How to Travel Fast & Light in 5 Steps

If you're a frequent traveler, chances are you have plenty of opinions on how to travel well. If you're like me and my fellow road warriors, these opinions range from finding the best airport parking to knowing which airport lounges have the most appealing snacks (i.e., the oatmeal at the Delta Crown Room before an early flight is THE BEST!) and anything else you can imagine.

However opinionated you are about travel trappings, chances are your views are even more strident when it comes to packing.  You KNOW how to pack perfectly.   In fact, your packing system not only works for you, but you SWEAR it would work for everyone else.

I get that.  Truly, I do.

Still, I think I could take you in a duel.

There are two skills in my toolkit of which I am supremely confident:

#1 - I make great guacamole and #2 - I am a packing ninja.

Seriously, for years, my colleagues have teased me about my ridiculous commitment to traveling light.  My last trip to New York for three nights looked like this:


But that's because I was packing bulky winter clothes.  My summer bags are smaller.

Packing. Ninja.

And so, after 890 blog posts, I thought I'd finally let you all know how this magic happens.  I realize my opinions might be controversial, but here we go...

1. Limit the shoes

For the love of space allocation, plan your clothing around the shoes which you can wear every day of your trip.  Wear these shoes when you fly. If this is too restrictive, bring one alternate pair.  Wear the heavy pair and pack the light one.  You can bring two alternates if it's summer since sandals are light-weight.

Are you concerned about blisters from wearing the same shoes every day?  Remember band-aids are lighter than shoes!

2. Small Toiletries Only

Unless you're traveling overseas or with children, you should never, ever have to check your bag.  If you WANT to check your bag and deal with baggage fees, lost luggage and excessive wait times, that's entirely your call, but you should always keep your liquids to a minimum so you CAN carry on should crazy flight schedules require you to make last-minute changes.

I happen to be a shampoo/conditioner/lotion agnostic and am willing to live with whatever the hotel serves up (a fact my husband still finds peculiar), but it's all part of the packing game!

3. Leave exercise gear behind

Are you really going to the hotel gym? Really?

In a former life I would pack workout clothes lying to myself about getting into shape while I traveled.  Now I do push-ups and curls in my room, and I walk the escalator stairs in the airport.

That's probably more exercise than I get at home anyway.

Granted, this doesn't make me a Crossfit champion, but at least my "alternate shoes" don't have to be sneakers!

4. Ditch the Wheels

I think roller-board suitcases are the devil.

Ever since luggage with wheels have become popular, the available square footage for walking has dropped in half.  People lug them around the terminal stopping abruptly mid-stride and leaving passenger pile-ups in their trail.  Passengers also fill up the escalator with these bags riding shotgun next to them.

Why don't Americans think about leaving a walking path up the escalator anyway? (This happens to be the only form of exercise for some of us!)

In protest of this travel scourge, I only own 2-3 wheely bags myself (for my lazy days).

5. Make your computer bag your purse

Guys - you get a pass because no one ever judges you based on your purse, so skip this paragraph.

For the rest of us ladies, can we strike a collective bargaining agreement to stop caring about having a great-looking, on-trend purse?


O.K. - well then, the only compromise I know is to have a not-so-ugly computer bag and don't carry a purse at all.  Of course, maybe you don't have to carry your computer with you everywhere in which case perhaps you can slip in another pair of shoes in lieu of the macbook.

Follow my advice.  Seriously.  It's as dependable as my guacamole!