Packing properly is an important consideration for the budget traveler. Traveling on a budget means traveling light. The more unencumbered you are by junk you don't need, the more chances you will have and the less expensive your travel will be.
For instance, while the traveler with only one bag is free to hop on the inexpensive city bus and pay as little as one dollar to get into town, if that same traveler is loaded down with three or four bulky suitcases, it is likely that an expensive taxi, and a potential fare of $50 or more, may be the only option.
This is just one example of how packing light can help you keep your travel budget under control, but there are many more examples, all borne of experience. In addition to saving money, traveling light makes sense on so many levels.
For one thing, you will enjoy your trip much more if you can just head straight out of the airport, without that long wait at the baggage claim.
Traveling light also makes getting around town, from the airport and to the hotel, much easier. Carting a lot of luggage around unnecessarily is a waste of time, money and energy, and most seasoned travelers have learned not to pack too much.
Over packing, however, is a frequent mistake for the first time or inexperienced, traveler, and we are presenting the following list of tips for keeping your packing, and your budget, under control.
- As you are laying out all the things you want to take on your trip, separate them into three different piles the essential pile, the maybe pile and the non essential pile. Then put the non essential, and half of the maybe pile, back in the closet.
- If you possibly can, try to get everything that remains into one bag that can be carried on to the airplane. If you are unsure what constitutes a carry on bag, be sure to check with the airline.
- Do not pack any items that can be purchased inexpensively once you have reached your destination. Be sure, however to pack items that may be more expensive in a tourist area. One example of this, of course, is camera film. Film is often two or three times as costly in a tourist area, so if you have extra film at home bring it along.
- Keep the amount of clothing you pack to an absolute minimum. Choose clothes that can be combined into a variety of different outfits. Keeping the clothes you pack to a minimum is especially smart if you know you will be dong a lot of shopping, and buying a lot of clothes, once you arrive at your destination. Why cart your old clothes halfway around the world if you can wear your snazzy new clothes instead?
- If your vacation is a long one, do laundry while you are away instead of bringing a suitcase full of extra clothes.
- Always pack some versatile clothes. For instance, a pair of swim trunks or shorts can double as sleeping attire. T-shirts are equally versatile and comfortable.
- Pack a collapsible bag in your suitcase. This bag can be used to carry souvenirs and other purchases on the return trip.
- Be sure that all your luggage is clearly labeled with your contact information and name. Avoid putting your street address on luggage tags, however. It is best to use a post office box or a work address.
- Always place any items you need and cannot immediately replace, such as prescription drugs, eyeglasses, and important documents, into your carryon or purse.
- Place all travel documents, maps and printed itineraries on the top of the suitcase, or in a separate zippered compartment, so they will be easy to find.
- If you have an extra pair of eyeglasses at home in a drawer, you may want to bring them along, especially if you need glasses to read signs, find your way around, etc.
- Pack them in a hard sided case and place them either in a purse or a separate compartment of the suitcase. Eyeglasses can be difficult, time consuming and expensive to replace while on vacation.
- And finally, consider packing an extra wallet, with one or two credit cards but no cash, into a separate compartment in your suitcase.
- The purpose of doing this is so you will have emergency funds in the event your regular wallet is lost or stolen. If the credit cards in the suitcase are lost or stolen, they can be cancelled immediately and you will not be liable for any fraudulent charges.