Part of packing light can be done by cheating. Wear your heaviest clothes to the airport, even two or three tops, and remove them in the restroom before boarding or once you get on the plane.
Put some heavy things in your pockets before approaching the airport with its bag-weighing stations, and when you get to the scanners, simply empty your pockets like you’re supposed to, into the tub, and on the other side who cares if those items go back into the pockets or into the bag? Obviously this won’t work for twelve pounds of stuff, but it’s feasible to fudge two or even four pounds this way.
Some airlines have weighing stands at the gate too. If you spot equipment for weighing bags at the gate, keep the heavy pocket stuff in your pockets until you’re on the plane.
A new trend is wearable luggage. The idea is you wear several more items of clothing that you normally do, and buy their jacket or vest with many pockets to store spare shoes, unmentionables, and toiletries. Time will tell if this gets popular, but based on the early-stage wearable-luggage items I saw, there’s plenty of room for improvement in the garment.
I am a big fan of good, large-size pockets in travel clothes.
Tip: Take pants having dinky pockets that barely hold a crumpled tissue to a tailor to get new, deep pockets that can hold a cell phone plus passport, pen and travel pack of tissue. Each. This works excellently with jeans and khakis.
Consider taking an article of clothing you like to a tailor to have an interior pocket added, in lieu of using a money belt. Selecting and buying the pocket material yourself and bringing it with the garment to the tailor means you have a little more control over color and thickness. Tip: cut a piece of cardboard to the largest size object you want to slip in and out and fit nicely within, and give it to the tailor for sizing the pocket.
There are vests with many pockets. They’re called fishing vests and they’re available for both men and women. In practice, vests are unflattering, sweaty, yet don’t keep you warm. A problem with fishing vests is the pockets may not be the size you need.
Whether vest or deeper pockets, at the TSA scanners the vest will need to be taken off and dropped into a bin. Clothes pocket items also go into the bins. The vest can travel through with all contents unless they ask to see something.
Another way to cheat is to buy hair spray, mousse, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, toothpaste, even deodorant once you arrive. See what your hotel provides, and get the rest in a nearby drugstore. In Europe, Profumeria, or perfume stores, sell the kinds of things we usually buy at drug stores: shampoo, bug spray, sunscreen, deodorant, hairbrushes, etc.
The other way to cheat is to buy clothes there, and bring only underwear. Don’t laugh; this makes a lot of sense when the appropriate clothes might be hard to find this time of year where you live, but will be all they sell where you are going. If your destination is a city or near a mall and you have a few spare hours early in the trip, it could be part of the fun.