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Packing Smart: The Benefits (Part 1)

Airplane taxiEditor’s Note: Packing for a trip is always a challenge. What to bring? What if you need something and you forget it? Don’t you ‘have’ to have three changes of shoes?

If you constantly overpack, the experts at Tortuga, makers of travel backpacks, are here to help. In a 3-part series, they take you from overpacking and checking multiple bags to sailing through airports with a single carry-on and one personal item. Wow! This advice in invaluable.

We’ve separated Tortuga’s overpacking advice into three, bite-sized parts, which we’ll run over the next weeks. If you need to refer to a part you missed, you can always go back and read it. The sections include: Packing Smart: The Benefits (Part 1); Packing Smart: From Multi-checked Bags to One (Part 2); and, finally, the advanced lesson, Packing Smart: From Checked to Carry-on (Part 3).

Daypack LL Bean

One way to make it easier to schlep rather than check your luggage is to carry a daypack with good straps and a waist belt like RFT Editor Bobbie Hasselbring’s Ridge Runner by LL Bean.

If you follow the advice from Torgua, you can streamline packing and enjoy your travel so much more. And because overpacking is a bit like any bad habit, we start with a bit of motivation: the terrific results and benefits you’ll get from slimming down your overpacking addiction. (We’ve edited the posts for space.) – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

The Results

In case you need a little extra encouragement to stop overpacking, here are some of the results/benefits that you can achieve if you travel with carry-on only.

Assuming that you fly twice per year (meaning, 4 one-way trips), getting down to a single carry-on and one personal item pays some pretty great dividends:


Packing less can save you a ton of time.

Gain Time

Shave off an average of 21 minutes per trip waiting at the luggage carousel, and anywhere from 5 – 35 minutes spent checking your bag in the first place. For a round trip flight, let’s assume that’s a total of 1 hour 22 minutes saved. If you travel twice a year, that’s nearly 3 hours less time spent in an airport per year.

Save Money

Expect to save between $100 – 200 per year on luggage fees, depending on airlines, as well as the additional money spent on tips for porters, luggage carts, and possible overweight baggage charges. Without extra bags you’ll be more likely to take a bus or train instead of a taxi, which saves even more.

Reduce Stress

Gone are the worries about anything getting broken, stolen, or lost by an airline in transit. Ever. Also, less luggage=less stressful airport and transit experience overall. Yay!


Who couldn’t afford to save money by packing smarter?

Experience Freedom

With fewer pieces of luggage, you’re able to move more freely and say, “Yes,” to more. Once, I met a guy who was traveling by motorcycle in Morocco. When I asked if I could hitch a ride from Marrakesh to the coast, he said, “Well, since you’ve packed so light, that’s not a problem. Sure!” Had I brought too much, one of my favorite travel adventures never would have happened.

This article first published on Packsmith.

Next Up: Moving from Two+ Checked Bags to One

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at