Believe or not, I went for almost half a year trip to Asia with 4 kg and I could stay much longer with the quantity I had. The truth is, that you pack the same if you go for a few days or a few months trip. Many people asked me, how to pack light, and how I can travel with such a small amount of clothes, especially as a girl. In fact, you need much less stuff to feel comfortable, than you think! Having lots of clothes is less attractive for me, then carrying heavy backpack. The solution is clear: take only the most necessary things!
How to pack light? Few more tips and packing list of essentials
Traveling with a very few things taught me, how much we are attached to the goods we have, which are in fact, just not necessary things. Attachments keep us tight in our comfort zone, where we consume and buy more and more, never feeling satisfied. Of course, I was missing my clothes, when I was wearing and washing all over the same stuff, but I understood how less I need to be happy and simply enjoy the trip.
1. Don’t hesitate to weight
When I was packing, first, I put all the things I was willing to take on my bed. I quickly realized that is too much and I will regret every day carrying this elephant on my back. After that, I started to separate items, which are essential. I literally put on the weight my clothes, choosing those pieces, which are even few grams lighters. Every gram was important! In the end, I was quite satisfied with the results!
2. What kind of clothes you should take?
When choosing your clothing take a look at each factors: thickness, weight, wrinkles, and texture. Your ideal travel clothing is durable, takes up minimal space and weight, is wrinkle-free and opaque, and matches with the rest of your clothing in style and fit. Besides, make sure you can throw all these items together in a washing machine without any drama. I always take for the trip used, old clothes. Why? First of all, washed many times textile weights a bit less. Second, in the end of my trip I always throw away most of my clothes, because they are completely destroyed after being washed every week. Third, I want to get rid of them after seeing them all that time. This way, I have half of my backpack free to carry souvenirs for my family.
3. Be minimalist
When you are backpacking, you don’t need to go for important meetings and occasions to look fancy don’t come often. I usually take one piece of cloth (dress), which looks little bit more elegant (pff elegant is too big word for that rug), than other clothes I have. Still, I can use it during everyday travel because it’s light and comfortable. Remember you are backpacker, everyone will understand that you don’t carry the whole wardrobe on your back! Have distance! Carrying some items which MAYBE you will use once MAYBE not, is not a good idea!
4. Don’t worry about laundry
Most of the cultures in the world figured out, how to wash clothes, so no worries about that. There is running water almost everywhere, in case you don’t find a public laundry. Traveling will teach you self-discipline, when you will have to hand wash your underwear frequently. I usually take enough clothes to survive without laundry 5-7 days, no matter for how long I go.
5. Medicines and first aid kit
Of course, it all depends of your personal health, but I have seen people exaggerating size of their first aid kit. I am talking especially, about going to exotic destinations. Do you really think it is worth carrying all those, if anyway in case of health issues, you will go to the pharmacy, or you will more likely, go to the doctor? I have to tell you, every country has different bacteria, so carrying some medicines from your home country may simply be useless. For local diseases, try local medicines. Anyway you have travel insurance, which will cover it, right? I used to take first aid kit but now it is limited to few patches and some tiny Asian cream working for headache, muscle pain, cold symptoms, insect bites or other basic problems. Pharmacies are almost everywhere, what’s more, first aid medicines are usually cheaper, where I travel, so I don’t see the point in carrying them.
6. Carry-on size
Whether you travel with backpack or suitcase, always try to buy carry-on size. Of course, if you are packing for a road trip it does not matter much as the car has a lot space. But backpacking and taking planes will make your life easier with a small bag. it is cheaper to buy the ticket just with the hand luggage, because you don’t pay baggage handling fees. Moreover, you are sure your bag will not be lost. Believe me, you will always pack whatever size backpack you have to the absolute maximum… It just work like that, and you cannot help. Having small size makes it impossible to over pack, right?
7. The final packing list of essentials:
- Backpack (35 liter max)
- Bag liner in case of rain (usually included with backpack)
- Passport and other documents
- Poncho or other kind of compact raincoat
- Five shirts
- Girls: one dress suitable for all the occasions
- One pair of pants (for girls I hardly recommend legins as those are the lightest)
- One pair of shorts (or a skirt) and one pair of long, summer pants
- Three pairs of socks
- Five pairs of underwear
- Some long sleeves shirt or sweater for cooler days
- Comfortable sandals or/and comfortable walking shoes
- Shower kit (personal variation, just keep it small and remember about small sizes containers)
This is my personal way, how to pack light, which I tried on myself and share with you. Remember, that there will be always additional things like electronics: phone, camera or laptop, water, snacks which you would like to take. Keeping your clothes at the minimum will help you to acheive light traveling. Please, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and tips.