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Flying to a conference or office in another region? Visiting a faraway client? Simply getting away from the hustle and bustle for a few days? Whatever the reason for your trip, checking bags – especially heavy ones – can be a financial burden as well as a potential waste of time. One way to save yourself time and money is to fit everything you truly need into a carry-on. If packing light isn’t your specialty, maybe these tips will help. While these are all great business travel tips, they can be very valuable for personal travel as well!


Make a Concise Packing List


You only really need a few things to successfully get through your trip. If you keep to a strictly need-only list, you can avoid unnecessary weight, space, and clutter. Making a packing list will also ensure you don’t forget any crucial items, like your passport. If you have the foresight to plan for what you will need on a day to day basis, you’re more likely to be able to pack efficiently and keep your travel light.


What are your essentials? Here are some of the items the packing-light specialists at Tortuga Backpacks recommend putting on your packing list: your flight itinerary, passport, phone charger and adapter (if needed), a water bottle, earbuds, and a good book for getting you through the flight.


Be Smart with Your Toiletries


Remember that liquids over 100mL must be checked, so if you’re looking to only travel with carry-on luggage, plan which cosmetics you will be bringing ahead of time. Most drug stores offer travel sized items like toothpaste, shampoo, hand sanitizer, and more. Many medicines also come in these sizes. If you know where you’re staying, you can plan which cosmetics you actually need. Does your hotel offer soap and other toiletries? Call and ask! You can save space by leaving yours at home.


This liquid limit applies to drinks as well, so if you want to pack a reusable water bottle and be environmentally friendly, remember to bring it empty and fill it up once you are through security.


Plan Your Outfits Ahead of Time


It can be an attractive prospect to throw a bunch of nice shirts and other garments into your bag, banking on the chance you might wear them. But if you’re travelling for a short amount of time, it is much more space and time efficient to plan your outfits in advance. Can you re-wear the same pants twice? Great! Match everything to a specific pair of shoes? Even better! Conserve space and look your best by coming up with your wardrobe ahead of time. As Tortuga Backpack’s blog Packsmith suggests:


“When packing in a carry on for a business trip, look for items that pull double-duty and that can be dressed up or down. Meaning: that black dress looks equally stunning with a scarf for a casual business meeting or a statement necklace for a client dinner.”


In a similar vein, digital-style influencer Amber Venz Box gave Forbes her advice for packing smart for business trips without sacrificing style. Box said, “I always challenge myself to pack within the confines of a carry-on bag. Don’t waste your time at the baggage carousel or risk the airline misplacing your bag. I went to China for a week with just a carry-on roller and a tote bag!... For trips that are five days or less, I try to pack only two to three pairs of shoes.”


Give Yourself Time


Whether you pack the day before or the week before you travel, make sure you give yourself the proper time and mental energy to dedicate to packing efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you forgot something important, or having to pay extra for a heavy bag. If you allow yourself the time to prioritize packing for success, your trip will be easier, and you in turn can focus on what matters instead of worrying about what you might have forgotten at home.

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