Overpackers Anonymous – Step 1: Admitting You Have a Problem

July 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel News & Tips

Welcome to the Overpackers Anonymous article series! In this series of articles, we’ll discuss a common problem that plagues many travelers – overpacking. The definition of an overpacker is one who packs too many items in a pack or a suitcase for a trip. For some, overpacking is only an occasional affliction. For others, it’s a constant condition. This article series is designed to help overpackers recover and shed excess luggage weight.

The first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem. How do you know if you may be an overpacker? Here are a few scenarios to consider –

If you need a team of porters to carry your luggage, you might be an overpacker. If your suitcase is large enough to fit a family of four inside comfortably, you might be an overpacker. If you need a full size pickup truck to transport your luggage, you might be an overpacker. If your luggage has a tendency to burst open when it’s being loaded onto an airplane, you might be an overpacker. If you pack ten shirts for an overnight trip because you’re not sure what you’re going to feel like wearing, you might be an overpacker.

If any of these scenarios describe you, you probably are an overpacker and this article series is for you! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even the most skilled travelers struggle with packing. Leaving behind the comforts of home and having to completely rely on the contents in a suitcase can be frightening. Thus many resort to overpacking.

Overpacking for a vacation can be both cumbersome and costly. It can lead to fatigue, lower back pain, muscle strain, and frustration. We’ve all seen the weary traveler stumbling through the airport struggling to maneuver their oversized luggage. Perhaps we’ve even been there ourselves pushing, pulling, and tugging on our luggage (or paying someone else to do it).   It’s not fun.  Additionally, overpacking can cost hundreds of dollars in baggage fees.

Let’s face it, no one wants to be weighed down with burdensome luggage and saddled with excessive fees. Today’s traveler wants to be agile and flexible while traveling. Less is truly more when you’re on the go. So what can you do to prevent potential bodily injury and an emptying of your pocketbook on baggage fees?

In short, the answer is to pack light, but this is more easily said than done. The art of packing is an acquired skill. It’s not something that can be mastered by simply reading a book (or an article). It must be experienced. Like most arts, it must be tried and tested until honed to perfection. And it’s different for everyone. As the needs and wants of each person differ, so do the contents of their luggage. The key is to pack smarter; find one item that serves multiple purposes instead of multiple items that each serves one. Know the difference between what you need and what you think you need and then cut those needs in half (or in eighths for some). Learn to get by with less. These and other things will be considered in this series.

The goal of this article series is to discuss tips and steps that will help overpackers get on the road to recovery by packing lighter and packing smarter. Remember, practical application is a must to mastering how to pack light and determining what works best for you. So once you’ve owned up to being an overpacker, recovery is around the corner. Do not get discouraged, recovering from an overpacking condition whether minor or severe is not something that will happen overnight. In fact, for some it may require a lifetime of effort, but have no fear – with a little courage, fortitude, and determination overpacking can be conquered!

Keep on the lookout for the next Overpackers Anonymous article!

Sima Kimble

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