July 18, 2019

How to Travel with Less Luggage

Between security hurdles and checked baggage fees, limiting luggage has become less of an extreme travel choice and more of a survival strategy. After living for six months out of one small backpack, I learned a thing or two about traveling light. Here are my top tips for traveling with less luggage.

Storage: Choose luggage with extra storage compartments and pockets. Space bags allow excess air to be squeezed out, making for more efficient storage. Compression sacks work similarly for things like sleeping bags. Clothing can provide storage for your travel gear as well. Cargo pants for example, can hold maps, rain ponchos, sunscreen and gloves.

Choices: Wrinkle-resistant wardrobe items made of thin fabrics suitable for layering provide the most options in the least amount of luggage space. Layering tees, leggings and tunics form the basis of several outfits for women, while conversion pants, turtlenecks and travel shirts with tabbed sleeves provide flexibility for men. Multipurpose items are also helpful. While traveling in Ayutthaya, Thailand, a thin sarong served as my skirt, towel, bathing suit cover, laundry bag and picnic cloth. My husband and I used military Recon Wraps stretchy fabric tubes that fit over our heads for face masks on a dusty Cambodian bus trip, and impromptu neck scarves during an unexpected cold snap in Jordan.

Size: Smaller travel items save room. Sea to Summit makes a compact travel clothesline which takes up less space than a deck of cards. Solid shampoo bars take up less room than the liquid version, and a similar approach can be applied to cosmetic products. Im a huge fan of skipping liquid foundation in favor of compact, pressed powders, which store flat. For hostels and late-night reading, Petzl makes an extremely compact headlamp that goes the performance distance while still saving space.

Limits: Reduce the number of actual items you carry. Travel writer Shelley Seale took this to the extreme on a recent journey to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. With just six wardrobe items, she put together enough outfits for her entire trip. Seale selected a dress that could be worn alone or over pants, a short jacket that coordinated with everything, two pairs of summer slacks and two tops. The key to success with this strategy? Choose coordinating colors and styles.

Traveling with less luggage is definitely doable. What are your favorite strategies for accomplishing this frugal travel feat?

Photo Credit: 05com