"" Writer's Wanderings: Travel Prep - Lighten Up!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Travel Prep - Lighten Up!

In addition to the number of bags you carry on your trip you also need to be conscious of how heavy those bags are. Generally travel within the U.S. limits the weight of each piece of luggage to 50 pounds or less. Anything more and you could be charged $200 for the overage. Overseas travel is a little more lenient but check with your airline to be sure.

Aside from the overweight charges you don't really want to be lugging around a heavy suitcase especially if you are traveling on your own. Trust me. Moving from one place to another on Europe's trains or subways is more of a challenge than you might want to take on if you are dragging a heavy suitcase. Many stations have long sets of steps up and down and very few elevators or even escalators.

So, lighten up! Here are a few ideas:

  • Wear your heavy shoes. Those are usually your walking shoes anyway. 
  • While those toiletry organizers are lovely, they also can add a lot of extra weight. Ziploc bags work well and are a lot lighter.
  • Buy sample sized toiletries or plan to use what the hotels/ B&Bs offer you instead of packing shampoo and conditioner and lotion. 
  • A reading device such as Kindle, Nook, iPad or Surface will be a better choice than carrying three or four books for your reading along the way. 
  • Plan to pack less clothes and do laundry or hand washing along the way.
  • If you think you will need some warmer outerwear, either plan on wearing layers or find some lightweight outerwear that will serve you well and not weigh you down.
  • If you are a souvenir shopper see if you can't keep from accumulating too many to carry by using FedEx, UPS, or a postal service to ship those souvenirs home. Often the places you purchase from will offer to ship for you.
And the handiest gadget we have found for our travels is a luggage scale. Online or at a AAA travel store, you will find handheld luggage scales that clip onto the handle of your suitcase and when you lift, it will give you the weight of your packed suitcase. The gadget weighs very little and packs away into the corner of your suitcase. I've seen them cost anywhere from $15 to $45.
It has saved us more times than not from having to redistribute weight from one suitcase to another at the check in counter in the airport.

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