If you travel much on airlines, it should come as no surprise that not checking luggage will save you more time and accompanying headaches than nearly any other action. Yet a majority of travelers continue to subject themselves to the likely aggravation that not traveling light and using carry on bags is bound to cause them sooner or later.
Bottom line is if your baggage is a must’ve have at your destination, then don’t check it, carry it on. Otherwise the statistical probability of the things you need and counted on, becoming damaged, stolen or even lost completely, is incredibly high.
Even if your bag was to arrive as advertised, there’s time and hassle saved by not standing in line, either at a ticket counter or kiosk, or later at baggage claim. You don’t have to get to the airport as early, you get away from it faster, and best of all, you’re first in line at the taxi queue or rental car counter.
However, a whole lot of things have to happen right to actually get your bags back in the condition you left them in. Not only that, but those same things are the responsibility of uncaring agents and handlers, who in league with luggage devouring conveyer systems, may or may not choose to treat your bags with care, keep from rifling through the contents, or even see they get to the right plane.
Call me jaded, but that seems like a fairly lofty expectation. Personal experiences, keen observation of the process, and myriad horror stories, thoroughly substantiate the fact that checking luggage is risky. It’s far better to rely only on carry on luggage.
So how do you succeed at packing light and still have everything you need?
The easy answer is we don’t really need anywhere near the amount of stuff as we think. Realize you’re not trying to replicate your closet or bathroom at your destination, and by all means leave the kitchen sink behind.
Visualize your stay day by day considering what activities you’re going to do, and where you will do them. That should tell you exactly what to pack. Even if you forget some item, it’s not the end of the world. Just buy a substitute, borrow one, or simply do without.
After the visualization process, you can go about the actual packing in a couple ways. Either lay out everything you can think you might need, then eliminate the excess until it fits in a carry-on, or better yet, only lay out items you’ve visualized using.
Few people will bother to go through this sort of thought process and inevitably they pack all kinds of junk they don’t use. They do it because they think they’ll be prepared for any contingency.
Actually the opposite is true. They just have the illusion they’re prepared. The curious part of it is, that taking this shotgun approach will still leave out something important.
Even for long trips, sending things out to be cleaned, doing some laundry, and selecting clothing that is capable of doing duty will allow one to keep to a carry-on. Seasoned travelers are happy to share packing tips that are proven to work. If you’re serious about succeeding, there are many approaches to traveling light.