Travelling light: how to sort the wheat from the chaff when preparing for a holiday

by on Thursday, May 23, 2013    |  No Comments

No matter what type of holiday or trip you are about to embark on, knowing what to take with you and what to leave behind is an essential thing to learn. With increases in the costs for taking all kinds of luggage on a plane it’s important to keep weight down. If you’re going backpacking it’s even more necessary to make sure you’re not carrying anything you really don’t need.

Carry it

The first tip for any kind of travel is to try and limit your luggage to carry-on baggage only. Not only will this save you money but it also saves time and hassle with check-ins and waits at carousels in airport arrival lounges. Another advantage is that your gear is with you at all times so you know that it is safe and being handled carefully.


Different airlines have various specifications for their carry-on allowances and there are actually no standard issue rules and regulations. Both size and weight need to be checked, for example British Airways specs are different to Virgin’s and low cost airlines like Ryanair are very strict.

Make sure your bag or backpack fits in with the requirements for any airline you intend to use on your trip – this can save you nasty surprises in terms of extra check-in costs.


Don’t take more than you need. Although this sounds obvious, it is the hardest thing to do when trying to travel light. Think about what you really need clothes-wise for the climate that you will encounter but remember to consider that temperatures are likely to be different when you return home so you’ll need to prepare for that. Making sets of co-ordinated clothes that can be mixed and matched together can also be a great idea to save space in your bags.

Fold and roll

How you actually pack can make all the difference too – you need to make the most of every nook and cranny in your bags. Fold and roll is the big trick that seasoned travellers learn to use, folding heavy items as alternating layers so that bulges even out into a smooth pile and rolling small items up so that they fit in between others.

Don’t sacrifice the essentials

When packing light it can be easy to get carried away and scrimp on the essentials – but this is something you should avoid at all cost. To do this, you need to identify what is absolutely vital to your trip and make sure it is packed as a priority.

It is a real advantage to be able to keep in touch wherever you go and the nature of the internet means that it is a great idea to take a device with you to go online. There’s no need to take everything though – do you really need a tablet or laptop as well as a smartphone? Instead of loading yourself down with pesky gadgets, take only what you need.

Similarly, make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place to address any potential problems you may encounter. Allianz Global Assistance is an example of annual cover which you can obtain but there are also single trip policies available for less frequent travellers.

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