Travel Light: How to Get Organized to Lighten Your Load

Jun 1, 2023 / Kastle Waserman

pink suitcase packed with hat on top next to bed with public storage moving box

If you’ve ever had to sit on your suitcase to zip it closed, or arrived at your destination only to find all of your clothes and shoes in a jumbled mess, it’s time to take the stress out of the journey and get organized so you can travel light!

With the summer being the heaviest travel time of the year, get yourself ready for that vacation with some proper planning. “Don’t wait until the last minute to pack,” says Erica Duran, a life coach and productivity expert who travels frequently and advises clients on how to be more efficient in all aspects of their life, including via her packing tips.

travel organization cubes and liquid tubes

Erica says organized packing starts with keeping a travel lifestyle in mind.

“Purchase clothes that travel well in non-wrinkling materials.” For personal care items she suggests keeping a small set of your favorite items packed at all times. “Then you can just refill them after each trip and they’re ready for the next.”

There are lots of packing organization products available to help, but how do you choose? Erica recommends GoToob squeezable bottles for shampoo and other liquid items.

For clothes she’s had a lot of success using fabric packing cubes.

“They keep things neat and separated, plus if the TSA opens your suitcase, they won’t usually touch your stuff, they just touch the cubes.” She’s also a big fan of clear zipper plastic bags. “Have lots of them in all sizes. They have infinite uses from transporting in-flight snacks to wet bathing suits.”

One of the biggest issues when traveling is weight. With airlines sometimes charging extreme fees for bags over 50 lbs, it’s crucial to keep your belongings within the limit, plus you don’t want to have to carry something that heavy when you’re supposed to be enjoying your trip. Erica has several solutions for putting a limit on how much you take.

Quick Tips to For Packing Less to Travel Light

packing light illustration with suitcase and passport

Cut back on what you pack — “Put everything you want to take on your bed and then cut it by 80%. Cut back on clothes and jewelry and plan to buy some while you’re there, they make great souvenirs! The same goes for personal care items. Unless you’re going to a deserted island, there will be a local drugstore. Take (or plan to buy) a small bottle of laundry detergent so you can wash and rewear the clothes you take.”

Choose a color theme for what you wear — “Pick one main base color like black, white or beige. Then mix in accent colors to change things up. Shoes and handbags take up a lot of space so match them to your base color so just one goes with all of your outfits. Your accent colors will serve to make it look like you’re not wearing the same thing every day – especially important since you’ll probably be taking lots of pictures of your travels!”

Ditch some bulky items for travel — Hair dryers, flat irons, makeup mirrors, and electric razors take up a lot of space and weight. “Call ahead to the hotel. They may have some in the room or that you can borrow so you don’t have to pack them.”

Ship your packable items to your destination — If you have a lot you need to bring, it may be worth shipping it ahead because it may end up costing you just as much in extra weight fees on the airline. PLUS you’ll have to carry it the whole way. “By shipping it, you don’t have to worry about the TSA going through it or your bag getting lost. You’ll have a tracking number and most hotels will hold your shipment or put it in your room until you arrive.”

Avoid traveling with too many electronics — With so many people being tied to all of their electronic gear, whether or not it’s for business travel, all of the cords and accessories can become a lot to manage. If you feel you need to bring a mini office, don’t. “Consider using the business center at the hotel and unleashing yourself from your devices while you travel.”; She adds that one device – a laptop, tablet or smart phone – can usually do everything you need. Use virtual document storage such as Dropbox, Evernote or Waveapp that can be accessed from anywhere. If you need something printed, “Fax it to yourself at the hotel. Most hotels charge for printing but faxes are free!” says Erica.

Clean your laundry before your return — As you make your way through your trip, you’re going to amass a pile of dirty clothes that was once your neatly packed belongings. Now what do you do? “Dirty, rumpled clothes take up more space so on the last day of your trip, send the laundry out for service or use the hotel washing machines, which are usually by the pool where you can relax while doing this chore. Then you can repack it nicely and have a suitcase full of clean clothes when you get home rather than laundry to do.

Most importantly she adds, “Enjoy the trip! Don’t use too much energy worrying about packing!”

Photos courtesy of the Container Store

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