Pack light for your trips – it’s so much easier

By Doug Williams
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Pack light for your trips – it’s so much easier

Doug Williams
 
 
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You only need to travel somewhere in the world once to learn the value of packing light. Dragging around more than you need is silly and will just give you backache and make you tired. You will miss out on so many things, one: because you just cannot get to a lot of places with so much stuff on your back, and two: you will be exhausted.

If you’re planning on traveling soon, you’ll need some advice on how to carry less and still have everything you’ll need on your journey. Here are some tips on how to pack light.

Avoid big bags

A large case with everything you could possibly need seems sensible when you are at home. It will not take too many steps carrying your worldly goods on your back to realize the foolishness of the decision. You do not want a heavy bag. You will be doing a lot of lifting and carrying while you are away. So, make your life easier and pack light.

Backpack is always better

Pulling your luggage around on a specially designed trolley may seem clever and sophisticated, but just try it on soft sand or on a cobbled road!  If this is enough to encourage you to rather choose the backpack option, remember that this also requires carrying. Often, you will be walking a long way to find either what you came to see in the first place, or you will be looking for accommodation or transport.

Less is more

Traveling with a small backpack
Traveling with a small backpack

The truth is you do not need a lot of stuff, and when you realize this, things become so much easier. The less you have, the less you need to worry about it. You can relax and enjoy the experience which is why you left home in the first place.

For the same reason, packing less enables you to keep everything with you and chances of misplacing things are minimized. If you have less, you look like less of a target, and with less, you can move more quickly and easily. If the items you carry do not have a lot of value, you will also spend less time worrying about them.

Small bag

Okay, so how to start traveling light. First, buy a small bag, as a big bag will just encourage you to take more. By being limited you will think more carefully about how important it really is to have any particular item in your bag. You won’t be needing a hairdryer or a big selection of shoes. If you take too much stuff, you may well find yourself discarding a lot of it while you are away, just to lighten the load.

Pick your clothes wisely

Be clever with your choice of clothes. If you feel you really don’t want to be seen wearing the same outfit every day, pack multi-purpose items. Pack neutral colors which will mix and match with everything else, and you can always buy a tee shirt or two along the way if you need to. These are not expensive items anywhere.

Less footwear

One pair of good walking shoes or hiking boots is a good choice and wear them, do not carry them.  Pack a pair of flip flops for trips to beaches and such like. If you’re not expecting to be doing any hiking, then lighter shoes are the ones to choose. High heels are always a bad idea for traveling as they are bulky, and you will not really have occasion to wear them. Better to carry a light pair of flats that can slip into the side of your bag.

Less electronics

Take as few items that need charging as possible. For example, can you manage with a tablet and not a laptop?  Can you just use your phone? You can probably take all your pictures with your phone and unless you are a keen photographer your phone camera will be enough.

Travel size items

TSA 3-1-1 rule – Author: Jack Kennard – CC BY 2.0
TSA 3-1-1 rule – Author: Jack Kennard – CC BY 2.0

Take travel sized toiletries and take only what you really need.  A solid shampoo and bar of soap reduce in size as your trip progresses, so these are a better choice than carrying bottles of soap and gel etc. Small bottles of shaving gel can be found, and these last a few months. You do not need large containers. Remember also that basic things can be bought most anywhere. Travel size items of any kind are worth checking out. A travel towel is great as it dries quickly and rolls up small. Something you could include is a towel sized piece of cotton fabric, or a cotton scarf or sarong. This can double as a towel, fashion item or seating cover. There are many uses for this sort of item.

Medicines

Keep you medicine pack down to essentials as again most meds are available in the places you travel to. A small container with two headache pills, two antihistamines, Imodium and anti-malarial pills if you are traveling to affected areas. You can always cut one or two pill blisters from the pack and slip these into your backpack pocket. Travel sized or samples of toiletries are great for packing in your bag for edited traveling.

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