ABOVE: Heavy suitcases may seem manageable at the
railroad station or airport, but they're a nuisance when you're going to or from
Mistake #5: Lugging overloaded bags
light" is often presented as a moral choice: the traveler's equivalent of "Don't
smoke" or "Scrape those sausages and eggs off your plate and eat a bowl of
Not being moralists, we prefer to think in terms of
convenience. When you're rolling a lightweight suitcase of carry-on size,
you'll find it much easier to squeeze onto a crowded train or bus from Charles de
Gaulle or Orly Airport, and you'll be grateful for your choice of baggage when
you need to climb stairs in the underground station or your hotel.
with one small upright suitcase of
carry-on size (even if you check your bag), plus a lightweight tote or
backpack. (The bag in the photo is a
Size Zero carry-on from Antler, which weighs only 5.3 pounds or 2.4 kg.)
To lighten your load, bring clothes that weigh little and
are easy to drip-dry. Blue jeans are heavy and bulky, and they can take days to dry in a hotel bathroom.
In contast, lightweight travel trousers, shirts, skirts, and
underwear take up little space, are easy to wash, and often will dry
overnight. (Durant is especially partial to
REI Adventures Pants,
REI Sahara Tech shirts, and
"Air Strip" shirts from ExOfficio.)
If you insist on hauling a large suitcase, consider one of
the new four-wheeled upright bags, which can be turned and rolled sideways
for easier maneuvering in train aisles.
who want big suitcases that perform like SUVs should consider Live Luggage's
Hybrid AG bag with powered wheels. (One caveat: The owner may need to
call a tow truck if the Hybrid's battery isn't fully charged.)
Your bonus for traveling light:
By limiting the number and size of your suitcases, you'll be
less vulnerable to pickpockets,
purse-snatchers, and luggage thieves. Here's why:
Less luggage means fewer items to keep track of, and reduced
vulnerability to thieves.
With a lightweight bag, you'll be less likely to get
distracted in the airport or on public transportation. (When you're trying
to bulldoze a monster three-suiter into a crowded RER train, you probably
won't be thinking about your wallet, purse, or backpack--which means you'll
be the perfect target for a crook who preys on jet-lagged or frazzled
Mistake #6: Sightseeing by the numbers
1st inset photo copyright © Gary Alvis.
photo copyright © Antler.
3rd inset photo copyright © Live Luggage.