By Lia Sansoucy
Imagine skipping the line at the check-in counter, getting easily through security, and at your destination going directly from the gate to the transportation area, all without having to pay baggage fees heading out or coming home. With a bathroom counter full of products, I have struggled to travel with carry-on bags only, even for the shortest trip. As a travel agent, it has been a learning process. Here are things I have learned:
- Bring less of each product. The TSA requires that each container be less than three ounces and fit in a clear quart-sized bag. However, they do not have a limit on the number of containers you bring. Even one ounce of product is a decent amount for a week. You can easily buy small empty containers online to fill with your favorite products. Sometimes it makes more sense to just stop in at a drugstore or grocery store and purchase the few liquids or gels you cannot bring on the plane instead of paying baggage fees each way. With most fees being in the $25 range, will you really use $50 worth of products? Perhaps it is nice to leave the leftovers behind with a tip for the housekeeping team and save yourself both time and money.
- Almost every hotel offers soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Leave yours at home unless you really need certain products. While they may not be what you would choose, they generally will work for a few days. And this can be a great way to find a new product.
- Be a clothing minimalist. Can you pare down what you bring to just a few pieces? Packing with a color theme in mind and using a couple colorful accessories can help with this. Can you wear an item more than once? Layering can help with this, too.
- Avoid heavy or all-cotton items — bring items that are lightweight and can be layered. Jeans or sweaters can increase your travel wardrobe’s total weight and fill up your bags. Many clothing items designed for sport or athleisure make great travel pieces. A thin tank top or T-shirt that can be washed out at night can save your top pieces to be worn multiple times.
- Either using the laundry service for a select piece or two or doing sink laundry for your lightweight clothing can drastically cut down on how much you bring along. Most synthetic items will dry overnight. You can bring some hand-washing laundry soap with you in a tiny container (as you will only need a few drops per sink load) or use the hotel shampoo. Some favorites are Woolite or a liquid castile soap.
- By packing with a color theme, you should be able to limit your shoes. Wear the heaviest pair you will need, and even without TSA Pre-check (where you do not have to remove your shoes) it will still save you time and money.
- Use packing cubes, compression bags, or Ziploc plastic bags. You can really squeeze down your clothing using these types of bags by removing the air and/or packing them tight. This helps to keep your things organized as well as taking up less space, thus allowing you to bring more into the cabin with you.
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