How to be a good light traveller: the 10 commandments
#1 Plan your trip
At the start of any travel adventure, it is important to plan your trip. The four essential considerations are: Where will you be going? How long you will stay away? What are the essential things you have to take with you? What will you be doing while away?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it will be easy to pack accordingly.
#2 Create a packing list
Write or sketch a packing list. This is helpful to plan what you need to take with you, but also for what you can leave behind.
Think of three different facets or aspects to your packing: your clothing; your toiletries, and your hand or shoulder bag.
Remember, even if you’re travelling with one small carry on bag only, most airlines permit you to take a small handbag as well - but all your luggage has to fit into the 7 kgs limit.
#3 Pack light in a small suitcase
There are many, many good reasons for travelling with one small carry on bag only.
One of the most valuable reasons for travelling with a carry on bag only is that you do not have to wait at a baggage carousel for your luggage to arrive. This saves you time and lessens anxiety, particularly when you are fatigued after a longhaul flight.
#4 Do not take ‘nice to have’ things
It might be tempting to throw in an item of clothing that you haven’t worn before. A top has been languishing in your wardrobe and you image you will wear it on holiday. Resist that temptation. There are a few reasons why you haven’t worn that item before: it doesn’t fit you; it doesn’t match your wardrobe; the colour doesn’t suit you. None of these things is going to improve when on holiday or travelling for business. Leave that item of clothing behind.
#5 Remember to pack light toiletries
Toiletries and cosmetics are surprisingly heavy. Weigh and consider every tube and jar before you take it with you. Do you need a moisturiser and a separate sunscreen? Can you combine these as one lotion?
Remember to consult your packing list and don’t be tempted to throw in yet another ‘nice to have’.
#6 Mix and match your wardrobe
Limit your wardrobe to one basic colour with a couple of different coloured tops for variety. Ensure that every piece of clothing works with all your other clothing. For example, can you wear your tops with your skirt, your shorts and your pants?
A constrained wardrobe makes choosing your clothes every morning easy. You spend less time managing, washing and packing clothes.
#7 Travel, walk and go out in the same shoes
Your shoes are your best friend. It’s essential to fly, walk and travel in comfortable shoes. Find and choose shoes that can double up for more occasions. Just like your clothes, your shoes have to fit with your shorts, your skirt, your pants - and occasionally in the evening. No one notices your shoes when you travel, especially if they are an inconspicuous colour.
#8 Limit your holiday shopping
It’s tempting to buy souvenirs and other mementos when you travel. But experiences always trump objects - so consider doing something that you’ll remember for a long time and that has more meaning than another piece of clothing. Go paragliding, kayaking, hiking - whatever takes your fancy. And take home a digital photo as a souvenir.
#9 Carry your own bag
It is liberating carrying your own small bag over cobblestones, in and out of transport, up and down stairs and through airports. Knowing that you can lift your bag and run to catch a train, boat or plane is essential when travelling overseas, in foreign countries - or even in domestic airports.
#10 Thou shalt have fun!
The biggest bonus of travelling light is that you have fun! No more wrangling with oversized suitcases. No more concerns about lost luggage. Less time spent getting ready in the mornings.
Bounce out of your hotel room, ready to face all those new and exciting experiences!
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