Choosing lightweight suitcases not only makes it easier for you to get about, it also often gives you more space to pack. At 8.8 pounds, Eagle Creek's Hovercraft 25 features an expandable main compartment that adds an extra 15 percent capacity. If you're planning on doing lots of shopping during your trip, pack an extra travel tote or daypack that folds flat in your luggage—it can even double as a place to carry essentials on day outings and bring back your travel treasures on the flight back. Patagonia offers an extra-lightweight travel tote that you can hand-carry or wear as a backpack, then stuff into its own pocket when it's no longer needed.
Throughout the year festivals are held in almost every small Icelandic town and village, that thematically reflect the historical and environmental soil from which they sprang; from Siglufjörður’s Danish Days in the West to Dalvik’s Great Fish Day in the North, each town occupies its own calendar space, attracting large numbers of visitors who join the townspeople in celebrations of local music, food, dance, and drink.
Your best bet for flexibility in these areas comes if you book your stay during the shoulder season when the owner might simply be pleased to fill an otherwise-open weekend or midweek-to-midweek slot. The additional savings in that case might be on your flights to and from your destination, because you won't be paying exorbitant weekend fares to get there and back.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
To be able to avoid checking in your luggage, you’ll have to pack strategically. It might be a business trip, but you are also excited to explore the sights and let your hair down afterwards. Gather your most versatile clothing. Bring shoes that look sharp in the meeting room but can also hold up to a night on the dance floor. A semi-formal, single-color blazer makes a perfect multipurpose fashion piece, functioning as half of your business suit during the day and a nice accompaniment with jeans for the evening.
Space will be tight in your backpack, so you’ll want everything to be essential. If your clothes require ironing or will get destroyed easily, don’t pack them. I brought a fancy dress around the world with me and not only did I never wear it (because I was a backpacker and nobody was wearing stuff like that) but I felt guilty about throwing it out, so carried it around with me for an entire year! Don’t do this — bring clothes you don’t care about and replace them for cheap on the road.
Will you be spending a lot of time in one particular country? A prepaid SIM card for the region you're visiting is an economical choice for overseas phone usage, and it allows you to make calls and use data exactly as many locals do: through a local provider. Switch your SIM card and you'll have a new local phone number and likely an affordable plan that puts scary-expensive international calling packages to shame. You won't be able to make or receive calls via your usual phone number, though.
Speaking of your body, this is the phase of travel where your body really starts to hate you, so come equipped to pamper it as best you can. Germaphobes, bring hand sanitizer and your own travel pillow. Prone to tight muscles or leg cramps? Bring a tennis ball to roll out what aches, or place it under a leg to release pressure in a knot. Frequent travelers might consider investing a pair of compression socks to increase blood flow during such long periods of immobility.
"The more you pack, the easier it gets (or at least, the easier it should get) — so make being ready to travel part of your everyday life. Collect travel-sized toiletries when you have the chance: Get an extra toothpaste when you go to the dentist, ask your hair stylist for shampoo and conditioner samples, and keep all of them organized in a ready-to-grab toiletry bag. Learn which items of clothing work best for travel: They shouldn't wrinkle easily, they should work for day or evening, and they shouldn't take up a lot of space in your bag. And always pack less: What didn't you use on your last trip? Don't bring it." — Jessica Plautz, Deputy Digital Editor
Good advice. Here’s a dozen more. (1) Packing a towel: get a thin, cotton towel used in Turkish Hamams. They pack to nothing; dry out fast; double as a sarong, Mosque head covering, or picnic cloth. (2) Universal sink stopper – don’t leave home without one. (3) As much silk, light cotton, Gor-tex, and synthetics as you can tolerate. Dries fast, light weight to pack. (4) Prescription scripts – diabetics know this is critical; others can use the advice as well. (5) Money belts – absolutely use them!!!!! (6) Lunchtime museum visits – check opening hours!! MANY close at lunch. (7) Locks: Yes, but add thin fishing lead wire (loops on both ends). Lock luggage together or to the overhead bin of buses and trains. (8) City Attraction Cards: some work; most don’t unless you want to race from museum to museum. Do the math first. Often transit cards are a better deal than the full event cards. (9) MAJOR sites/museums: book admission times/fees on line in advance. Why stand in line at the Louvre, etc. when you could be inside appreciating. (10) Double-check all opening hours on line and ask TIC what sites are closed (for renovation; lack of funds; you name it). All guide books, no matter how useful, are out of date the minute they hit the stores. (11) Learn to use Kindle (or similar) for travel reading but as NOT guide books (worthless). (12) Location, location, location. Sometimes, that cheap hotel/hostel/apartment in the boonies is worth the savings, but not if you want/need a quick refresher in the afternoon. AND, always ask floor level and elevator availability when renting an apartment! European floors begin on the “ground” level, not “first floor” — and the stair cases can be very high. Not all of us are twenty-something Australians who can climb mountains with full packs.
In general, good advice and info but I sure disagree with #7. Why you need a photo of yourself in all your pix, I don’t know, but I was tired of all your portraits of yourself rather than the places and the people in the places before I was 1/4 thru the list. Not to mention how annoying people who ask strangers to take their photo can be. Take photos of the people and places you see. That’s what I want after my trips and what I’d prefer to see on your blog posts.
When you take your seat on the plane, make a habit of adjusting the air vents. To get that Goldilocks sweet spot (not too hot, not too cold), open the air vent about halfway, and then position it so it blows right in front of you but not on you. Not only will you boost circulation in your personal zone, which can counteract that stuffy plane feeling, but some experts suggest that you may also be protecting yourself from germs.
Hi. We are just entering our 4th year on the road and I think I agree with just about everything above. It’s always changing, we find new, better ways, or what we want from this lifestyle changes, so for a few months we’ll be regular backpackers, then we’ll chill and rest for a while in a city apartment rental. Whatever, we love this life. Your picture of that little stove on the Everest trail brought back happy memories, we took the kids up there a few months ago, great times. Cheers!
"After going on international adventures and suffering food poisoning, sudden fever, cuts and scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments — and then having to navigate a foreign pharmacy — I've learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), and ear plugs (life savers on long-haul flights and trains). And if you never have to use it, all the better!" — Karen Chen, Digital Producer
If possible, start a running or walking routine. This allows you to stay healthy on the road without relying on specific gym equipment or facilities, and also lets you tour the area you're working in and get a sense of the place outside the cubicles and meeting rooms. I aim to do my running routine in the morning since evenings are usually consumed with dinners or catching up on other work, and it's always interesting to see a place as it wakes up and engages in life's little routines.
The best way to fit more into your bag is to have a suitcase that grows with your packing needs. Expandable suitcases double as two bags in one, often starting out carry-on size but expanding to a larger bag when needed. We love the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Upright, which grows by 25 percent with the pull of a lever. If you're packing for a big trip (or need extra souvenir space on a return flight), simply expand the suitcase.
Besides the normal things like clothing and body products, I take a traveling natural health kit. One of the key ingredients is essential oils: they’re great for natural first-aid, to ward off germs and bacteria, and even for a bit of scent (smaller than any perfume bottle). I use lemon oil as my hand sanitizer wherever I go. It’s easier to carry and better smelling than most products on the market. Santa Fe Travelers
This rip-off is especially noxious because it is based on a lie—that the fuel surcharge somehow isn't part of the regular fare. How bad it is? Recently, British Airways posted a round-trip from Boston to London with a base fare of $208, plus $230 in government/airport/security taxes and fees and a $458 "carrier imposed" (read: "fuel") surcharge. Ridiculous!
The result: an endless stream of nearly identical bags on the baggage carousel. The solution: mark your bags by tying a colorful ribbon, stitching a unique patch or putting a large sticker on your bags. You won’t see other passengers pulling your bags off the carousel to check for their tiny name tags, and you’ll be able to see your suitcases come out the door from miles away.
One tip that’s probably been mentioned a lot, but I live by, is this: lots of layering options for the kids reduces the need to pack lots of warm clothes. By layering, it’s easy to modify their level of warmth. Having multiple short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts are more space-friendly than carrying extra jackets, for example. Little Aussie Travellers

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.
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