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How to Make Your Purse Lighter

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 purses 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.

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.

Make Your Purse Lighter

Find out how you can lighten your purse load on the road with these simple steps.

Start with the Right Purse

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

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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 Fidelo travel wallet. Or get a wallet insert 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.

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Downsize to Travel Size

purse

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

purse

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.

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Purge at the End of Every Day

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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.)

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Swap Your Phone Case

purse

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 ones from Urban Armor Gear.

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Caroline Morse is a travel writer who would never use a fanny pack on her journeys. Follow her fashionable adventures on Instagram @travelwithcaroline and on Twitter @CarolineMorse1.

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Boston.com, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at cmorse@smartertravel.com.

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