After a long day exploring a new destination, we often return to our hotel room with neck and shoulder pain—discomfort that’s directly tied into the heavy purse we cart around. These hefty handbags can cause everything from tension headaches to joint disease, not to mention temporary discomfort. Find out how you can lighten your purse load on the road with these simple steps.
Make Your Purse Lighter
Start with the Right Purse
Many purses on the market start out at two or three pounds even before you put anything in them. Give yourself a head start by opting for a lightweight bag like the Pacsafe Metrosafe Anti-Theft bag, which can be worn cross-body or carried as a tote, and has travel-friendly features like RFID-blocking capabilities.
Clean Out Your Wallet for Trips
If you’re going on a trip, do you really need all of your store reward cards, punch cards that will one day earn you a free coffee, or your public transit pass? Pare down to the bare essentials before you travel—like your ID, credit card, and debit card and store them in a handy travel wallet, like this EZGO travel wallet which is only 0.3 ounces (and floats on water). Or, get a wallet insert like this one from Alpine Swiss for your most important cards, and keep it in your regular wallet—then just pull it out for your next trip without worrying about forgetting something important.
Downsize to Travel Size
Sure, you want to travel light, but you don’t want to be caught out needing something. When we travel, we stock our purses with sunscreen, over-the-counter medications (like aspirin and stomach relief), hand sanitizer, and lip balm. You don’t have to jettison the essentials, but you can downsize them by getting travel or sample sizes of everything. For example, this first-aid kit comes stocked with individually wrapped doses of the most commonly used over-the-counter medicines that travelers need, so you can just carry one or two servings at a time, and leave the rest back in your hotel room. The same goes for sunscreen (we love these travel packets of Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen) and hand sanitizer.
Use up Your Coins
Collecting a lot of change that sits in the bottom of your purse (to be forgotten about and never used) is one of the fastest ways to weigh down your bag—after all, you’re lugging around little pieces of metal. We recommend you either dump out your coins every day (and use them to buy something on your last day) or get a super lightweight coin purse that will keep your change organized and ready to use, so you can get rid of it faster.
Purge at the End of Every Day
You might start the day out with a clean and nearly empty purse, yet by the time you turn in for the night, it’s somehow full of receipts, admission tickets, and other miscellaneous junk. Take five minutes to clean out your purse every night—if you’re saving your used tickets, boarding passes, or other travel-related documents for a scrapbook, you can pack them in your suitcase, instead of carting them around on your shoulder for the rest of the trip. (Or, go paperless with a travel document scanner that’s perfect for receipts.)
Swap Your Phone Case
It seems that smartphones are getting lighter every year, but the heavy-duty cases we get to protect them are only getting bulkier. If you’ve got a heavy phone case, switch it out for a lighter one, like the Urban Armor Gear Case, which offers serious protection at only 1. 6 ounces in weight.
More from SmarterTravel:
- How to Pack Really (Truly) Light
- Really (Truly) Light: Rolling Carry-ons Under 5 Pounds
- 10 Reasons You’re Packing Too Much
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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.