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  The Advantages of Packing Light

"Lost luggage."

For some, this phrase evokes nervous smiles and sympathetic nods. For others, it's no laughing matter.

Most travelers I've encountered seem to fall into two categories: The "bring everything you might need" traveload camp, and the "bring only what you use" travelite camp. I've talked extensively with those that fall into Group 1 to try to find out why they like to take everything. Oftentimes, it is because they like to be prepared for all types of situations. I can think of a few. How about losing your luggage? Or having your luggage broken into? How about having to go to the airport earlier than the traveliter, or having to wait around the luggage carousel long after the traveliter has caught a cab (or better yet--the swift train system for a fraction of the cost) to town?

What most people don't realize is that a seasoned traveliter is just as prepared for most situations as the "traveloader." For example, a trip to New Orleans to visit my in-laws a few years ago included attending a wedding I did not know I was attending. Instead of going out and buying a new outfit, I simply wore a set of black coordinates that I accented with a pretty scarf and I fit right in!

Let's take a minute to look at some of the advantages of traveliting:

  • Carry everything yourself.
  • Don't have to tip porters.
  • Don't have to get to the airport as early as the traveloader.
  • Don't have to worry about your checked luggage ending up in another city (or even another continent).
  • Don't have to worry about someone stealing your checked luggage.
  • If you miss your connection, easily rebook yourself without worrying about where your luggage will end up.
  • Easily volunteer to be bumped on a full flight.
  • Zip immediately off the airplane to your destination, instead of waiting at the luggage carousel.
  • Probably catch the bus or train to get someplace, instead of having to pay more to catch a cab (and paying extra for your luggage).

Be aware however, that there are a few disadvantages:

  • Depending on your length of travel, you will have to wash some of your clothes.
  • If the weather turns suddenly very bad, you will probably not have packed severe-weather clothes.
    ...but then, would you have done this even as a traveloader?


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