“Do you have any articles about overpacking?”
I was chatting with my friend Jackie Bledsoe a few days ago. Jackie, a well-known marriage and family writer and speaker (he recently reviewed a piece of Travelpro luggage), was referring to a recent trip he and his wife Stephana took to speak at a marriage conference when he commented “We really overpacked this time, and I’m a little frustrated.”
We were talking about this blog, and he asked whether we had any articles on how to avoid overpacking.
Overpacking is a common problem among travelers, even veterans. I know some frequent travelers who still take too much when they travel, and it’s all I can do not to shout whenever they tell me how they pack.
So for my friend, Jackie, and other over-packers, here are five steps to take to help you avoid taking too much on your next trip.
1. Remind yourself: Flying with large luggage is like setting a $50 bill on fire
That’s what you’re doing if you check a large-size suitcase on your flight. Unless you’re flying Southwest, or you’re already a Premier member of one of the big four airlines, you’re going to needlessly spend $50, when you didn’t have to.
So get rid of this idea of packing a bag larger than carry-on size. They’re great for long, long trips, or trips where you drive (or if you have lots of $50 bills laying around!). Otherwise, you need to pack a carry-on bag like the Atlantic Compass Unite 2 21″ Spinner. I’ve seen people pack for 10 days in a carry-on, so if you still think you need a large piece of luggage, you’re definitely overpacking.
Thanks to technology, there are all new kinds of travel gadgets you can use to make your life easier on your next vacation. But this article isn’t yet another regurgitation of the same old “get a cheap tablet” advice. We all know those:
- A cheap tablet that uses wifi only.
- A portable DVD player for backseat video viewing.
- Better yet, a small laptop for DVD viewing; it can double as your travel laptop at the hotel.
Those are all great gadgets, and I highly recommend them. But there are are a few gadgets that you may not have considered. At the very least, they’ll make life easier, and maybe even save you some money.
If you’re headed up to the mountains for some hiking during the spring or summer, you still have to think of it as a winter vacation. That’s because while the days can be warm, it can still drop below freezing at higher elevations, which means you could even get some snow. At the very least, that single sweatshirt you brought “just in case” isn’t going to do the trick.
Don’t just fill your suitcase with shorts and t-shirts; plan accordingly. Those mountaintops are still white in June for a reason. Here are a few things to remember when planning for your mountain summer vacation.
1. Layer Up
You’ll be much warmer if you wear three or four thin layers, instead of one big bulky one. There were many Indiana winter days I would go without a heavy coat just by wearing three layers under a warm sweater or fleece pullover.
Skipping the winter parka is a great way to save space in your suitcase. It’s easier and lighter to pack thin layers — t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, mock turtlenecks — and you can just take one or two sweaters for warmth. Plus, you only need to change your innermost layer(s) every day. The outer layers can be worn a few times before you toss them in the laundry.
When it comes to vacation, packing for babies and toddlers can take twice as long and require twice as much stuff as a single adult. And packing for small children — 4, 5, 6 years old — can be a chore, because they want to take everything.
My brother, Andrew, has a three-year-old and one-year-old, and my Branding Yourself co-author, Kyle, recently had a baby. Andrew isn’t traveling much yet, but Kyle and his family have already been down to Florida. And of course, I remember my own days of traveling on a plane and in the car with my kids when they were young.
So here are a few pieces of Travel Dad advice I have for them when it comes to packing for babies, toddlers, and young families:
If you haven’t taken many family journeys, especially as a new family, planning your next trip may cause as much stress as it relieves. And traveling with small children, especially infants, brings its own challenges. Here are a few tips to help you perfect your next family journey, so you can actually relax and enjoy yourself.
1. Make a list
A couple weeks before you leave, make a list of everything you want to take, and then see if you can pare it down. Compare your packing list to your schedule, and match up your clothes and items to your events. This will not only make sure you’re not missing anything, but gives you time to fill prescriptions, and replace lost, missing or worn items.