• Pay particular attention to the width of your suitcase. Many airplanes (and most trains in Europe) now have narrow aisles. A narrow/tall suitcase (with wheels) is better than a wide/short suitcase as it makes it possible to negotiate those narrow aisles.
• If you have extra room in your suitcase on your outbound trip, consider packing some toilet paper. It is light and cheap and acts as a good shock absorber so that your clothes don’t go sloshing around the inside of your suitcase. You might even want to use it on your travels. The same goes with packing some snacks from home.
• The one thing you do not want to have to buy on your travels is underwear. Most people are surprised to find that in our global world, underwear is still very regional. It is the ultimate cultural item. So unless you want to suffer from itchy, scratchy, poor fitting underwear, pack lots from home.
• People have a tendency these days to travel with too many electronic gadgets. Not only do they consume space and weight, but they are also a constant target for thieves. Factor in the amount of time you expect to use the electronics against the cost and hassle of airport security and guarding it while on the road. Do this before you put electronics into your suitcase. Also, being away from electronics and the internet for a few days is a great way to unwind.
• Instead of carrying thick guidebooks with you, consider photocopying only the parts your need on your trip. It saves space and you can discard the photocopy before heading home.
• The decision to take a laptop should not be taken lightly. The peripheral devices needed to support it can add considerable bulk and weight to your luggage. As well, laptop theft is rampant at most major airports (airport security these days revolves around catching terrorists and smugglers, not light-fingered thieves). Only carry a laptop if you expect to make heavy use of it on your trip.
• Nothing beats a good paper notebook and a pen for versatility and ease of use. For one thing, notebooks don’t require batteries or an internet connection. Notes can easily be retyped when you get home.
• Some people travel with clothes/shoes/socks/underwear that are at the end of their useful life. To free up space for the trip home, they simply discard their old clothes before coming home. This works best in developing countries, where it is usually a good idea to wear inexpensive clothing, and where the locals are more likely to recycle any discarded clothes.
• If you plan to stay in one location for five or more days on your travels, consider renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. Many websites now cater to people looking for short-term apartment rentals (try Googling "apartment rental" and the name of the place you are visiting). Not only will renting an apartment give you a more authentic local experience, it will also likely have a kitchen and a washer/dryer. Eating out is often one of the biggest expenses of travel so an apartment can save a lot of money. A washer/dryer in an apartment can also be a huge help for anyone wanting to travel light.
• Another good idea if you are staying in one location for a couple of days is to unpack your suitcase. Putting your suitcase contents into a couple of drawers makes it easier/faster to access what you need instead of constantly digging around the bottom of a suitcase. Unpacking also helps remind you what you brought, and makes it easier to optimize your accessories. This all helps the cause of travelling light.
• Here is an interesting trick that some people might find useful: jeans and most other trousers take up lots of space in a suitcase and are often heavy. Nurse's uniform pants, on the other hand, are light in weight, compact very tightly, have lots of pockets, wash and dry easily, never need ironing, come in fashionable colours and have lots of comfortable features such as elastic waists. You can buy them inexpensively at most major department stores.
• For men, golf clothes work well for travel. Golf clothes are often water resistant, do not need ironing and are designed to be crushed into a golf bag and still come out looking good. As an added bonus, golf clothes are fashionable enough to be worn to most meetings and restaurants, as well as to more casual events.
• If you find your suitcase getting a bit crowded on the way home, consider wearing your bulkiest clothing, shoes and jacket onto the airplane. This will provide some space relief.
• If you buy too much stuff on your travels, think about mailing it home to yourself by standard post. It may be cheaper and more convenient than paying additional luggage fees to the airline. This is especially true if you are travelling within your own country.
Travelling light is as much a philosophy of travel as it is a practical way to get to your destination efficiently and with peace of mind. Travelling is enough of a challenge. Don't get weighed down with too much luggage. Travelling light will make your travels more pleasant and interesting. Bon voyage!