Approximately 5 years ago my packing and unpacking routine would look something like this: a couple of hours before I had to rush to the airport, I’d throw 20 kilos worth of clothes into my bag, 5 pairs of shoes, fancy clothes I hadn’t worn in years (but that I was sure to wear during my holiday), handbags, jewelry and lots of bits and pieces. I was always on the verge of an overweight suitcase and sometimes had to beg the check-in clerk not to charge me for those 3 extra kilos… Especially on the way back, because I simply couldn’t leave London without a bag of Primark clothes.
When I would get back, my suitcase would stand in a corner for a week because I dreaded the unpacking, washing, and cleaning up. After that week it would lay open in another corner, and I’d pick out some pieces I was looking for.
All in all it was a constantly stressful experience, from packing to carrying to having the suitcase stare at me, judging my laziness, for weeks.
But not anymore!
After my first 2 months journey to Thailand, where I refused to pay extra for luggage and so made it with 10 kg there and back. I packed only the most necessary clothes and it was totally enough. When I got back, I found myself to be overwhelmed by the amount of things I owned and started downsizing immediately. Donating clothes, selling books, DVDs, shoes and bags – and in the end, even furniture.
And while I downsized my possessions, traveling got even easier!
Having only clothes that I really love wearing means I know exactly what I want to bring on my travels. One peek at the weather forecast, and it takes me around half an hour to pack everything I need.
2. Saving $$$ on luggage fees and never lose your bags!
Flying with a small suitcase or a backpack means you can easily take it as a carry-on and save a lot of cash. Most cheap-ish airlines will make you pay extra for luggage and it’s sometimes even more than the original flight. Save that cash and spend it at your destination instead!
When you take everything as a carry-on the airline can’t lose your bag somewhere in transit, meaning you won’t end up without any underwear in any destination.
3. Always on the go!
Imagine you’re on a round trip, and you have to drag your big suitcase through the streets of Bangkok in 40 degree C heat, when you could exchange it for a carry-on half the weight? It’s easier to carry and you’re far more flexible with your choice of transportation. See an amazing opportunity to change your route? Throw that backpack on and you’re ready to go! Need to change your hotel? Easy peasy!
(I also have a funny story, where my friend asked me to leave after inviting me to Canada and – traveling just with my backpack – I packed my stuff and spent the most amazing week on a permaculture farm in the Canadian Rockies – houseboat and all!)
4. Smaller choice – more freedom – less stress
When you pack only your favorite items, you’ll spend less time thinking about what outfit to wear or if the colors match. These clothes will make you fell comfortable in your skin, you can be sure they still fit and look good. This means less worrying, less time spent and more freedom to just go and enjoy your day.
5. Unpacking is a breeze.
Literally everything fits into one washing machine. Hang, dry, done in one day.
6. But what about those fancy clothes?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I very rarely wore them while traveling. I now usually bring clothes that are comfortable and can go from casual to fancy with a change of hair, make up and posture. And don’t forget, if something comes up that you’re not prepared for, you can always get something at your destination that’ll make a nice souvenir instead.
What are your travel essentials when you want to pack lightly, but always be ready for an adventure?