An escape from your daily routine keeps your mind and body moving. New sights, different cultures, and taking some time for youare all great reasons to travel. But the last thing you need on your trip is a heavy suitcase slowing you down. Whether you’re taking a road trip or crossing international borders, you’ll want to pack as lightly as possible. Here are some packing tips to help you organize and minimize your luggage:

  • Be ruthless. Lay out everything you think you will need and then put 50% away. If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t bring it.
  • Choose lightweight, easy-to-launder clothing that will coordinate well together. Ask yourself: Can it be used for multiple occasions?
  • Pack a large plastic bag to separate the clean clothes from the dirty, and remember that dark-colored clothing usually means less need for doing laundry.
  • Keep jewelry, makeup, and perfume to a minimum, and keep other valuables at home.
  • Bring toiletries in travel-size containers and keep them in plastic zip-up bags.
  • Keep easy-to-lose pieces of paper such as boarding passes, hotel information, and stamps together in a plastic checkbook cover. Use the register to record names and phone numbers, reminders, emergency contacts, and accommodation information.
  • Keep your family’s medication in its original labeled container to avoid confusion and delays with security.
  • Take an umbrella to stay dry, and more importantly, cool.

In addition to packing light, the key to being a happy traveler is planning and asking plenty of questions ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to call and confirm that your transportation and lodging needs will be met—and then get it in writing. Have a great trip!