Pack and travel lighter this holiday season

Throwing everything from the closet into a mega suitcase is a hard habit to break but holiday travel nowadays calls for smarter packing

You may think you need six pairs of shoes when visiting family or heading to a holiday destination. Maybe you think people care if you wear the same sweater twice.

Think again if you would like to lighten the holiday travel hassle.

Before switching from general features to travel writing, I really did throw five pairs of shoes into my suitcase and wore my comfy gym shoes on the plane.

I used to stuff stuff into a check through bag and a carry-on
I used to stuff stuff into a check through bag and a carry-on

I also brought clothes changes for every day and every evening. Of course I had to bring a large suitcase that I checked through to my destination or wrestled with into the car trunk and up the stairs of B and B’s.

By the way, even if my room was on the first floor of a B and B, it typically had stairs up to the entrance. And even if my plane arrived on time, I had to wait way too long for the suitcase to appear on the baggage carousel.

What a difference the change of writing assignments made.

I didn’t realize I had changed so much until I packed for a recent Washington DC trip and threw, well folded, everything into a carry-on that could fit into the overhead compartment.

For me it was no longer a big deal because I hadn’t used a large suitcase in two years.

The realization that I changed came however, when my husband pulled out his mega-sized bag and I asked, “why?”

“Because I need two suits and a sports jacket,” he said. He was attending a four-day conference where he had to speak one day, while I was doing my travel thing around the capital.

After rethinking what he had to pack (the two suits) and wear (the sports jacket) he saw he could fit everything into his carryon as long as he also took a small travel bag for books and the 3-1-1 bag.

Travel lighter for less holiday hassle
Travel lighter for less holiday hassle

Packing habits can be hard to change but after packing lighter once, you may also change. When changing planes, it is also nice to know you have what you need instead of worrying if you and your bags will ever meet again.

Here are some tips to lighten the load and stop worrying where you suitcase is.

1. Coordinate your outfits so you don’t have to pack more than two pairs of shoes. Wear the bulkiest third pair on the plane or in the car.

2. Limit slacks, shorts or skirts to two to pack and one to wear

3. Women can use tops for costume changes with different teddy’s and tees but should look for ones that are wrinkle free or hang out well. Jewelry also changes a look but don’t travel with favorite or most expensive jewelry.

4. Men also use different colored dress shirts and ties or casual shirts for different looks.

5. Instead of a purse, women can bring a Sac or other sling-over-the-shoulder bag to carry items that don’t fit into the small suitcase. Pills and make-up should go into this bag. Pack a dressy purse or neutral one.

6. Men will find that a small sports bag will carry items not packed into the small suitcase.

7. If presents are an issue remember that TSA does not want them wrapped so best is to mail ahead instead of packing them unless traveling by car. If returning with presents, mail the bulkier ones back home.

Finally, a new online travel magazine is running a holiday list of items that make travel easier. See the items at Striped Pot.

Happy Holiday Travels

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS

One thought on “Pack and travel lighter this holiday season”

  1. Great advice. I still over pack for a car trip but have managed to trim my baggage when traveling via motorcycle.

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