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How to avoid overpacking for a long trip

A traveler retrieves his bag as luggage moves around a baggage claim at DFW International Airport in Dallas.

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By HOLLY JOHNSON | TRAVELPULSE Published: August 10, 2017

Travel requires a lot of patience and meticulous planning. Sometimes, that means bringing a whole lot of stuff.

When you’re traveling overseas for weeks at a time, you might feel the need to bring everything but the kitchen sink. While packing a lot isn’t a problem in itself, lugging all your belongings around isn’t the way to go. On a long trip, you could be in and out of planes and trains regularly.
Who wants to carry more than you need?

As with any other goal, the key to achieving lighter luggage is being intentional from the get-go. Here are some tips that can help you pack — and carry around —  a lot less stuff.

 

Pair up complete outfits

The best way to be intentional is to lay out and pair up complete outfits you can wear on your trip. This strategy can help you avoid situations like having 11 pairs of pants and only 5 shirts, while also helping you choose items you can mix and match.

Once you pair up as many complete outfits as you think you’ll need, you can decide what goes together well and which pieces should stay home.


Use packing cubes

Packing cubes help you avoid overstuffed luggage. With packing cubes, you can pair like items together, stay a lot more organized and condense your items down to save space.


Choose simple shoes

Shoes are a big issue for many people (especially women) who travel internationally. They want several different pairs for different occasions, which can add a lot of weight —  and bulk —  to luggage. The best way to avoid too many shoes is to pick a few simple pairs that are diverse enough to go with anything you’re wearing. This could be a pair of tennis shoes and some dressy flats, or a pair of flats and one pair of heels. Go with neutral colors and you’ll be fine.



Check the weather

Checking the weather right before your trip is one of the best ways to avoid seasonal overpacking. Just because it could get below 50 in the evening doesn’t mean it will. Check before you go so you can know for sure. Once you get a handle on the forecast, you can pack accordingly.



Err on the side of ‘no’

Most of us throw extra stuff in our luggage just in case we need it. We could need a light jacket and a few sweaters. Or, we might need a poncho. Heck, you could decide to straighten your hair and wish you had your hair straightener along.
Most of the time, the extra events we plan for never happen. Yet, we still err on the side of “yes” and wind up with way too much stuff. By erring on the side of “no,” you can save important luggage space. Remember, you can normally buy that emergency sweater if you really need one.

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