If you are a savvy frugalista your travel budget is light and tight. You travel during the cheaper times and have your travel budget set and your activities planned. But there’s another way you can save money during your travels, packing light.
Packing light is not just for convenience, it can also save money. Many airlines, especially budget carriers (Frontier, Spirit), offer super cheap introductory fares that quickly turn into premium fares once all the “add-ons” are piled on. Also, some of the regular carriers (I’m looking at you Delta) offer cheap economy tickets that add fees for checked luggage and other amenities. One of the biggest add-ons in the airline industry is the luggage fee.
If you pack strategically light you can get a week’s worth of clothing and supplies in one carry-on and a personal item – saving you money checked luggage fees. Here are a few tips to stuff all your necessities in a carry-on:
Minimize the number of shoes
How many times have you checked luggage because you thought you “needed” multiple pairs of shoes? Only to return home having worn just one or two pairs? Keep this lesson in mind.
Going somewhere warm? Pack a single semi-dressy sandal in a neutral color like black or silver. Wear a pair of walking friendly shoes like sneakers to the airport.
Going somewhere cold? Wear the heavier sneakers or boots and pack a single pair of dressy shoes in black.
Leggings are your friend
Pack a single pair of black multipurpose leggings. They should be thick enough that your underwear doesn’t show, and comfy enough to wear all day. They should also be plain and without embellishments so they can be dressed up or down depending on the topic they’re paired with. A single pair of black leggings can turn into several outfits when matched with different tops.
Make use of your personal item
Take a good sized purse or backpack. Don’t just take along your regular purse and use it the normal everyday way. Use this as your personal item and store your electronics, medications, any travel documents, airline comfort items (extra socks, snacks, etc. ) and travel sized liquids. It not only makes it easy to access these items quickly, it also creates more room in your carry-on suitcase.
Roll your clothes. Rolling your clothes will give you the ability to pack more into the same space. Light items like tops and underwear can be rolled to fit tightly in the corners, making room for your single pair of shoes.
Bring on the accessories
Different accessories make different outfits! The right accessories can help dress up an outfit for evening that just did double duty as your day sight-seeing outfit. A pair of black leggings with dressy sandals paired with a tunic accessorized with a statement necklace is an easy comfy night out outfit.
A necklace or two and two pair of earrings, one for day and one for evening, are a light and easy to pack way to create different looks out of the same clothing items.
Pro tip – Never pack sweaters, they take up too much space. If you’re going somewhere cold, either wear the sweater on the plane and/or wear a coat on the plane.
For a 7 day trip, you should be able to fit an entire wardrobe to cover day and night activities in a carry-on. Example: shoot for a single swimsuit (rinse it after use), four tops, underwear for each day, two bottoms and one pair of shoes. This basic packing list should leave plenty of room for a couple of extras and still keep you away from the luggage check-in counter.