The Importance of Traveling Light

No matter where you are going, traveling light on your vacation is always a good idea for a variety of reasons. No matter where you’re going or for how long, it’s usually relatively simple to pack light without having to carry 2 or 3 bags. I know that it’s enticing to bring your whole wardrobe and an entire rack of shoes on your trip, but most of time it ends up being more of an inconvenience.

First, you have to consider how traveling with a lot of bags will affect you at the airport. Without even considering the hassle of dragging two roller boards and a backpack around a huge airport, think about the financial consequence: bag fees. With the exception of international flights, most airlines now charge you for checking in even one bag. So it’s worth it to ask yourself: do I really need the stuff I’m packing enough to pay $30 each way for it? Unless you’re going away for a month (in which case, you might want to get acquainted with the laundry situation at your final destination), then packing more than one bag is usually unnecessary. You can easily pack a week or two worth of clothes in a carry on, if you do a little research on the weather and plan your outfits accordingly. If you pack two or three outfits for each day, chances are you’re going to end up with a lot of unworn clothes you had to cart around and pay extra to fly over. It’s worth it to note that some of the low-cost international carriers also have bag fees even for those long-haul flights. In addition to that, in some instances, you may find yourself having to recheck bags at a connection, which can quickly increase your chances of missing your connecting flight.

Checking too many bags can also increase your chances of losing luggage. Nothing will ruin a trip like arriving at your destination in London only to find your bags are vacationing in Hawaii without you. This is especially awful if you’re going somewhere cold and your bag with all your sweaters gets misplaced. Airlines will try their best to get your luggage to you as quickly as possible but you may have to rough it out for a couple of days and you’ll kill a lot of your vacation time on the phone with customer service.

Another transportation-related issue with traveling with too many bags is that it makes moving around that much more difficult. Unless you’re flying into one city and staying there, most people who go on long vacations end up taking trains, ferries, or other short flights to nearby cities (or countries!). If you’ve ever had to drag a giant suitcase onto a boat or down a cobblestone street to a nearby train, you already know how much that sucks. Traveling light can make your vacation a lot less stressful and tiresome, and makes you a little bit more mobile. Certain cities are especially inconvenient to get around in with a lot of bags, like Venice, where you’ll have to take packed ferries or expensive water taxis everywhere. If you’re vacationing in Greece and the Greek islands are on your itinerary, you’ll also have a hard time getting around comfortably on the ferries.

Aside from being inconvenient and uncomfortable to move around, overpacking also ends up wasting a lot of your time. Obviously, it wastes your time at home, but when you get to your vacation, you’re suddenly spending way more time than you need to picking out what to wear and sifting through different bags to find specific things. And I can’t say it enough, even when you travel light, you sometimes leave some things unworn. When you overpack, even more so. Face it, you’re probably not going to have three outfit changes per day. And if you do, you’re vacationing wrong.

Finally, depending on where you’re going, you might want to consider the possibility that you might want to save room for things you might want to buy there. If you’re going to Italy, for example, why pack your entire closet? You’ll definitely want to buy yourself a little something to wear there. You can’t argue with Italian leather. So instead of carting around an extra pair of Steve Madden flats, get yourself some real Italian leather shoes. They’re going to be way better than anything you can buy at the mall.

So don’t be that person. Don’t take four bags to your weekend trip to Puerto Rico. You are not going to need them.