Tips To Travel Light – Part 1
Before you get all excited for your trip and begin stuffing clothes into a bag, know that packing begins with planning! Many people skip this step and that’s where it goes wrong — you pack too much and end up lugging baggage around throughout the trip, or you pack too little and end up looking for a laundromat. For me, packing for a 6-month journey was near impossible but I managed with sufficient planning and a little faith in myself haha. So I encourage you start with asking yourself these WH questions:
1. Where are you headed?
This goes without saying. Every country’s culture differs, and you may need to dress a certain way or bring different supplies. For example, if you were taking a trip to Thailand right now, you’ll need neutral-coloured clothing (black, white, navy blue) as the nation’s in mourning for the Late King Bhumibol. Similarly, if you are going to a place like Brunei, it’s always advisable to pack headscarves as most public areas require females to don it. Some cities in the world may also be known for pickpocketing or scamming cases, so avoid keeping valuables in your pockets and bringing things that reflect luxury, like expensive jewelry or branded handbags. In fact, take this tip no matter where you’re travelling — it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. When are you travelling?
The weather forecast is your best friend. It’ll tell you whether you need to bring long johns, warm clothing, windbreakers and so on. I think one of the most unnecessary things tourists spend on is umbrellas. You honestly don’t need a new umbrella on every trip — bring your own IF it’s necessary. And the way to find out is to look up the weather throughout the duration of your trip 😉
3. How are you getting there?
Are you travelling by bus, train, plane or perhaps, bicycle? If you’re bikepacking, read my previous post on packing hacks for cyclists. Travelling via bus and train means there will be a lot of commuting and/or transits, and not many stations are equipped with trolleys or exactly tourist-friendly. It will pay to pack light — preferably, backpacks that won’t get in the way when you’re moving from one station to the next.
If you’ve booked a flight, then it’s simply a matter of money. Are you willing to pay extra for unanticipated baggage fees? A useful tip is to pack 5-6 kgs lighter than your allocated baggage allowance to account for bringing souvenirs home!
4. What are your plans for the trip?
Do you plan to eat out, or cook? This one applies more to backpackers and bikepackers. If you have the need to cook meals for yourself, check with your accommodation in advance if supplies are provided, or if there is even a kitchen! Do you have plans to go to an island or go hiking? These things require planning ahead, because you need specific attire and accessories! The moral of this point, is that to pack well, you have to first plan your itinerary 😀
5. Who is travelling with you?
Travelling in a group makes it even easier to pack light. Make plans to share toiletries — shower gels, shampoo, etc — and necessities like phone chargers and extension plugs. The worst thing you can do when packing is bring duplicates and waste luggage space! If you’re running off alone, however, triple check your packing list. Even better, get someone to go through it and let you know if you missed anything. People who often travel solo will know this; because no one’s gonna be around to lend you a toothbrush.
In the next part of this post, I will share my own experience on attempting to pack light for my 6-month journey on a bike. Follow me on my Facebook page for more updates!