Updated: Jan 15, 2020
A few tips and tricks on how to make your life easier and your travel bag lighter.
Like most of the people, we started off by using a huge suitcase for a 7 days trip, adding a lot of stuff "just in case" we needed them.
We ended up using the same small backpacks over and over again, trying to fill them up with experiences rather than things.
On a trip, you never use all of your stuff and it is really annoying having to carry a lot of weight with you. Makes your experience less enjoyable, limits your options of hopping on and off between places and takes more time each time you go through an airport.
To be more efficient. To identify what you can get rid of and how to make better use of what you have.
In summary, traveling light means organization and efficiency, as well as being rational about what you actually need and not what you could potentially need. Use judgement.
1.Buy things of good quality
Investing in quality products does not only help you when you travel but also in your daily life. Despite the fact that you spend more money at the beginning, a good product will save you money throughout time. And it`s good for the environment, too.
When we say good quality things we refer to: shoes, backpacks/ suitcases, jackets, wind-stopper jackets, rain wear, electronics etc.
Try to aim for the lighter ones.
2. Choose the right bag: whenever possible, use a backpack instead of a suitcase
Why? Because is it lighter and much easier and quicker to carry it around in different kinds of transportation, it is accepted as a carry on bag in the airport so you will have everything with you in case of a missed connection and you don`t have to wait for it in the arrivals hall .
For us, the backpack was a life saver. We were lucky enough to catch an offer from Salomon and bought two backpacks which are amazing. Unfortunately, this model is not produced anymore but there are still a lot of good options.
3. Make a checklist
The checklist is a life saver as well and you can make it any time you have some spare seconds so that it doesn`t waste your time: like when you are waiting for the bus, for an appointment, waiting in line at the supermarket etc.
Start with important things such as documents, visa requirements, mandatory medicines, chargers, adaptors etc and double check it after you`ve packed everything.
4. Don`t leave it until the last minute and prepare in advance
We`re not saying to pack your bag a week before your trip but it might be sensible not to do it one hour before it.
It helps a lot if you do the laundry and buy the necessary stuff before hand.
Having your checklist ready, a day or a night before should be just right.
5. Select the right shoes
The shoes occupy a lot of space so having a pair of comfortable ones makes your life much easier. Also, try to limit yourself to one pair of shoes that you can use throughout your journey. Maybe two, if you need slippers or something different ( such as sandals or fancy stuff ).
We tend to opt for good Gore-Tex sport shoes that can be used for traveling, walking, running, hiking, biking and provide protection against water.
6. Select only a few items and combine them in different ways
Try to opt for clothes that match and which match your pair of shoes, too. For ladies only: don`t take more than one purse!
Don`t take more than one item of the bulky stuff ( such as jacket, purse/ hand bag )
Definitely don`t take more items than the number of the days you`re staying!
7. When it comes to cold weather, think layers
Cold weather can be the worst enemy of light traveling. If you don`t need to be too elegant, try to opt for many layers: t-shirt, first layer ,fleece, wind-stopper and rain jacket if needed. Layers tend to be lighter and keep you warmer. Don`t go for more than 2 pair of pants.
8. Use laundry service
If you are taking a longer trip, definitely take less items than the number of days you are staying and wash them throughout the trip. There are various laundry service spots in most of the corners of the world, both in the hotels/ guest houses or on the street.
9. Pack according to your itinerary
Try to have in mind where you are going and pack according to that. Don`t take more items in order to decide later. Decide now, before your trip.
For example, if you are having only one day at the beach, take only one swimming suit. Or, if you are having a fancy dinner one evening, decide what you`re gonna wear before hand.
10. Use travel size toiletries
Toiletries are pretty heavy and taking more than the needed amount can make your bag really heavy. Buy multiple use travel bottles ( less than 100 ml ) and fill them up with what you need. They will make your bag lighter and you`ll be able to take it as a carry on.
Alternatively, you can buy at destination.
11. Use fast dry microfiber towels
Going to places where you don`t know for sure if you`re gonna have towels can be challenging. Unless taking the chance of using toilet paper for drying, you`re gonna need to take a towel with you, which often occupies half of your space.
Not if you use a fast dry microfiber towel which is small, light and dries fast! You can find them in Decathlon stores or you can order them online, such as on Amazon.
12. Use a tablet rather than a laptop
Until now, we haven`t managed to do that because we needed our laptop to download and edit our photos and videos.
But a good tablet and an extra hard disk make a lot of sense and is something we are considering.
13. Be more paperless
Try to have all of your books and travel guides in electronic format. Try a Kindle or use the same tablet.
14. Consider renting out equipment
If you are going to do outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, biking etc, it might be a good idea to rent some of the equipment such as sleeping bags, tents, trekking poles, bikes. In popular places, there are a lot of companies that do that.
15. Don`t take the whole pharmacy with you
It`s always handy to have some pain killers with you, but, unless you are going to a completely desolate place, don`t take everything with you! Try to stick to emergency stuff such as plasters and medicines for vomiting, diarrhea, food poisoning and cold, unless you have a particular condition. Most of the times you`re not gonna use any of those and they will expire and create more waste.
16. Check airport restrictions for carry on bag
You probably know already that you are not allowed to take more than 100ml bottles and these can be maximum 10 bottles per person. Often, they need to fit in a transparent plastic bag. As a general rule, Europe tends to be more strict with these rules and UK is the worst from this point of view.
Also, you are not allowed to bring anything sharp. Lighters and matches should be kept in your pockets and not your bag. More information can be found on your airlines` website.
Last but not least, check this out! :)