle only costs $1 a pound.
- Pack lightweight clothing such as fleece instead of wool. Many synthetic fibers provide the same warmth without the weight.
The Society American Travel Writers (SATW) is a non-profit professional association that works to promote responsible travel journalism and to provide professional support for its members, including travel journalists, photographers, editors, electronic media, film lecturers, television and film producers, and public relations representatives from the travel industry.