How much do you really need to pack for traveling?
Packing 30 pairs of pants, two winter coats, nine pairs of jeans and a fancy dress costume always seems like a good idea until the airport check-in assistant demands an extra US$100 for overweight luggage.
Overpacking is an easy mistake to make, especially when you’re traveling for longer than you ever have done before.
Then there’s the annoyance of packing last minute and not realizing you haven’t packed anything appropriate until you arrive at your destination.
So, the first tip for successful packing it to start early. Early enough to look at your pile of clothes a few times and ask yourself, “Do I really need to pack three denim skirts?”
Here are some other handy tips on packing for traveling.
Buy a small backpack
We’re not talking Build-A-Bear rucksack tiny, but a 35-liter backpack should do the job.
Starting with a smaller bag gives you less opportunity to overpack from the offset.
Pack in outfits
Instead of pulling random items of clothing out your wardrobe, grab a pair of bottoms and one or two tops that would go with these.
Repeat this six more times and you’ll have a week’s worth of outfits.
Then add an ultralight raincoat, seven sets of underwear, one belt, and minimal jewelry.
This is all you need for four months of traveling.
Do weekly laundry
The only way to make seven outfits last three months is to do regular washing.
Account for laundry costs in your spending money, or if you’re going super budget, take your own detergent and clean your clothes in the shower.
Sticking to one washbag will not only save on weight, but you’ll also be able to find everything quickly.
To do this, purchase two-in-one products such as cleansers and toners, SPF-containing make-up and compact perfumes.
Solid shampoo and conditioning bars are also brilliant. You can get these from companies such as Lush Cosmetics and Ecco Verde.
Alongside toiletries, shoes are the heaviest and bulkiest things in a bag.
All you’ll need is a pair of flip-flops for the beach and showers and trainers for exploring.
Buy it there
If you’re traveling through different weather conditions such as sunny Vietnam then down so chillier New Zealand, you’ll essentially need to pack two wardrobes.
Instead of packing heavyweight items such as a coat and lugging it around hotter destinations for months, just buy one when you arrive somewhere cold.
Similarly, if you’re spending most of your time in colder countries, fill your bag up with technical, high-performance thermal clothing and treat yourself to some swimwear when you arrive in the sunshine.
To towel or not to towel
Don’t throw the towel into your bag. Instead, find out whether your accommodation offers complimentary towels.
Alternatively, pack a lightweight travel towel or a sarong – yes, men too.
Sarongs are brilliant for the beach and they’re super lightweight.
Rethink your sanitary products
Unfortunately, menstrual cycles don’t stop just because you’re traveling – bummer, we know.
So, it’s essential you’re prepared for the pesky monthly occurrence no matter where you are in the world.
While menstrual cups are great, it might be worth not packing any products at all and buying them when you need them.
However, do check ahead to see if your preferred products are readily available in the countries you’re visiting as tampons are hard to find in many Eastern nations.
If all else fails and you find yourself with a ready to burst bag, just think of all the beautiful souvenirs you won’t be able to bring back. Then watch how quickly you take out that second pair of hiking boots.