If you’ve traveled anywhere with your significant other, there’s a good chance you’ve run into some luggage-related stress along the way.
Maybe you over-packed your one checked bag and had to scramble at the counter to stuff the extra weight into your carry-on. If you want to fight less on your holiday trips, the key is to pack less.
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“You need less than you think,” said Kit Dillon, an editor at Wirecutter, the New York Times company that reviews products. “Your bag is lighter, you aren’t as preoccupied with keeping track of everything, and it’s easier to simply enjoy the present moment.”
Some more tips for making it through the holiday travel season with your sanity in the bag.
Packing cubes are a must
If you’re unfamiliar, packing cubes are zip-up fabric containers, typically rectangular, which can help you better organize the contents of your luggage by compressing your clothes as you pack them.
“We swear by our packing cubes,” said Adam Lukaszewicz, a founder of Getting Stamped, a travel blog he started with his partner, Hannah.
The Tom Bihn Clear Quarter Packing Cube ($32 at tombihn.com) is made in Seattle from ripstop nylon with a clear side made from urethane (rather than PVC).
Consider a new bag
If avoiding checked luggage is your goal, you may want to house your new packing cubes in a new piece of carry-on luggage.
For most travelers, Dillon recommends the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 ($184 at amazon.com) for its balance of size, price and reliability. Frequent travelers may also want to upgrade to the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On ($569–$599 at macys.com), which carries extra features, including expandable room. Both fit most standard overhead size regulations, Dillon said.
Consider a smarter wardrobe
“Lay out your daily outfits and only bring what you really need, and bring pieces that can make several outfits,” Lukaszewicz said. “Always pack layers and pieces you can easily mix and match no matter if you’re traveling to a tropical destination or off to the snow-capped mountains.”
Shoes are often a major space-drain, so it helps to decide in advance what you’ll actually need on your trip, rather than planning for every possible scenario.
Extend the life of your clothing
There are a few small items to include in your bag that can help you get multiple wears out of your clothing. Start with packing a spot-cleaning pen, said Megan Jerrard, who writes about her travels with her husband, Mike, at Mapping Megan. She also suggested traveling with a rubber stopper, a little bit of washing liquid and a line to hang-dry clothes.
Share your tech
The idea of not bringing your own cellphone is probably too traumatic to ponder for more than a few seconds, so we won’t go there. But you might want to consider consolidating other devices, like laptops, chargers and cameras. Dillon suggests investing in a plug-in USB hub, such as the Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub ($10 at amazon.com) that allows you to charge multiple devices at once. You’ll save on space and make your airport experience a little easier.