How To Pack Light
Walnut Creek Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
October 15th, 2009 – by: Deannimal
Short story, to pack light you must pack less. Here's how to limit what you bring.
- Limit Clothing: Bring only the basics. I usually bring 2 skirts, a long sleeve button down shirt, a couple tees or tanktops and one pair of pants (not jeans) you can hike in. I wear an item twice before washing it myself or using a laundry service if I'm feeling indulgent. Yeah I get sick of these clothes. So I'll pick up a cute blouse here or another skirt there... they're cheaper, they help you blend in a bit and they'll be a good souvenir when you get home.
- Limit Shoes: Ideally you want to be wearing your bulkiest shoes on your feet when you travel to save room in your pack. I typically have a pair of comfortable walking sandals that are dressy enough for night and tevas for hiking. Sometimes I slip in a very slim pair of flip flops just to change it up.
- Limit Toiletries: Take only what you need to survive! No seriously. Take only what you need to survive the plane flight. Everything else, shampoo, facewash, body wash, toothpaste, etc can be bought at your destination. If you must have something like moisturizer or toothpaste for the plane take the tiniest amount that you can and replace it at your destination. It's often fun to try local concoctions and I enjoy the experience of shopping for these items.
- Limit your medkit: I take only the basic medication. If I get sick I'll buy medication there for the condition that I have. I do want basics though for a headache or hangover. I take some pain reliever and some Ricola cough drops, antibacterial cream if I get a cut and a couple bandaids. Even if you don't think you're going to get lucky, pack a few condoms.
- Limit electronics: One of the joys of traveling (for me) is leaving the cell phone behind. I know it's hard. But it's more fun. Often you have to arrange meeting times with people instead of calling them, it's a simpler way of life. If you have a camera that runs on batteries then you can leave the charger and the adapter behind as well. Internet cafe's are everywhere, and I like having limited time to sit in front of a computer. The less electronics you have the less of a target you are and the less you're worrying about whether or not they're safe. My motto is take only what you don't mind loosing.
- Limit Doodads: Do you really need that 38-in-one-tool with a magnifying glass? Really? Try it out first. Take it around with you and see if you use it in a normal day. Just because it's made for travel doesn't mean it's useful and you should bring it.
- Pack items that work more than one job: Sunscreen/moisturizer, fleece jacket that can be rolled into a pillow. A watch with an alarm clock, a pair of running shorts that you sleep in but could wear in public if you wanted to. Tevas you can hike in, walk through riverbeds in and take showers in. The famous sarong that does everything: beach towel, privacy curtain, skirt, bag, you get the point...
- Don't bring "what if?" items: "I better bring some long underwear in case a freak snowstorm blows in." "I better bring these 8 different kinds of medication in case I get a head cold, constipated..." etc.. try to only bring items you KNOW you will use. Again the biggest obstacle to packing light is letting go of the idea that you have to bring everything you could ever use for your entire trip with you.
- Buy Along the Way: If you're going out for months or more and are starting in SE Asia but will end up in the Himalayas, I would not schlep mountain trekking gear with me throughout SE Asia. I'd buy what I needed when I get close enough to the Himalayas.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!