The freedom of traveling light is endless, your shoulders and back feel the difference immediately and your mood will be better by the step. The choice for a larger backpack will quickly tempt you to bring even more stuff, while you’ll always regret this once you’re on the road. You can of course choose to leave half of your wardrobe with that poor family in that cute village, but it all starts with your wardrobe. CHOOSE. Be strict, think multifunctional and lightweight. Make a stack of must-bring and a stack that may also be allowed if you have space left.
Yes, all nicely put, but how do you choose?
Your closet is full of beautiful clothes that you all want to take with you. It depends, of course, greatly on which countries you visit and the purpose of your trip, but for the sake of simplicity we start from our own situation.
Choose clothing sets that you can wear in five days. In good weather and in bad weather and what can also be combined with each other.
For example depending on if you’re a man or a woman:
3 sleeveless shirts
2 long pants/leggings
1 longsleeve shirt
Socks and underwear
Do not take clothes with you that you get nostalgic over, but do bring things you feel good in and look good on you. Clothes of light fast-drying fabrics that you can easily wash by hand and something you can wear to a nice dinner. Keep in mind that you can buy everything almost everywhere and that clothing is really cheap in most countries. Clothes that you expect to wear every day will probably be replaced by another color or something without holes 😉
We really do not expect to walk around in the same shirt daily for 1.5 years.
If you pack light, you can take your bag as carry on luggage with some airlines, provided it has the right dimensions of course. The carry on luggage weight usually varies from 6 kilos to 10 kilos. This way you can be sure that your bag will travel with you, and doesn’t end up in Kamchatka. That no crazy things will happen to the contents and it can save you a lot of money too.
That magic 10 kilo limit is also important for your body, with 10 kilos you can still walk a lot and you can easily lift that bag over your head it you need to. Personally I’d want the least people possible to handle my bag.
Add up the weight of all those little light ‘useful’ items you want to bring and check what it saves if you leave it at home. Make two stacks again, one must-have and one maybe.
Those Lonely Planets and other books are also available on iPad or e-reader and that saves a kilo or two. Yes a paperback is so much nicer to hold but, sacrifices need to be made. You’ll get used to that very quickly, I promise.
Make a factual packing list and remember that you cannot take stuff you will use only once in a while. Most items can generally be bought anywhere in the world.
That well-filled toilet bag with cremes, hairgel and masks often weighs a kilo or more.
Mosquito-nets are heavily overrated. You walk around with it and you’re never going to use it. From our experience wherever you need one, there is already one there. Actually, we have never missed one.
A girls (and boys) best friend
You can exchange nice thick bath towels for a light large sports towel and not entirely unimportant: the sarong! The sarong is a girls best friend, a skirt, a dress, headscarf, shawl, changing room, picnic blanket or scarf.
The powerbank; fuel for all your devices, a super battery with what you can charge everything: your camera, phone, ipad, e-reader, go-pro etc… indispensable! We each have one. Choose a power bank of at least 7000 mAh. Weight is of course also important here, ranging from 150 to 500 grams, you choose the lightest one.
Yes, but what if…
It is in the nature of a human being; what if something happens that I had not anticipated. You can not cover yourself against all inconveniences. You need to choose, if you want the luxury you are used to at home, then traveling light may not be the thing for you. Are you looking for an adventure and can you lure yourself a bit out of your comfort zone? Then leave that extra pair of shoes, spare clothing, excess care products, jeans, hairdryer and hairstyler (no, just NO) at home.