Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Travel Hard, Pack Light

My entire luggage for a week long trip, all in my backpack. At Lisbon airport. Photo: Asbjørn Havnen. 


I never travel with anything but hand luggage, as long as I can help it. And I most often can, even when going away for a week. Or fifteen. Let me just add that I don't usually smell, either. Not much, anyway.

I just pack smart, and only what I need. What I need includes washing powder. Plus soap, my toothbrush and a deodorant.

And what else? Not much, as it all has to fit into my 35 liter big backpack. And of course I still like to keep some space available. I might always run into that irresistible carved Tin Tin figure in Ivory Coast, quality junk in Sierra Leone or those good luck generating wooden penises, now available as souvenirs, in Bhutan.

This way of packing works for short weekend trips, for visits to five continents in a day or in order to explore all countries in the world. Do note that I more often than not travel to explore and to experience. I do not stay in the same place for long periods of time, and I rarely go to only one location. I need to be flexible, and I refuse to let a big suitcase stand between me and that exciting but impulsive offer of joining on a voyage to the next village, through a forest, over mountain or across a lake. If you prefer the travel to a hotel, stay there for your entire holiday and return home kind of holiday style, you may want to consider a different packing approcah.

I typically pack the following when travelling in a relatively warm climate (for winter trips, upgrade to warmer variants of the clothing and shoes below): 

Wearables
Dealer in quality junk in Freetown, Sierra Leone. 
I am not going to tell you what to wear, I am just going to advice on what you can get away with and still remain comfortable and clean. If you are a girl, you may want some accessories as well. Innovative combinations of items like scarfs, earrings and necklaces can make a few outfits seem like many. Just remember that you can usually buy a lot of this cheap, locally. (I just realised that I am recommending on what girls should wear. This is something which is lightyears from my areas of core competence. Please accept my humble apologies.) Packing too few clothes is rarely a bad thing, either. That gives you an excuse to buy new clothes, often even cheaper than back home, and most likely different to what you find at your local shopping center. Dare stand out. 

3 boxers (aka. underpants)
3 pairs of socks, 1-2 of them short legged
1 pair of football shorts (for jogging and swimming)
1 pair of combination trousers, with removable legs (the trousers must be lightweight and come with zippable pockets for safer storage of passport, money, wallet and mobile phone)
2 T-shirts
1 shirt
1 sweater
1 pair of sandals or flip-flops
1 pair of superlight jogging shoes

Anything can be stolen, but this
The following items are always on my body (in zippable pockets or in inner pockets of my suit jacket) or safely locked away in a safe, in a reception or with a host or friend that you trust.

  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Mobile phone
  • Old fashioned piece of paper with addresses, phone numbers, booking numbers, itinerary, currency exchange rates, etc. written down
  • Cash (it is still king in many places)

Miscellaneous
No backpack or suitcase has been packed properly without these various items. The list may seem long, but the objects on it are all small and can be kept permanently in your backpack. Doing so makes it easier to travel on short notice.

  • Toothbrush
  • Razor
  • Nail cutter
  • Ear plugs (you thought every hotel was soundproofed?)
  • Travel towel (not as nice as the big one at home, but it is lighter, smaller and dries faster)
  • Charger(s) for your phone and/or other gadgets
  • Adapter (for the right country/-ies or a world adapter which will work in most of them)
  • Two pens (there are forms to fill out, contact details to share, etc. - one as a backup)
  • Portion bags of washing powder (you can usually buy this anywhere, but bring some just in case)
  • Deodorant (unless it is liquid, then it needs to go in toiletries, see below)
  • Band aid (you never know)
  • Imodium tablets or similar (especially if going to India - these pills will block you up)
  • Condoms (you're probably not interested in getting, or passing on, unmentionable diseases or becoming 50% involved in a pregnancy - do also remember that rubber vending machines are rare in most countries, and that the quality of local rubbers is often questionable in some countries)
  • Your yellow fever certificate (needed to access some countries)

Toiletries
A see through plastic bag/folder with the following (all in minature containers):

  • Toothpaste
  • Liquid soap
  • Shampoo
  • Suntan lotion
  • Moisturizer
  • After shave
  • Shaving cream
  • Lip balm

And just in case
Why not scan your passport and save it to a virtual storage space online? You know, in the cloud. 

Plus what comes with you, the traveller
Of course you will also necessarily wear something when travelling. Don't forget this, it will make you carry more than you think. And these garments can be washed too. I typically wear the following. 

1 boxer
1 T-shirt
1 pair of jeans with a belt
1 pair of socks
1 suit jacket with at least 2 inner pockets
1 jacket or windbreaker
1 pair of comfortable multipurpose shoes (for general use, including hiking)

What is missing? 
Shoes typically take up a lot of space, to manage with few pairs is therefore essential. Skip the party shoes at home, but consider going for some black or dark day to day shoes. They can then also be used for a party without too much embarrasment. And should you be invited to that four day wedding, go buy some nice shoes or wear what you have. Those who invite you will understand that you are on a crazy trip without too much luggage. Chances are that you will stand out anyway.

Leave the vast selection of shirts, suits or dresses at home. You're on the road, you are not among the contestants in an international fashion contest.

Relaxation
There is not much more to say.

Except for, do enjoy the ride!

Just don't forget that travelling is about discovering new places, meeting new people, relaxation and having fun. Those batteries need recharging for a reason, and your trip shouldn't involve having to worry about how to transport your luggage from A to B via C, D, E and Z. You need more reasons for why to travel with hand luggage only?

More on travel
Travellers kiss better.
Just another 20 travel tips.
How to book cheap flight tickets.



17 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, pretty brave to admit you take condoms on your trip, casual sex? It's a very good advice to be safe but maybe you're revealing too much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What about sattellite phone? Did you ever use one of those? Do you buy local SIMs when you get to new country or do you have some good roaming deal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never used a satellite phone. I usually find Wi-Fi hotspots when I need to use dataservices. I rarely make calls outside Europe due to the costs involved, but it is nice to be reachable also via the phone. My MNO doesn't have roaming deals in every country, though.

      Delete
  4. Very funny that mr/mrs Anonymous think its strange to bring condoms to a trip. After all, its 2013 ;)

    Great post, though. I have a lot to learn when it comes to packing lighter..

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice post and really some nice tips too. I have learned a lot for packing lighter. I remember, last year when I go for a trip with friends. I packed two bags and these were too heavy to handle and their care was much stressful for me. I was unable to handle them but my good luck that we hire South Dublin bus and they had separate secure space for luggage. After that I enjoyed that trip but I missed something in the list here mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can you publish a post about all those countries where visas are not required to enter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This heavily depends on your country of citizenship. The most up-to-date and reliable information is available from embassies. A bit less reliable is info from http://www.iatatravelcentre.com/ . If you want a list, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_New_Zealand_citizens (Replace New Zealand by your country of citizenship). It's not very reliable but should give you an idea.

      Delete
  8. International vehicle delivery organizations produce custom-made transport companies pertaining to families in addition to specialists moving offshore. As soon as picking out an international auto transport organizations, a good, encounter transport corporation using the right proven relationships in position make your moving course of action much easier.
    Trucking

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, Gunnar
    do you have a specific backback to recommend?

    Also how do you wash your clothes? Do you just rinse them under a faucet og do you go to a laundry each time? Considering you say you bring 4 boxers, and assuming you want a new one each day, you are forced to go to the laundry every 4th day, just seems like a hassle (and expense)

    ReplyDelete
  10. With the no faxing day credits you'll ne'er need to have Associate in Nursing exchange credit check, not have to circular out from in no time on payday loans online frightful paper work, or even need to leave to utilize and have the ability to urge the cash you're obliging subsequently genuinely. ordinarily simple and especially simple. At steady time they are doing go with some uncommonly drench charges annexed to them.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loans haven't got Associate in nursing simplicity amount, significance thought starts gathering on the parity once you acquire it. You’ll usually pay Associate in auto title loans chicago Nursing account charge on a money improve despite the prospect just cough up all needed funds once your charging articulation comes. To decrease the thought rate you pay on money improve; pay it as quickly as time permits, even before you're charged for it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sometimes businesses with less-than-perfect credit score use cash advances to finance their activities. In some instances these advances unit even instant payday loans procured with future credit score cards receipts. the quantity of the money enhance depends on the money score rating of a business and its credit score cards sales. among the bulk cases, cash advances ought to be compelled to be compelled to be compelled to be viewed as a results of the design of expedient.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Some arid vapor more refined is great for usage even on a box-spring, mattress mattress and / or omega replica watches your furniture. Wrapping upholstered your furniture, carton our warmer tempuratures not to mention mattress mattress through fluffy naff, sealing it again with the help of masking recording. This procedure can visures because of touching these products ever again. Even, it may pitfalls homeowners who are actually in just until such time as many pass on within. For ones weeks to click on, simply just reiterate typically the hoovering not to mention steam vacuuming for the purpose of the rest of the location. Consistently louis vuitton replica for the purpose of telltale signs or symptoms health of their appearance, tag heuer replica sale for the reason that modest darkness fecal and / or circulation discolorations. That the techniques on top of prove to be unnecessary subsequent to two or three, its enough time to label experienced exterminators. They are willing to study a location and / or other parts of your abode, not to mention opt for a subsequent a small number of techniques mandatory eliminate foundation visures completely. Efficiency inside your home but not just is perfectly for the surroundings, it is able to chanel outlet most people profit. It is typically the savings account you absolutely need when ever attempting keep clear of payday cash loan loan creditors. We've found turned out to be so used towards important things increasingly being disposable not to mention breitling replica sale. But, should we tend to keep in mind suppose away from the carton, we're able to protect rather a lot whenever you reuse disposable stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Business day money enhancements, likewise cited as dealer day money advancements and record assets calculation, supply organizations profit payday loans montgomery exchange for a cut of future identification deals, as indicated by Business Account. Business cash fund loan specialists push that this might be not a advance on the grounds that the client "buys" the cash with a company resource.

    ReplyDelete
  15. installment loans unit typically come back over a few years with equivalent expenses. Short money loans like Sequel money loans and day enhance money loans shouldn’t be used as a semi permanent remedy to money issues.

    ReplyDelete