A trip doesn’t begin when you leave for the destination. It starts right in the beginning when you start packing your bags for the trip. That is the first step of your journey and you should be aware of all the aspects of a successful trip. How you pack your bag is the first and the most important aspect of preparing for a journey. Travelling light is always advisable to for a trip (I don’t mean a ‘holiday’). By ‘light’ I am implying really light- your luggage should not amount to more than the weight which you can carry within the flight cabin. If you achieve that level of perfection, voila! You have mastered a major aspect of being a ‘traveller’. As I have mentioned in my post (HOW TRAVELLING SOLO CHANGED ME AS A PERSON), learning how to survive on the minimum of resources took me quite a few trips. I thought that before you make the same mistakes which I did, it would be better to share the reason why you should travel light and the tips and tricks to travel light.
Why Travel Light?
Most of the reasons are awfully obvious but they are still worth being highlighted. Travelling with an 8 kg bag instead of a 30 kg bag on your shoulder does make a lot of difference. If you are staying in a hostel, you would have to lock your bag and baggage in a locker because hostel rooms are not usually private. Leaving your luggage behind in a new place with little security is quite a distracting risk. This is where the advantage of having a light, carry-everywhere bag comes in. Light baggage also gives you the flexibility to save a lot of time in the airports. The realisation that you could have enjoyed the trip even without certain pieces of luggage usually comes right at the end of the trip.
These are the small things which matter the most while travelling alone. They may not sound like that big of an issue but taking your first solo trip with a big backpack and then another with a small one will help you see the difference.
How to pack light:
- There is only one secret to travelling light- a proper packing list. It’s not just a list but a definite contract which you make with yourself that you will not carry anything more than the number of things specified within the list. A packing list helps you get on the right track and helps save a lot of time while you are on the move.
- Know your Bag: Most of the bags in the market are designed to be sold ‘fast and easy’ but lack the most basic things such as optimum weight, fabric, configuration etc. Knowing what kind of a bag will be good for your trip is an important factor. For example, dry bags are great for trips to beaches and the mountains (where the probability of rainfall is high). Climb backpacks are mechanically designed to keep the weight of the bag on the upper body (for trekking or hilly regions). Don’t judge the bag by its outer surface. You should know what you need and buy accordingly.
- Do your own laundry: Your hostels, hotels and even your hosts will all have laundry facility and hence do not hesitate to use them. This will help you cut down on the extra t-shirts, under wears, socks etc.
- Know your destination: Research the weather conditions of the place that you will be going to visit. This will help you optimise your clothing range and colours accordingly.
- Bundle Wrapping: Do not fold the cloths while packing, bundle wrap them. It will prevent the garments from sliding against one another. Buddle wrapping is a famous technique traveller always use it also saves a lot of space in your bag allowing more space for other things. I found this nice video on YouTube to demonstrate the bundle wrap technique if you are interested.
- Pack smart: Check your timings and itinerary and prioritise the things you would need first as per the plan. For example, Passport, phone, book, etc should be on top because you will need them on the airport and on the plane. If you are landing in the night time and will be directly going to the hostel so keep your night wears on top and so on.
- Pack comfortable: only pack cloths which are easy to dry and are more comfortable in wearing. Chances are you will be doing a lot of walking during the trip and being comfortable is a very essential.
Some of the websites here are very useful if you don’t know where to start packing and how to pack light. Here are the links.
If you have any suggestions and tips related to this please feel free to leave them in a comment. I will really appreciate that.