Experienced travelers pack light. You may remember going to Disneyland with the family and fourteen suitcases, and it definitely doesn’t give you the independence and freedom of movement you want on a long trip. Here are some ideas on how to pack for convenience and comfort and still carry as little weight as possible.
Pack for Your Destination
Check the weather where you’re going. It may be warm and spring-like where you are. You don’t need long-sleeved shirts in the tropics. On the other hand, mountains and deserts get very cold at night.
Don’t take everything you use at home with you. You can afford to skimp on a few toiletries. Be sure you take vital items like contact lens solution, toothpaste, and lotion, but if you don’t use your expensive face cream every night, just leave it at home for the few days you are gone. You can buy other items when you get there, or even just use the hotel’s shampoo and conditioners. Shopping at your destination will be part of the adventure.
Pack One Bag
One bag is easy to keep track of when moving about. Make that bag a carry-on, if you plan on flying. Find a lightweight piece of luggage that is the largest allowable size for air travel. Choose one with lots of compartments and pockets, which will help you, keep your various items organized. If you need more room, get a sturdy but lightweight piece of luggage with wheels. Buy one in an unusual color, to make it easier to spot on the luggage carousel. You will undoubtedly end up carrying your own bags at times. Once you’ve packed, take the bag out of the house and down the street. See how heavy it is, and then consider what else you might want to leave behind to make it lighter.
Pack a week’s worth of clothes. Even if you’re going to be gone for three months, that’s all you really need. You’ll be doing laundry in the hotel sink, or sending clothes out. It’s worth the time and expense when you save room in bags. Rolling your clothes makes the most efficient use of space in your bags. Pack lightweight, wrinkle-free synthetics. Avoid cotton, which is bulky, absorbs moisture, and takes forever to dry. Pack layers. This is the secret to surviving weather and climate changes. A thin fleece or wool layer is warm and weighs next to nothing. Color coordinate your travel wardrobe. Use mainly neutral bottoms and tops with a few colored pieces thrown in. Use dark colors that hide wrinkles and dirt.
What to Bring, What to Leave
Leave your laptop home if you can do just about everything you need to on your cell phone. Use a computer at a hotel or cafe only when necessary. Pack your cell phone in a cheap phone case to prevent damage or accidental turn-ons. Remember to bring the charger. Don’t buy new clothes for the trip, and save shopping for your destination. Instead, wear old clothes that you know will be comfortable and that you won’t mind shedding when you’re done with them. Bring comfortable shoes, never new ones that need to be broken in.
Packing is the first step in your next adventure. Imagine yourself having fun at your destination, free of heavy baggage. Packing light is traveling light, and it is easy to do when you know these essential tips.