I might be in the absolute minority with this opinion but here it is: I do not believe in packing light for airplane travel! By packing light, I mean only packing a carry-on for a week’s trip or longer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m vehemently against paying any kind of overweight and have so far never paid for extra poundage at the baggage check-in counter. And like you, I loathe traipsing around overly heavy suitcases. But I’m not one to only pack a carry-on unless it’s an overnight or weekend stay and I’m travelling alone. I have a baggage allowance and I like to use it.

I travel abroad frequently and I have my own packing system that works well for me. For a trip that’s 4 days or longer, I’ll pack up to ten pounds below my baggage allowance that goes into the hold (the allowance is usually 50 pounds), and carry a virtually empty carry-all plus a large handbag for the flight.

For the suitcase that goes into the hold, I meticulously plan an outfit for each day of the trip, mixing and matching as far as possible, with one or two spare options. I also plan a few going-out-at-night outfits and rotate them as necessary. I try to get by with minimum pairs of shoes but pack lots of accessories and one extra handbag, so that I have two handbags on my trip, and possibly a clutch too (can’t help it handbags are my thing). I carry small bottles of my toiletries and sometimes pack slippers as well. In summary, I like to wear clean clothes on most days of the trip, do a little bit of laundry along the way and still have options.

I also like to bring back things from our trip which means that I need the extra space. Packing a full carry-on on the way there doesn’t allow for the extra space to do this.

I fully understand the advantages of packing light too. You don’t wait at baggage claim, and lugging around a smaller lighter suitcase is infinitely easier than lugging around a larger heavier one. You also have less to pack and unpack at your destination. But I really don’t mind waiting at baggage claim and I’m very used to dragging what I pack, using public transport to get to the hotel in most instances. I’m also fine with unpacking and packing it all in our hotel room. The assurance that I have all that I need with options far outweighs the advantages of packing light.

So I’m not a heavy packer, but I’m not a light packer either. How and what I pack really works for me.  Of course, things might be different if my trips had me spending less than a few days in each destination. Greg went through a stage of doing business trips that covered 5 countries in a week and in that situation traveling with one over-nighter makes a lot of sense.  What’s your packing strategy? Do you like to travel light, not so light, or are you a heavy traveler? What would you like to change about your packing strategy?