Mistakes are our best teachers. I have learned to travel light the hard way by packing too much and having to haul it all over the place. So now I travel with just very little stuff. Last month I went to 4 different cities in Negros Occidental with nothing but my carry-on backpack and my camera bag. So right now I always ask myself beforehand, “Jane, would you rather put on a fashion show for other people, or would you rather be able to get from one place to another without hiring a bulldozer for all of your junk?”
It is really miserable having to carry around heavy bags through airports, hotel lobbies, down streets, into buses, and here and there. It is so miserable that I have refused to do it again. Simple living and traveling are both about having freedom and you cannot have freedom when you are literally loaded down. So here are some tips on how to pack light.
Pack only 3-5 changes of clothes, even for the longest trip, plus 6 changes of underwear in addition to the outfit that you are already wearing. Make your clothes as adaptable as possible. This means stick with basic colors such as black, white, brown or gray. Then you can add a color or two to make the basics more dressy. Remember to take one paperback with you, I always do that to pass the time when I am waiting or chilling at a coffee shop. And bring a travel journal along as well. It is a way for you to write down all that you’ve been up to, where you’ve been – and it’s a great way to center oneself at the end of the day.
Pack your travel-size toiletries in a small bag or pouch so that it won’t litter in your bag and you will have no problems looking for it because they are all in one place. Don’t forget to bring laundry soap as well so you can wash your clothes and undies for those long trips and if you are staying in hotels. Don’t worry too much about this stuffs though because no matter where you go you will be able to replenish them.
The right shoes or slippers will also simplify your life. I myself bring two footwears though, one pair of sandals which are good if I ever need to attend a semi-formal event and my Havaianas slippers for all the streetwalking. I like my Havaianas slippers because they’re really light and don’t take too much space in my bag.
I also bring a scarf, a light jacket or sweater, handkerchiefs/small towel, and a beanie. I also bring along with me my gadgets – Acer Netbook, external harddisk, USB stick, MP3, iPod Touch, 2 cellphones, card reader, a digital camera and my DSLR camera. Don’t forget the chargers. And of course never forget your prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. I forgot my sunglasses once and I had to buy a new one because ever since I worked at that call center I can never stand the glare of the sun ever again.
So if you bring fewer clothes you will have room for all your travel essentials. Like me I get to travel while I am working that’s why I make sure that I bring my gadgets with me. And remember that less stuff also means more space for pasalubong!
So that’s it. Plan your next vacation or trip so you can immerse yourself deeply in the experience of visiting a place without lugging a huge bag everywhere. Let the sensations of the place invigorate you, then resist the urge to run all over when you get there, trying to take in as much as possible. Instead, just slow down and deeply inhale the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of that new place. See if you don’t return home refreshed and renewed, the way you’ve always wanted to feel.