Learn to Travel Light

Travel at the airport

Over-packing is a serious travel mistake. Carrying a load of baggage does not only risk your belongings to theft, damage, and misrouting, it’s also a hassle to pay extra money for baggage charges and porters. Not only that, your extra luggage could be used as a conveyor of contraband goods. 

Traveling with only one carry-on bag is the simplest, the most economical, the most stress-free, and the safest way to explore the world. Here are some great tips to travel light and right.

Bring only the essentials

Bring everything you essentially need in one carry-on luggage. For starters, put necessary toiletries (but leave the shampoo and soap, they are available at most hotel bathrooms anyway) and some clothing in your luggage. 

Do not bring a book thinking you might need one, but you can bring a digital camera for those memorable moments. Do not bring an extra pair of sneakers (they only occupy space), but you can bring your teddy bear (as long as it’s small) if you have a hard time sleeping without it. 

If you bring your laptop, make sure you take along the power plug to recharge its batteries as well.

Pack half as much clothing

There could be times when you brought some clothing thinking you would wear it, but eventually you didn’t. Put clothing that you would really need on your travel. For instance, a leisurely vacation in Phuket would include several sleeveless shirts, one or two pairs of beach shorts, sarong and the likes. 

If you run out of clean clothing, you could just launder them in your hotel sink. After all, the locals won’t notice that you’ve repeated your clothing anyway.

Bring twice as much cash

No matter how much you plan your budget, the changing currency exchange rates, rising prices, and your impulsiveness would only make you shell out more money. 

You found a great shop or restaurant that you would want to try. You realized that the entrance fee for a tour inside a historical landmark increased by half its price. It is best to travel without worrying how much money you have left.

Choose the right clothing

You could minimize your clothing choice by selecting a uniform color scheme. Dark-colored clothing is recommended, since stains would not be too apparent. 

Fabric should also be considered; natural fabrics may be cooler, but they wrinkle more easily, dry more slowly, and are heavier than its synthetic counterparts. 

Avoid military-styled clothing, including anything with camouflage pattern or colored green, as you might send a wrong message to the locals.

Roll up, not fold up

Roll the garments into tight tubes to save packing space and avoid major wrinkling. Packing cubes (transparent square bags) can be used to keep your rolled-up clothes organized. 

They also allow you to find what you are looking for without taking everything out of your bag, unrolling them, and end up on the floor.

Practice layering

If you are going to a cold country, packing your bag with bulky coats and sweaters would occupy the whole bag. Instead, put on several layers of clothes.

Bring extra underwear

You can buy clothes at a souvenir shop, but buying new underwear in a foreign land (in case you ran out of clean ones) could be a drag since the locals may have body shapes much different than yours.

Take along some really old clothes

You can bring clothes that you plan to discard anyway to make room for souvenirs (which are most likely local clothing). But do not just leave them in your hotel room; they would only be returned to you at your expense. Instead, put it in the trash or donate them to the service staff.

Put dryer sheets inside your luggage

An odor absorber, scented drawer sachet, or dryer sheets inside your luggage would keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Use luggage locks

Your carry-on bag should have zippers designed to be locked using a small combination padlock. This handy device keeps the contents away from prying fingers of street thieves and even other passengers, as well as misbehaving hotel staff and curious B&B host’s children. Combination lock is preferred than the keyed variety so you wouldn’t worry about losing the key.

Bring appropriate medicine

Do not forget your prescription medicine (if any) before you travel. Also, bring along some anti-diarrhea medicine, malaria tablets, and multi-vitamins (all in their original packaging).

You should also take along items such as insect repellants, sunscreen, menstrual supplies (for women), bandages and other first aid supplies, and a plastic bottle (make sure it’s empty upon airport inspection, as you can get water elsewhere) to carry your water supply conveniently.

Try living like a local

If locals managed to live in the area without bringing over a truckload of supplies from a foreign country, why couldn’t you? For instance, bringing a toilet paper would be unnatural if you stumble yourself at a "squat" toilet. 

You can clean your soiled areas by washing it with water using your left hand (and only your left hand) like what other people around you do when cleaning themselves.

 
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