Anyone who has balanced, dragged or carried a too-heavy suitcase through the airport knows there's a distinct cost to overpacking. What’s more, the price of not lightening your load is taxing to the environment, as heavy baggage means heavy planes and heavy carbon emissions.
Then there’s the monetary cost of heavy baggage. Fee-free luggage is like a rapidly melting Antarctic glacier. Most major airlines charge about $25 for the first checked bag and as much as $45 for the second one — if it weighs less than 50 pounds. Under the circumstances, a traveler might be inclined to draw the blinds, lock the door, and stay home until it's safe to carry a suitcase once more.
Luckily, there are options for all types of travelers, not just those unwilling to drag a too-heavy suitcase around the planet. Check out these seven easy tips to keeping your baggage lightweight and mobile for your next trip.
1. Pick the right suitcase.
Choose a bag that is sturdy but lightweight, like this one made from 100 percent recycled plastic. Be sure to check your airline carry-on limits. Know how much you can lift and carry safely. While it’s a nice to think you can rely on fellow travelers to help you get your bag into the overhead compartment, any smaller human being can tell you that this help does not always arrive. Finally, check out services that allow you to buy carbon offsets for your luggage. Luggage Forward is one option for travelers who want purchase carbon offsets.
2. Pile it on.
So you’re packing and wondering what to wear. Put all the clothes you're thinking of bringing into a pile. Now give each article of clothing the once over. Each item should yield at least three outfits. Better yet, pack minimally and throw in a sample-sized laundry detergent to wash your clothes on the road.
3. Roll your clothes.
This seems almost too simple, but it is a tried-and-true technique that can instantly free up space in your luggage. Opt for travel-friendly fabrics. Cotton and linen might look nice, but they usually require the use of an iron — something that might not be available at your destination. Travel-friendly clothes are made up of fabrics that don't wrinkle easily and are ready-to-wear, such as denim and knits.
4. Don't buy what you can borrow.
Travel blogger Tim Ferriss says you can cut down considerably on luggage if you think about what your fellow travelers are bringing. Umbrellas, shampoo, sweaters and a hair dryer can be shared among your family or group — just be sure to coordinate so everyone shares the burden.
5. Save samples.
Many of us get small samples of makeup, skin care products, toothpaste and more when making purchases or visiting the dentist. Save these samples and use them for travel. They make a much lighter addition to your carry-on, and they are usually well under the TSA’s rules for carry-ons.
6. Leave room for return items.
If you think you might return home with more than you brought, considering packing a bag in your bag. Yes, it seems antithetical to lighter packing, but it will ultimately be helpful if you're going to receive gifts, will be shopping, or will want to bring home that special bowl hand-woven by the locals.
7. Wear your heaviest clothes while traveling.
Traveling to a colder climate? If you plan to bring a heavy item like a coat, boots, or even jeans, wearing these items on the plane will lighten up your luggage.
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