It’s probably the last thing you think about when considering ways to save money, but controlling the urge to bring all the clothes you can imagine needing, and resisting the temptation to pack souvenirs for everyone, can be a very wise move financially.

I know from personal experience that traveling light makes great sense for practical as well as financial reasons. European travel expert Rick Steves concurs, admitting his support for the idea of “Packing Smart and Traveling Light”, and many others share the same view.

Traveling light saves money not least because you avoid paying luggage charges when flying. Trains have luggage restrictions too, with extra charges applied when over the set limit. Amtrak’s baggage policy, for example, lets passengers check in two bags for free, but charges $20 for each of the remaining two permitted bags. It’s a similar story with public transport in most countries, so unless to have the benefit of your own mode of transport, you can face significant extra expense if you are carrying too much.

This chapter has condensed the best tips on saving money by traveling light, from packing your bags efficiently to avoiding unnecessary purchases, so that you don’t have to face high overweight fees on your journey home.

Of course, if you have more tips on how to save money on traveling light which you’d like me to share with readers, simply email me at

Travel Light

With most airlines now charging extra for even the first checked bag, the easiest way to save some cash is simply not bring anything that won’t fit into an onboard carry-on suitcase. This means don’t pack everything but the kitchen sink. Instead, be selective and travel light.

Knowing what luggage restrictions exist ahead of time is the best way of avoiding any over-weight or checked-luggage charges. So, check with your airline in advance to learn the maximum size and weight limit for your carry-on.

A great resource is, which publishes a list of baggage restrictions for a selected number of major carriers. It’s a good guide to go by, but I would still recommend you check with your airline directly, just to be sure. also publishes a “Cabin Luggage Guide”, with mainly European-based airlines included.

When it comes to packing, there is a certain skill involved. Try to put function over fashion by only packing the items that you are really going to need, and preferably items that can be used in combination with multiple items of clothing. Check out for more tips on “How To Pack For A Week With One Carry On”.

Finally, on the return journey, think “experience” rather than “accumulation.” Ask yourself if you really need those souvenirs you purchased as gifts for family and friends. Chances are they won’t be very upset by the absence of a statuette or t-shirt. And as for your own memories, take lots of photos or write a travel journal instead of loading up on trinkets that will probably end up in a box in the attic anyway.

Useful Luggage Apps:

Luggage & Suitcase Checklist (Android) : a simple but effective travel packing app. Contains essential functions to keep track of itinerary and items. Create list, the check items as they are packed or unpacked

Packing Planner Pro (iOS) : create customized packing lists by category, like light and super-light. Stress free family and business travel. ·

Trakdot (Android, iOS) : a luggage tracker designed to prevent your luggage getting lost. Trakdot device placed in checked luggage, and is trackable on your Smartphone.


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