I always pack too much. The problem for me is different though. It's a three-fold problem:
- I don't want to waste time shopping for necessities when I travel. I want to spend it siteseeing, learning, doing, eating, or sleeping.
- I'm a big girl. I can't just buy my clothes as easily or cheaply as the perfect size 8.
- I have big feet. Size 11 womens US. Shoes are very hard to find. Comfortable shoes even harder. Comfortable, cute shoes, nearly impossible.
My daughter, nearly 17, has been traveling since she was 6 months old. She was never a light traveler since she tended to get cranky easily. However, I did one thing right: as soon as she could walk, she had her own backpack for every trip. She could put whatever she wanted in that pack, but she had to carry it NO MATTER WHAT. I confess dad and I bailed her out a few times, but not often. I knew we had succeeded during that trip to Paris when she was so proud that she needed no help with her bag, when her younger sister just stopped moving! She laughed hardest when my suitcase got stuck in the turnstyle and broke, and she had every right to laugh. This girl managed to pack for a month in two climates and types of trips in one duffle bag and a backpack, and well under the baggage weight! She even lightened the load when we split company, and sent me home with those clothes she didn't need in the bush, and I proudly passed the weight limit with my one duffle bag too. I could have carried on, but I chose to check since I'm old. She even had plenty of room for gifts from Cape Town to Botswana too!
What are the teen's secrets?
- Layers: tanks, solid tees, cardigan, light jacket
- Only enough clothes for 5 days regardless of how long the trip
- Take time at night to wash out undies, socks, and light tops every 3 days which leaves drying time. When we stay in vacation rentals, we use the laundry facilities.
- Shoes: 4 pair only: flip flops, hiking boots, Toms (they give 1 pair for every pair purchased)-the 4th pair is optional and were nice leather boots that she could dress up or down - often this would be a pair of heels for nights out
- Bottoms: plan on wearing each bottom piece at least 3 times
- PJ's sleep in a big t-shirt and yoga pants-they can be used for exercise
- 1 bathing suit-no matter wear you go
My secrets to add:
- Pack a scarf or wrap-you'll be able to use it for warmth or sun protection
- Purchase good 3 oz containers for beauty products or just use what your provided
- Leave the hair appliances at home and invest in a good style and 1 styling product instead
- Put everything out on your bed and then remove at least 1/3 of it
- Pack an empty small duffle for anything you purchase enroute
- Leave your big purse at home and put the one you do bring inside your carry on
- Choose 1 pair of versatile earrings, 1 necklace, 1 bracelet if you must: my colleague had pounds of jewelry
- If you are going on a casual or active vacation consider bringing older clothes and throwing them away or donating them before heading home to avoid excess baggage charges on the way home
Remember, people manage every day with far less than what most Americans pack in their suitcase for a one week trip.
If you want some more tips, here's the article that inspired me to write this post.
Tips On Traveling Light To Save On Baggage Fees