Stop Packing So Much!

We can’t be the only ones to have noticed just how much people pack for a week long vacation. Take a look at any line of people waiting to check-in at the airport and you’ll see dozens of vacationers who appear to have brought half of their worldly possessions with them and, in this day of ever increasing airline baggage fees, that’s just crazy!

The biggest culprits are usually families heading to the beach or somewhere sunny. This group of vacationers inevitably packs items that they’re never going to use (4 pairs of long pants, 3 pairs of dress shoes etc.), or items that they could easily get at their destination for a lot less than those airline fees they’re paying (kids’ mask/fins, pool/beach toys etc.). Gentlemen, if you’re heading to the sun for a week what are you doing with more than one pair of long pants? You’re not going to be wearing them in the daytime and how often will you be eating out somewhere where long pants are required? Ladies, we know you love your shoe collections, but is that third pair of sandals really necessary? And that evening dress you brought along ‘just in case’? Which beach is that going to be useful for?!

The truth is that we all pack way too much for our vacations and the only beneficiaries are the airlines who keep raking in the profits. According to CNN, US airlines made $3.35 billion in baggage fees alone in 2013, that’s billion with a ‘b’!

Resorts and businesses in the surrounding areas are much better these days at catering for vacationers who like to pack light and you don’t have to spend a fortune to find what you need. During our recent trip to Kauai (we stayed at Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club) we rented bodyboards for $25 for the whole week and, had we needed them, the resort had a big selection of masks, snorkels and fins to choose from (we were particularly impressed that they had prescription masks).

At $25/week for mask, fins and snorkel ($35 if you need a prescription mask) it makes little sense to bring these items from home unless you’re a serious snorkeler. We looked around the local stores to see what was available in the way of beach toys and found an ample supply of items to keep kids occupied (the resort had some of these items too, but the local markets were considerably cheaper).

The vacationers with least excuse for over-packing are those who’ve discovered the world of timeshare/resort rentals. Most high end resorts now offer villas/units which come with laundry facilities (including detergent) as standard and, if you opt for a smaller unit that doesn’t come with a washer/dryer there are usually communal laundry rooms which are very well equipped. Gone are the days when you had to pack a separate set of clothes for each day of your vacation – now you can get away with bringing just enough to get you through laundry day!

The next time you’re packing for a family break, have a think about what you’re putting in your suitcase. Do you really need everything that you’re packing? Try leaving the heavier and bulkier items behind if you think you may be able to get them at your destination. You’ll find it will be easier on your back as well as your wallet.