When you travel, whether you’re going on a short trip or a longer journey, it’s tempting to overpack. Sometimes you’re not sure what you’ll need before you reach your destination, other times it’s just more convenient to take a large suitcase packed full of clothes and accessories. In this article, we’ll share several reasons why we recommend packing lighter for your next trip, as well as our top tips for how to pack less.

WHY we recommend travelling lighter

No excess baggage fees

Our pet peeve when travelling by plane is paying extra for luggage. Whether you’re travelling with a budget airline and have strict allowances for the size and number of your bags, or you’ve exceeded the weight limit for your luggage – nothing is more annoying than having to pay extra at the airport. Avoid excess baggage fees by packing less and travelling lighter.

No long waits at luggage reclaim

If you’re travelling with a small amount of luggage, chances are you can take it on board the plane with you and store it in the overhead lockers. This will save you plenty of time when you reach your destination. Rather than waiting at the luggage reclaim for your bag to arrive on the carousel (or even the risk that it gets lost in transit!) you can walk straight out of the airport after leaving passport control.

More environmentally friendly

Did you know its more environmentally friendly to travel with less luggage? The more your baggage weighs, the more the plane has to carry and the less energy efficient it is. You can lighten your carbon footprint simply by leaving the oversized suitcases at home and travelling with smaller, lighter bags.

Lighter bags to carry

An obvious benefit of travelling lighter is that you have less to carry! Even if you’re only carrying your bags around the airport, its easier to have a lighter load, but especially if you have a stopover or intend on visiting somewhere on your way to your hotel. A small suitcase on wheels and a handbag or backpack is much easier to manage than lots of large luggage. And you’ll also be able to avoid airport trolley fees!

How & Why to Travel Lighter - The Wise Traveller - Airport Luggage

Quicker to pack and unpack

Regardless of how long you are staying somewhere, it’s quicker and more efficient to unpack a small number of belongings than if you had a large suitcase. You’ll be saving time packing for your trip, when you arrive at your hotel and then again, when you return home.

HOW to travel lighter

  • Use a smaller suitcase that limits how much you can pack, making sure you don’t go over weight limits.
  • Plan your outfits before you travel, rather than packing things that you ‘might’ wear.
  • Pack a capsule wardrobe that you can mix and match, rather than different garments for each day.
  • Think about what will be available in your accommodation – do you really need to bring a hair dryer, towel, travel iron etc.
  • Use travel scales to check the weight of your bag to make sure you don’t go over your limit.
  • Use compression packing cubes so you can fit more items into a smaller bag.
  • Make a packing list and stick to it.
  • Wear your largest and heaviest shoes and garments for the flight – boots, coats, jumpers etc.
  • Pack a sarong or Turkish towel instead of a large beach towel.
  • Buy small versions of your toiletries or decant your existing toiletries into small bottles. If you’re travelling with other people, share toiletries such as shampoo rather than each bringing your own.
  • Don’t bring piles of books – pack a Kindle.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.