1suitcaseThis year, resolve to travel better by packing lighter. It’s easier that resolving to lose weight. Really. If the thought of taking nothing more than one teeny tiny carry-on suitcase per person for a week-long vacation makes you break out in a cold sweat, do a trial run.

1.      Prepare to Pack

Two weeks before your trip, start the packing process. Choose everything you want to take with you. Lay it out on the bed and look for ways to pare down the pile. Which pieces can do double or even triple duty? If you add a sweater over that top can you wear it to visit the museum one day and out to dinner the next? If not, put it back and choose another top that will work better.

Once you have the clothes you want, add some colorful scarves to give your travel wardrobe some easy-to-pack, light-weight variety.

2.      Time to Pack

That’s right, you’re going to test-pack everything two weeks before your trip. Get out the roll-aboard suitcase and start packing. Roll everything tightly to ensure it will take up less room and arrive at the destination relatively wrinkle-free.

If you can’t make everything fit, go back to step one and try again. If it all fits, move on to step three.

3.      Live Out of Your Suitcase

This is the trial run. If you’ll be gone for a week, then the only clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc., you can use for the next seven days have to come out of the suitcase. The idea here is to: a.) convince you it’s possible to travel light and b.) give you the comfort of knowing that if you really need something, it’s in your dresser drawer. Should you supplement the travel bag with other items, however, you’ll need to go back to step one and try again. If you were able to spend an entire week using only what’s in the suitcase, move on to step four.

4.      Help Your Family Pack Lighter

If you can do it, they can do it. Show them how. And then call a family meeting to decide how you’ll spend the money you saved by not checking bags on your next flight. (Checking four bags on a one-stop round-trip flight could add $400 unnecessarily to the cost of your vacation.)