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Foreign Travel - Light and Simple

You probably have already adjusted to going lighter for foreign travel, given the new fees for that second (and even the first) piece of checked luggage. That's okay, since it is often just too much to lug around three different suitcases and other items.If you want simpler travel you want to keep it light and limit how many things you bring anyhow.

In fact, if you plan well and pack well, you can go with only a carry-on bag even when visiting overseas for weeks. Light travel pants, light non-bulky clothing in general, and trial size bathroom products are a good start for that. My wife and I have gone to South America for over a month with just a day pack each.

In fact, traveling this way can save you money now that some airlines are charging for that first piece of checked luggage. If you can't quite fit it all in one carry-on bag, try putting a few things in your pockets, and wear some of the clothing you want to bring. You can carry a small nylon duffel bag that folds up the size of a cigarette pack, and then throw everything in that when you arrive.

But saving money certainly is not the only reason to go light nor to go with only carry-on luggage. In fact, it is so much more comfortable to not carry around all those unwieldy thief-attracting suitcases, that some of us will gladly spend more to travel lighter. Along those lines, I like to risk taking too few items and just count on buying what I need as I go along. You always have a better idea of what you need when you get to your destination anyhow, and you may not have brought all the necessary things even if you have three large suitcases.

Another trick for keeping it simple is to decide on one of the two most basic lodging strategies. The first is to stay in one place the whole time you are in each destination, and arrange this ahead of time. The other is to wait until you get there and then find a hotel or other place to stay.

Mixing the two is often more trouble than it is worth. If you are not sure what you want to do at your destination, or what there is to see, you need flexibility. It is a shame to have paid for a crummy room in advance only to discover that there was a better hotel on the beach or in the next - and prettier - town.

On the other hand, if you know where you will be with some certainty, you don;t want to arrive to find all the hotels are full. One of the simplest and most relaxing types of foreign travel is the all-inclusive resort vacation. You don;t always get the experience of knowing the country so well with these, but different trips have different purposes.

To sum up: For light and simple foreign travel, limit what you bring, be ready to buy what you need, be flexible and plan carefully.

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