With the ever rising cost of fuel, flying has never been more expensive. Tickets are well out of the price range of many people, and come as a great burden for lovers of travel. Many airlines are placing restrictions on baggage, or charging hefty fines for additional bags and/or bags over a certain weight limit (generally, 40lb) – the weight limit is a way to still get money even if you only take one bag, as many people tend to seriously over-pack that ‘one bag’.
The best way to cut down on the price of flying is for everyone to reduce the amount of weight they bring on board and the amount of space they take up. The first place to do this is your baggage. If you are heading on a long trip and can only take one bag, do you know how you would pull it off? Is it possible to pack only one bag for long trips, or should you just prepare to pay the large fees for additional space?
Luckily, it is possible to pack in a minimalistic fashion for long trips – thousands of backpackers and light-travelers do it everyday. If you’re a pack-aholic and need to learn the fine art of one-bag travel, read the following steps and you’ll be well on your way to lighter travel.
Step 1: Think of the positive side, first and foremost, to traveling light. For someone who loves to pack everything, the thought of only taking one bag, and the objects that have to be left behind, is depressing for some, and threatens to ruin an otherwise exciting trip. If you’re this type of person, you have to get in the right mind-frame – think of the positive side to traveling lightly: you won’t have to deal with checked-on baggage; you won’t need to hire someone just to help transport your huge bags to your hotel; there’s less to be stolen; you can actually concentrate on your trip, instead of your possessions.
Step 2: Choose a bag. All airlines now have restrictions on carry-on baggage, as many people were bringing huge bags onto the plane and taking up all the space. For most airports, the carry-on restrictions state that a bag must have an over all measurement (L/W/H) that comes in at less than 45 inches. Break out a ruler and measure the edges of your bag.
Many airports are now using ‘templates’ to measure your carry-on. You have to feed your bag through a square plastic hole – if it fits, then you can take it on the plane; if it doesn’t fit, however, you have to check it in. Most templates measure 14 inches wide and 9 inches high. Airports are being more strict than ever, so be sure your bag doesn’t exceed these dimensions.
Step 3: Buy rubber bands and space-saver bags. These two items will help you significantly reduce the size of your clothing (not to mention make them waterproof). When packing your clothes, roll them into the smallest size possible and put a rubber band around them to hold them in place. This will likely cause wrinkles, but that can easily be remedied by tossing everything in a dryer once you reach your destination.
Next, place each rolled item into a storage-saver bag and use the appropriate appliance to suck all of the air out of the bag – kneel on the item to squash it down even more while removing the air. You can reduce a single t-shirt to a very small size using this method. Do this with all of your clothes, and place them neatly in the bottom of your bag.
Step 4: Look at the room you have left in your bag – this is the amount of extra items you can take. It’s probably painful to think about you’ll have to leave behind – it’s not. For many people, once they head out on their trip, they don’t even use 75% of the stuff they were positive they would need.
Items that can be purchased cheap at your destination shouldn’t be packed. This includes shampoo and conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. Look at the things you will really need. An external hard drive to store your pictures, your camera, a laptop maybe…the list, in reality, is actually quite small, the rest is just for comfort.
Don’t take any soaps, lotions, or shampoos. You’ll save space by purchasing these once you reach your destination.
If you’re the type that gets cold easily, wear two-or more shirts, or throw shorts on under your pants. This will save bag space and keep you warm. If you’re taking more than one pair of shoes, wear the largest pair on the plane and put the smaller one in your bag.
Instead of putting all your electronics in your bag, consider how you can keep them on your person. An mp3 player can be slipped into a hip pocket, and a digital camera can be put in the other. A camcorder can be hung around the neck by it’s strap.
If you’re female, use a small purse to carry your makeup instead of your bag. This will also increase the storage space in your bag. You’re allowed a small purse in addition to your carry-on bag.