Airplanes are heavy, and they use a lot of fuel to get off the ground. While your bag might seem small in the big picture, every pound makes a difference when an airplane is carrying it for thousands of miles. If you’re flying across the country, each pound of luggage you bring creates an additional pound of carbon emissions. Learning to travel light is one way to cut down on your own carbon footprint. Not only is traveling light good for the environment, but it will also save you money on pesky overweight baggage fees.
1. Quality over quantity
When it comes to packing clothes, bring higher quality items that don’t need to be washed as often. A good pair of jeans and a wool sweater can be worn multiple times, so you get several outfits for the space of one. Sensible, versatile clothing wins out over statement pieces any day. One great idea is to pack with a color combination in mind. This will give you a variety of outfits just from swapping a few pieces of clothing around.
2. Commit to a size limit
Before you even start packing, choose a bag and commit to packing only what fits inside. It’s easy to get carried away when we think about the things we want to pack instead of the space that’s available to us. When you know exactly how much space you have from the get-go, you’ll realize that maybe you don’t need as much as you think you do.
3. When in doubt, leave it out
Traveling is often stressful, so it’s easy to get trapped in a worst-case scenario mindset when it comes to packing. What if there’s an emergency? Or a special event? Keep in mind that you’re much more likely to regret packing too much than not enough. Before you pack each item, ask yourself if it’s something that you need or something that you might need. If you find yourself holding a pair of shoes and thinking of unlikely situations where they might come in handy, it’s best to just leave them at home.
4. Think about your destination
Things like toiletries, cosmetics, and accessories are easy to get once you’re at your destination. Hotels will often give these to you for free! And it can be cheaper to make small purchases as needed than to pack your entire bathroom cabinet. You should also try to leave space in your bags to bring back something from your destination. Whether it’s gifts for your family or a surprise treat for yourself, it’s nice to have some wiggle room in your luggage.
5. Wear it out
Since shoes and jackets are usually the heaviest, bulkiest items in your luggage, it makes sense to carry them on your body rather than in your bag. Wearing your largest coat to the airport will free up space in your luggage and give you plenty of pocket room for storing extra knick-knacks. Winter items like boots, scarves, hats and gloves should also stay on your body as you’re boarding. As a bonus, all that extra bulk can double as a cozy blanket for your plane ride.
Following these tips will help you pack smart and travel light the next time you get on a plane. A lighter bag means your plane will use less fuel and release less carbon into the atmosphere. Both the planet and your pocketbook will thank you!