I’ve been traveling a lot this spring/summer. There are a couple of things I’ve come up with that really help me travel more efficiently, or make the most of overpacking at least.
If you have tricks of the travel trade to add to this list, please join in on the comments below.
Too Much Stuff To Take?
Planning to buy more souvenirs than your suitcase will hold?
If you’re traveling light on the way, get nested suitcases and pack for the trip in the smaller one. This probably only works if you get free checked bags, or if you don’t mind the $50-75 extra charge, but it depends on what you’re buying.
Whether you’re traveling light or heavy, get a couple of flat rate shipping boxes from your US Post Office, and buy the postage in advance (you can print a label with postage at usps.com for a discounted rate off “retail”). Then when you’re packing up to go home, put the souvenirs in the flat rate boxes and leave them at the resort front desk for mailing back. You’ll wait a couple of days for delivery, but it’s better than dragging all those coffee mugs and other heavy or bulky items home.
(Drop) Ship It!
The Priority Mail trick also works if you want to ship something there. I once sent my brother’s and my niece’s birthday presents to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort 3 days in advance of my trip, so I wouldn’t forget them and wouldn’t have to pack them and risk over-weight fees on my luggage (a few meals at Whispering Canyon and Boma and I had to risk over-weight fees on myself, of course).
Another space saver that I recommend if you can plan ahead and/or have Amazon Prime. You can have Amazon (and probably many other web retailers for that matter) ship to a third party address. So if you need things like coffee, diapers, non-perishable food items, clothing, a new laptop, etc…, you can order them online to be shipped to your hotel.
Create a new ship-to address and put “Guest Arriving X/X” on one of the address lines, and check with the front desk when Amazon notifies you of delivery.
Suck it up!
You probably won’t take a vacuum cleaner with you, but Space Bags, or their poor cousins zipper bags, are great for compressing clothing and waterproofing your non-wet stuff if your swimsuit, bath puffs, etc don’t dry before you leave.
I found that the genuine Space Bags roll-up varieties, the ones you don’t need a vacuum for, tended to last 2 or 3 trips before they died. So I started cheaping out and getting 2.5 gallon Ziploc brand zipper bags. They now have even larger ones that can be used to pack pillows, blankets, snowmobile suits, whatever you need to get the air out of.
Trade Shows Sometimes Give Away Shirts
I usually forget about this until I get an entire jumbo messenger bag full of tee shirts, but if you’re going to a trade show or technical convention, you’re probably going to be offered more tee shirts than you can use. If you can get away with wearing tee shirts at the event, you can probably get by with one or two shirts.
And if it doesn’t offend your sensibilities, you can save some space on the way home by getting shirts in a size for the smaller life forms at home.
This isn’t always green, but if nobody on your trip is going to be seeing your underwear or bath puffs or socks, you can take the ones your spouse wants you to throw away, wear them one last time, and then throw them away. I tend to do this with bath puffs, since only one of the last dozen hotels I’ve stayed in provides a puff, and that one only did it once.
An alternative, if you can do a quick batch of laundry before taking off, is to donate non-unmentionables to a local thrift shop or charity. Backpacks, bags, and some other trinkets from trade shows can probably find a better home than the box your spouse keeps offering to help you throw away.