Checking luggage is a pain. It takes forever, and sometimes, you never receive your bags. Here are some tips on how to pack lightly and tightly so that you can avoid checking bags altogether.
1) Make a packing list . Don’t use one of the comprehensive lists, easily found on the internet; make it specific to your needs. A list serves two functions:
a) It prevents you from forgetting anything.
b) It prevents you from packing unnecessary items. If you think you might need it, you don’t.
2) Edit the list. Check the weather report, and don’t pack winter clothes if you’re traveling to Miami in July. Make sure to pack culturally appropriate clothing, i.e., if you’re visiting religious sites, you might not want to wear a tank top. Pick clothing that you can mix and match so you don’t have to pack as many items. Add items sparingly and only as necessary.
3) Shrink what you do need to bring.
a) Pack toiletries in small containers. You don’t need your entire bottle of shampoo for a two-day business trip. Besides, you’re probably not allowed to carry-on (pdf file) larger bottles of liquids.
b) Photocopy pages from travel guides, and bring articles instead of entire books.
4) Pack tightly. Roll your clothing, and use reusable compression bags to save room. Stuff underwear, hose, and socks into small spaces (like the insides of shoes) that would otherwise go unused.
5) Find out what amenities the hotel already has, i.e., robes, hairdryers, shampoo, and don’t pack those items.