Packing light is never easy, but with these five packing tips, you can breeze through security AND save baggage fees. We all want to take half our closet with us when we go on vacation in case we might need something. Guess what? You probably won’t need it. Just remember: the less you bring, the less you have to carry. With this in mind, start with a packing list and only add essentials to it. A packing list can help save you from over-packing and having to pay overweight baggage fees. In fact, traveling with only a carry-on can save you checked-bag fees as well. Think of the things you can spend that money on during your vacation when you’re putting back that sparkly party dress that you might wear.
1. Find stylish pieces that work together
Bring neutral bottoms, so all your tops will match your bottoms and you can mix and match outfits. This allows you to take half as many articles with you. If you can find great looking travel clothing, this is even better, because they are lighter weight for more efficient packing and are made with quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics.
Take only two pair of shoes
2. Wear one on the plane and pack the second pair
There are so many fashionable walking shoes now that can double as dress shoes for a night on the town. Stick to the first rule and find travel shoes that match everything in your luggage. That way you won’t feel like you need to take up your limited space with more options. It’s always good to give your shoes a test run before you go, too. Wear them to a variety of activities to see if they can stand up to vacation stress.
3. Use accessories to dress up an outfit
Sometimes you want to go out for a nice dinner, bar-hopping or a night of theater. Add a funky belt, cute jewelry pieces or a scarf to add pizzas to something even as basic as a pair of jeans and a black tank. You’ll be surprised what a few strategic pieces can do to make an outfit look completely different.
4. Bring products that do double (and triple) duty
Travel gadgets are one of my biggest weaknesses. If I can find an item that has multiple uses and saves space in my travel bag, it goes on my wish list. Something like an iPod Touch can eliminate the need to bring a DVD player and a handheld gaming device.
5. Pack only travel-sized toiletries
There’s no way you need a full-size shampoo, conditioner and hair spray for a five-day vacation, or even a two-week one. Look for these items in travel sizes or purchase small bottles that you can refill with your own product and put labels on them. This won’t require you to check your bag and more than you think will fit in the 3-1-1 bag you’re allowed to take through airport security. You can even buy travel hairdryers, flat irons, electric razors and curling irons. They can take up only half the space as your full-sized items, work just as well and are easy on your wallet.