How to Travel the World with One Suitcase

by  Karen Gardiner | Aug 11, 2016

As airlines get stricter with baggage allowances, travelers need to pack wisely. When flying from the U.S. to Europe, Delta, United, and American will only check your first suitcase for free, charging $100 for the second, and some European airlines like Swiss and Lufthansa charge a hefty $200. All the more reason to be judicious. Here are our tips for packing light (and smart!) for a long trip.

Leave the heavy stuff to your hotel

If you can't stand the thought of abandoning your fitness regime on a trip around the world but have to leave your workout gear at home for lack of space, add some Westin hotels to the itinerary. The brand's Gear Lending program, in partnership with New Balance, provides (freshly laundered) running shoes and clothing for just $5, which you are welcome to use in the gym or outdoors for the length of your stay. Westin properties are found all over North America and Asia, as well as a handful of European countries.

No need for lugging around heavy curling irons, extension cords or chargers either if you're staying at a Kimpton branded hotel. Their Forgot It? We've Got It! program offers a long list of amenities available for complimentary use during your stay. Unlike Westin though, Kimpton Hotels are restricted to the U.S. and Cayman Islands -- although an Amsterdam hotel is on the way.

Make Use of Vintage Shops

If you are headed out on a long trip across the world, chances are you'll find your carefully selected items getting a little stale after a few weeks' rotation. A budget friendly way to spice up your suitcase is by visiting local vintage stores along the way. There you can pick up locally made souvenirs while offloading some of the outfits you're already bored of -- perhaps breaking even or even making a profit. Look out for authentic tweeds, tartan, and cashmere in the second-hand shops of Glasgow and Edinburgh (at a far cheaper price than in the souvenir shops), chic vintage designer finds in Paris, and impeccably preserved and meticulously cared for pieces in the treasure trove that is Tokyo's Shibuya and Harajuku districts.

Pack Long-Wearing Clothes

The Unbound Apparel clothing line promises that wearers can "travel the world with nothing more than a backpack." Made up of a t-shirt, socks, and underwear, the Canadian line is anti-bacterial, moisture wicking, and odor-resistant, which the company claims allows for it to be worn for up to 46 days without washing, remaining surprisingly odor-free. The company is currently fund-raising to launch the line and have far outdone their target. When launched, prices will range from $15 for socks to $50 for a T-shirt and (although they can last longer) the founders recommend packing two of each for a two week trip.

Pick Your Airline Wisely

Can't fit it all in? If can't limit yourself to one suitcase, there is hope. Icelandair still allows travelers to check in two bags at no additional cost, as does Etihad on most (though not all) routes.

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