All of my life I’ve been an over packer. I always figured, “Better safe than sorry!” as I would neatly and proudly pack the equivalent of a week’s worth of clothing for what was meant to be a weekend away.
Checked baggage was my standard and, at times, this meant baggage fees, difficult operational maneuvers from point A to point B, and even lost luggage that never re-appeared (don’t even get me started). I had travelled for work before, but it wasn’t until I started travelling frequently in my role at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? that I realized it was truly time to lose the junk… and travel light.
Here are some tips for the frequent flyer, to help you fit everything you need into your carry-on and still be prepared.
Consider your itinerary alongside the weather report
As your trip approaches, check out the current weather conditions and temperature at your destination(s). Take this preparation to the next level by considering how much your itinerary of events will have you inside, outside, walking or taking public transit. If most of your stay has you in a climate-controlled conference room or never leaving your hotel, you can skip the umbrella, parka, or other heavy outerwear that’s just going to take up space. Use the weather report as your baseline, pack clothing that can be layered and bring a versatile jacket. The reality of business travel means that you’re more likely to be sightseeing through a taxi window or airport hopping, rather than being directly face-to face with mother nature’s elements.
Mix and match outfits ahead of time
You can cut down on the amount of clothing you pack by planning your outfits ahead of time. Start by laying out the basics, ensuring you have enough socks and undergarments (plus a few extra) to cover you for the days that you’re away. Then consider the meetings and events you have scheduled for each day, and whether any of those will require a nighttime attire change. Reuse bottoms and heavier layers as much as possible – alternating different tops and accessories -which will allow you to change up your outfit without cluttering your luggage. If you’re running from daytime meetings to evening dinners, you can use a necklace, scarf or tie to easily change the look of an outfit. Remember to also designate a comfortable, yet professional, outfit to travel in and wear heavier items like your jacket or blazer to save space in your carry-on.
If you’re on the road for more than a week, there’s always the option to leverage your hotel’s dry cleaning service to ensure you are dressed for success when you land in your next city.
Lose the spare pair of shoes
Now that you know the outfits you’ll be wearing – pick shoes that mix and match just as well. Most business trips are not high fashion, so try to pack shoes that are both comfortable and appropriate for the level of formality of your meetings. If you can,select shoes that can be worn during the day as well as in the evening. Ladies, if you must bring heels, select only one pair and then choose another pair of shoes better suited for professional comfort or long dashes to catch connecting flights. Lastly, before you throw in your running shoes, really stop to consider whether you’ll be hitting the treadmill or whether those runners are just coming along for the ride.
Know what extras your hotel offers
Trim down on toiletries and other “checked luggage” items by knowing what complimentary extras your accommodation has waiting for you. On top of the standard soaps and shampoos, today many hotels offer the convenience of toothbrushes, shaving kits, stain removers and other bulky bathroom accessories like hair dryers. As much fun as it is to try to fill up a 3 oz plastic container with your favorite conditioner from home – save yourself the space and time by relying on what your hotel has to offer. If you don’t immediately see what you’re looking for, a friendly call to the front desk will usually have you sorted in no time.
Minimize the number of electronics & accessories you pack
Today we’re all about multi-device multi-tasking. Between your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop, your e-reader, your latest tech toy and all its accessories, you’re likely to be carting around an extra 20lbs of luggage, with barely any room for snacks or a water bottle. Consider what you really need in order to get your work done, and simply cut out the rest. Today, many airlines have USB charging portals and hotel rooms have smart phone charging docks, so you really may not need the extra battery juice pack after all. Overall, the more you limit the devices you carry, the less charging cables you’ll need to bring, and the more space you’ll save. Bonus: Save time at the security lineup by not needing three containers just to separate out your electronics.
The hassle and headaches (along with backaches) you’ll save yourself by choosing to travel with a well-thought-out and light carry-on, will hopefully be enough motivation for you to leave the excess junk at home and skip checked luggage. It also may get you thinking…if you really don’t need that much on the road, perhaps there’s more that you could start clearing out from those closets at home!
Do you have any tips on travelling light? Please share them below!
Renee Janzen is the Marketing Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Fueled by a passion for people, creativity and productivity, she is a marketer by trade, event planner by nature, and excitable traveler and photographer on the weekends. Connect with Renee on Twitter.