Travel Tip: Leave Those Big Suitcases Home


There are occasions when dragging along heavy bags on flights is necessary. You may need to check them for a big family wedding across the continent, weeks of overseas journeys, long cruises and group excursions. But even many of those trips don’t always require heavy luggage. Do you always need to check (and pay extra for) your stuff every time you must board another flight or cruise ship?
There are seasoned travellers who’ve flown with carry-ons only throughout the world, including cruises and group excursions. They’ve managed to bring along the absolute minimum in just one wheeled bag.

As a result, they’ve never lost any luggage, paid extra nor had to wait at airport merry-go-rounds for hours after each flight hoping nothing was missing. Today’s average of lost and pilfered bags is from 5 to 10% on every flight, depending on airport and national location. Not bad, but who wants to take the chance?

Here are our tried and true tips for making traveling more fun and going with less baggage:

Go Lite: Get wheeled bags made of flexible fabrics (not leather) up to the size limit for air travel carry-ons. Be sure they have outside, zipper-closing pockets for quick access to documents, as well as see-through webbing on the inside lid for items needed to be used or displayed frequently. This should take care of all needs for up to a three-week trip, as long as you don’t have to attend any fancy dress-up events. If necessary, also take along a backpack small enough to go under an airline seat.

Pack Lite: The day before departure, lay out the clothing, footwear, hygenics and other stuff is considered absolutely necessary. Put it in nice neat piles. Then go through and take away 25% and leave it home. You won’t regret it, and the truly necessary stuff should fit nicely into your carry-on bags. If you’ve mistakenly left out any vital items, such as over-the-counter medications, you can always buy them at airport, hotel shops and elsewhere.

Wash’n’Wear: For trips of longer than two or three days, take as many washable items as possible, including outerwear. Then, every night in the hotel room or aboard ship, take items used that day into the shower with you. Dry thoroughly with your bath towel and hang all night as close to the room heat or outside dry air source as possible.

Use ’em & Toss ’em: Another idea for making the load lighter is to take along worn-out clothing. Underwear, shirts, socks, sneakers and other items that have given years of faithful service should go on one last trip with you. You’ll have a much lighter load on your homeward trip, or more room in your bags for those souvenir doodads you absolutely need to take home for family gifts.

Follow these rules, and you’ll make your travels easier and less stressful.