The key to packing light is to be able to think outside the box and find ways to lighten your load before you travel. Thanks to smartphone technology and trillions of available apps it’s easier than ever to replace some of the bulky or heavy gadgets you’re used to packing in your suitcase, with something that only takes up room on your device.
I’m not suggesting becoming a slave to technology on vacation, but there’s no denying that smartphones can definitely come in handy when trying to free up some precious space in your luggage. Whether you’re trying to pack everything in a carry-on bag, or you just want to save a few pennies on overweight bag fees, these packing tips will show you what items to ditch in favor of your smartphone.
photo by vernieman
1. Camera/Video Camera Everyone wants great vacation photos and special moments captured on video. But unless you’re a professional travel photographer, you don’t really need the big bulky camera with multiple lenses and full-size tripod do you? Smartphone cameras have come a long way and they actually take awesome photos – some even do panoramic shots. Take your photos with your smartphone, download apps like Camera+ or Vignette which have filters or attach an Olloclip (only for iPhone) to kick pics up a notch. And since many smartphones have video capability, you can leave the camcorder home too.
2. Flashlight. Many adventure travelers and especially single ladies traveling solo carry a flashlight. It just makes good sense, for safety. Rather than packing an actual flashlight – download a flashlight app on your phone.
3. Guidebooks. No denying those travel tomes are chock full of helpful information. And some even have pretty pictures. But they come at a price. Most reputable guidebook publishers now have downloadable versions that only take up space on your phone, not in your luggage. And that also makes them easier to cart around on a daily basis.
4. Translation Dictionary. Traveling to a foreign destination where you don’t speak the language? A translation dictionary is a must. Rather than packing one in book form, use the Google translation app. It even speaks the language, which no book can do and it translates 50 languages.
5. GPS. Sure you can rent a GPS when you rent a car, but I know many people who pull the one they own from their car at home, load it with maps and take it along on their vacation. Rather than doing that, just use Google Maps on your smartphone. Though maps and navigation aren’t available for every country, the list of countries covered is impressive.
6. Alarm Clock. Believe it or not, not all hotels will provide an alarm clock and many prefer to travel with their own travel version. Downloading one on your phone is a good alternative.
7. Journal. Who doesn’t enjoy taking notes and recording special moments in a travelogue to refer back to year after year? Rather than pack an actual journal, apps like Evernote or TripJournal allow you to take notes with the added bonus of attaching photos and integrating with other apps and social media.
8. Travel documents. Though they really aren’t heavy or take up too much space in luggage, it’s still a good idea to organize travel documents in one easy spot as opposed to having a bunch of paperwork flying about. Apps like Dropbox and TripIt are perfect for saving important itinerary docs and even copies of your passport or credit cards if you should need access in a pinch.
So what did I miss? How do you use your smartphone to help you with packing light?
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