When I studied abroad in college, I schlepped a huge backpack-o-stuff to Europe. I could hardly pull it through the airports myself it was so full. I was afraid if I didn’t bring all those things with me that I would have to do without something I needed or, worse, spend unnecessary money.

Did I use everything in my suitcase? Of course not. Some of the clothes I brought, though travel-appropriate, were neutral colors and kind of boring so I didn’t wear them. (Later I found out my host family thought I was depressed because I didn’t wear color for the first month I was there!)  On the other hand, one major item I didn’t think to pack was school supplies. When I got to France, I had to buy the usual student supplies of notebooks, pens, and markers. Oh no, not spending money! I lamented but it was unavoidable. When in Europe I guess.

My point is, even when I was staying somewhere six months, there was no reason for me to pack a big bag. After this experience, I was a converted light packer.

I headed to Las Vegas Friday with a carry on and a purse. I have quite a range of items (ranging from pool loungewear to something fancy to wear to a show).

Here are a few ways I pulled it off:

1) I brought lots of easy to wash items: polyester blends that could easily be refreshed in the hotel sink if need be.
2) Small containers of liquids and gels are needed for a carry on (a quart sized bag is not a gallon sized bag as I learned. Good thing I was able to cram everything in a quart!).  It would be really fun and easy, however, for me to purchase small containers at a drug store at my destination rather then bringing with. (I love seeing stores in other parts of the country, especially convenience and grocery stores. Talk about culture!)
3) Charge all devices before your trip. My iPod will probably last my entire trip on the one charge I gave it last night, as will my digital camera. Prioritizing on all those cords is key to keeping your bag light.
4) Multitasking items.Need I say more?
5) You can always ship home. When I went to San Fran and bought some new stuff, I shipped a box of dirty clothes home my last day there to make room in my suitcase. It was sure worth having that extra space in exchange for the $10.

You'll be happy you packed light. Trust me!

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