Almost all of us have, at one time or another, come to accept the realisation that, yet again, we have packed far too much for our trip away. Carrying the sheer weight of all the excess baggage can start to make us feel in need of a holiday by itself. If you have ever taken the time after a holiday to look through the items being unpacked, you'll have been astonished by the number of items you didn't ever use, or used very rarely, and only because it happened to be there. Yet, despite this excellent learning opportunity, when next year rolls around and we have a chance to improve our packing performance, we make the exact same mistakes all over again.
There are a few basic tips which can greatly improve the overall space and weight of the luggage you take, and it really needs very little extra effort to achieve a considerable improvement. The first piece of advice is to start planning early, and collect together the items you think you will need early on. Planning in advance can save you a considerable amount of weight, as it is often those people who pack at the last minute who over pack, and take much more than they need. Planning in advance will give you time to think through carefully all the possibilities and needs you are really likely to face. Think about the weather and the sorts of activities you are likely to be doing.
When it comes to clothes, ignore your usual outfits and combinations and start thinking sensibly about three things. Firstly, items which need very little maintenance. If they tend to wrinkle easily, forget them. Secondly, think about items which will go with most of the other items you are taking. If your whole travelling wardrobe mixes together, you will have a large enough array of combinations to see you through. Thirdly, be realistic about what you are going to need, based on your destination and likely activities.
If you are going skiing in the alps, you may well need a dress for a smart evening out at a restaurant - but how many times are you really going to be doing that activity? Is a dress really necessary, or would you be able to get away with something less bulky and prone to damage?
The bane of most people's packing are shoes. These are cumbersome things which take up a lot of room. Generally the best advice is, depending on where you are going of course, wear your bulkiest but most comfortable shoes for the journey, and then pack a light pair of sandals and one smart pair of shoes. Don't forget, there is plenty of space inside shoes, so be smart, and squeeze items like socks into the shoes to save space.
Finally, toiletries. Those liquids really increase the weight, and more often than not, the bottles and cans will be far bigger than you will need. Try to either find very small, even tester sized bottles of your necessary liquids, or buy small empty bottles with screw caps and transfer your necessary potions into these. Remember though - label them carefully!
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