The Advantages of Travelling Lightweight
There are many benefits of travelling lightweight. Not only do you have to worry less about excess luggage costs but it also frees you from the headache of wondering just what items are packed in which suitcase. The following are some important tips on how to best travel light.
Pack Well in Advance
Steer clear of last minute packing. Instead, pack 24 or 48 hours in advance as this gives you time to critically think through the items you need and what is superfluous. Last minute packing predisposes you to impulsive packing.
One way to do this is separating all items you are thinking of carrying into three categories based on priority – optional, important and basic. Start by ruling out everything in the ‘optional’ category and roughly half of the ‘important’ category. At first, this may sound overly radical but once you get the hang of it, you will realize that a lot of things you would ordinarily pack are not necessary. Most people try to err on the side of caution by carrying too much stuff as opposed to too little. The result is bulky, unwieldy baggage a good part of which may never be used throughout the trip.
Commit to One Bag
Try to fit everything you carry into a single bag. Of course, this depends on the duration and nature of your travel. Two may be more practical in certain circumstances but anything beyond that should be viewed as unnecessary. Having just one or two bags has many practical benefits including a lighter burden if you have to stay on the third floor of a budget hotel with no elevator (and no porter) or board a crowded subway train.
Buying Instead of Carrying Stuff
Certain items should never make it to your luggage. Think toothpaste, soap and other toiletries. Unless you are going somewhere that is truly far flung from civilization, all these can be purchased at the airport or local supermarkets when you arrive. And this principle is not limited to toiletries. What’s the point of carrying 20 t-shirts when going on safari when you can buy good quality affordable t-shirts instead in the country you are travelling to? Some countries have cheap, clean second hand clothing which you can donate to the needy before you head back home.
Choose Multi-Purpose Items
Do you need to carry pyjamas when t-shirts and a pair of beach shorts may serve the same purpose? Multi-functionality is not limited to the role the attire is used for but also colour matching. It is best that jackets and sweaters are of neutral colour so they can match with several different coloured outfits.
Go for Light Fabrics
Silk, nylon and polyester represent some of the lightest clothing fabric available. Polyester and nylon dry fast and are less prone to stains and wrinkles. Cotton is also lightweight but is prone to creasing and takes longer to dry. Denim pants are the bread and butter of tourists. However, they have a disadvantage – they are bulky and heavy. A good alternative would be khaki slacks which are just as tough but much easier to pack and carry.
How you pack items determines what can fit in each bag. Initially, there was widespread belief that folding clothing maximized space use. But while this technique is far more efficient than simply stuffing clothes in the bag, it does not make the most of space. Several gaps remain particularly in the corners of the bag. Instead, you should roll clothing as this is the only way you can fill the bag’s furthest nooks and crannies.