When I had my first experience of traveling overseas, I had not the clue what and how to pack. Like many others, I am comfortable just having all the stuff I have in my room even the ones I haven’t really used in a very long time (like old shirts you think are still cool but never actually wore them ever again).
With my excitement about my first trip abroad several years back, all I can think of was I needed to make sure I didn’t leave any basic daily necessities. So I basically emptied my closet and squeezed everything in my luggage. In the end, I overestimated the stuff I thought I needed and ultimately paid the price, figuratively and literally, when I exceeded my baggage allowance. To my shock, I packed about 42 kgs of “necessary” stuff. I would soon learn that about 90% of them I didn’t even use! And that’s how I committed my very first travel blunder.
Now, I’m equipped with the lesson that, unless you’re migrating for a long time, one must learn how to travel light. However, learning how to pack light takes some time to get the hang of. It’s only thru frequent trial and error when you only truly manage how to pack lightly but appropriately.
Nowadays whenever I travel, I never exceed 7 kgs of baggage. And I will show you what exactly are the stuff I only carry when I travel.
Let’s begin with the baggage itself. The one on the left is the same luggage I used in the above picture. The one on the right is what I usually carry when traveling: a very lightweight backpack! The pictures below will demonstrate how foolish of me to think that I needed that much stuff for a short vacation. Look at the difference. It’s staggering!
Since I am traveling to Hanoi tomorrow and will be on vacation for 4 full days, here are what I’m actually packing. Of course with traveling light, there some things I need to compromise. For example, that pair of shorts is what I’ll be wearing for the entire duration of the trip, from the departure until I’m back home and everything in between. That may sound gross and unsanitary to some, but for me, as long as you have clean underwear and you change daily, I don’t see why you can’t wear the same pants for a few days straight. So instead of 4 pair of walking pants, I only need one. Saves space. Awesome.
Also, I’m only bringing one sleeveless shirt for sleeping during the night (and sometimes mid-day). And no, I don’t see why this can be unsanitary too as I’m practically locked up in a fully air-conditioned hotel room. So instead of 4 sets of night clothes, I only need just one. Saves space. Very awesome.
Now, if only I could stand the cold, I would dare wear sandals even in the plane! But my threshold for cold temperature is very, very low so this is an impossibility. Also, I am aware that when visiting some places, maybe a museum or a temple, visitors are required to wear proper footwear. So it’s safe to have both at hand. You may argue that short pants may also not be allowed in some places, especially sacred ones, but this one is easily remedied as long pants, or in most Asian temples, sarongs are readily available for rent/sale right at the place itself. So not much worry!
My toiletries are so minimal I can practically put them in my pocket if I choose to. But that would not be really ideal. Nevertheless, they don’t take up much space. So that’s just awesome.
Lastly, how does one maximize the space in their bag? One golden rule: It’s no longer about the fold. It’s all about the roll! You won’t believe how much space it saves when you do it this way. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean! 🙂
So there you go. Some insights on how I pack lightly. For women I believe, and this is just a generalization and through my limited observation only, it’s more difficult for them have little stuff when they travel? But perhaps, one of you female readers out there can prove otherwise 🙂
For the rest, how about you? How light do you travel?