Pack Light; Save Money

I’ve always been a fan of packing light. (One trip of carrying heavy luggage around a town for a couple of hours got me on that kick, and several lost-luggage incidents cemented it.)

But now there’s another advantage to packing light: avoiding extra airport fees. With so many airlines now charging for checked baggage, it’s nice to be able to take everything with you onto the plane and not have to worry about paying extra or losing your suitcase.

In fact, for our last trip my husband and I decided to take packing light to the extreme. We decided to use the “pack as if you’d lost your luggage method”.

We started out by thinking, “Ok, what if we’d lost our luggage? What’s the bare minimum that we would need to replace?”. Since we’d had exactly that experience during our trip to Italy, we knew the answer was “not much”.

So, here is our starting list:

  • Toothbrushes & toothpaste
  • Contact solution
  • Hairbrush
  • Medication
  • Underwear & socks
  • A change of clothes each

Then we added a few things we consider necessities:

  • Cameras
  • Reading material for the plane
  • A very light jacket (because I’m always freezing if I don’t bring one, on the plane at the very least)

Finally, we added things we knew we’d need on our particular trip:

  • Dive cards
  • Swim suits
  • Hats
  • Bug spray
  • Extra pair of shoes
  • Fold-up umbrella

All of that easily fits in one carry-on. And it’s not a big deal since it’s possible to wash your clothes anywhere in the world, or buy additional items if it turns out you simply have to have something else.


  • I have a friend who is nearly OCD when it comes to packing, because she used to travel a lot for work (suits required) and travels abroad frequently. She creates a spread sheet of clothing and shoe combinations, etc. It’s insane, but incredibly effective.

    However, I’m not that anal. I think I’ll use your method instead! It’s a great idea, because I always end up packing way too many clothes.

  • I’ve heard of people using spreadsheets for all of their clothes (not just for trips) and I imagine it is really effective in helping you get the maximum use of the clothes and in stopping you from buying duplicate items, but I think I have enough spreadsheets in my life already :)

    Another tip for packing less if you can’t bring yourself to bring that little the first time, is to just note what you actually *do* wear while on the trip. And then only bring that stuff the next time.