Slobodanka Graham

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How to pack light for Belgrade

How to pack light for Belgrade

Sporting a skort

As an extreme light traveller, I’m always on the lookout for new ways or things to lighten my load. This trip it was the skort. For those of you who don’t know what that is - and I only discovered the term recently - a skort is a combination of a skirt and shorts. Perfect for the light traveller: two things in one; less to carry. Well, not exactly as my skort weighs a lot. But I overcame that by wearing my skort on the plane. Also, as my friend Danka advised me that visiting any monasteries, I’d have to wear a skirt, I decided to travel with my skort.

I wore a skort and leggings on the plane. Travelling with carry-on luggage only.

I wore a skort and leggings on the plane. Travelling with carry-on luggage only.

Travelling extremely light

There was no doubt that I would collect things along the way. I was going to Belgrade to see family and travelling to Montenegro to stay with a friend. I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist a few souvenirs. So I travelled extremely lightly; my carry-on bag weighed just over 5 kilos when I flew out of Canberra. I’ve listed what I took with me at the bottom of this post. I was away for three weeks - and managed perfectly with my limited wardrobe.

Picking up experiences (not weights)

For me, travelling light is not just about flying with carry on luggage only. Travelling light is a philosophy and an experience. When I’m untrammelled by heavy luggage, I open myself to new experiences, places and people. I do things that I might not have done before. I gather experiences, more valuable than purchases.

Packing to come back

Even though I’m an extreme light traveller, I do sometimes fall off the wagon - or load up the bag. This trip, I couldn’t resist another small kilim (Serbian handmade woollen rug), which is light (or so I told myself). Also, as I visited the wonderful Opancarevaki and her father’s national folk costume factory, I bought myself a ‘jelek’ or waistcoat. As Marina said, it’s like buying an heirloom (or that’s the way I justified it). My friend Danka gave me hand-knitted socks - how can I resist those beauties - and I loaded my bag with photos from my late aunt’s flat. That’s apart from the sandals and pashima, and two new t-shirts. Oh dear, it does sound excessive when I list all these things - and it does go against my belief in bringing home experiences rather than things (huge exception this time!) But the point I’d like to make is that I still managed to fit all of that into my carry on bag and cruise back to Canberra, avoiding the dreaded luggage carousel.

Belgrade bounty: clockwise from top left: handmade ‘jelek’, part of the national folk costume; porcelainware from my Aunt Nada; handmade socks; handmade slippers (a gift from Marina); tiger-toed sandals (a late purchase just before leaving Belgrade); a silk pashima from Budva; all reseting on a handmade woollen kilim.

Belgrade bounty: clockwise from top left: handmade ‘jelek’, part of the national folk costume; porcelainware from my Aunt Nada; handmade socks; handmade slippers (a gift from Marina); tiger-toed sandals (a late purchase just before leaving Belgrade); a silk pashima from Budva; all reseting on a handmade woollen kilim.

Packing list

So what did I pack? What follows is a slimmed down version of my standard packing list. Remember, I knew in advance that I was going to come back with a few more things than when I left. I also took toiletries with me, but as always, those were the bare minimum.

I never felt underdressed, nor did I feel the need to travel with more. I did well with my minimalist wardrobe.

  • one bikini

  • one beach wrap

  • one longer wrap (never worn; given away overseas)

  • three everyday t-shirts

  • one evening t-shirt

  • one pair of black pants

  • one black skort

  • one pair of black bike pants

  • one linen cardigan

  • one scarf

  • one hoodie (for the plane)

  • one long-sleeved t-shirt (for the plane)

  • one pair of leggings (for the plane)

  • five pairs of panties

  • two bras

  • five pairs of short socks

  • one pair of support hose (for the plane)

  • one pair of Birkensole sandals

  • one pair of dressy sandals (hardly ever worn)

  • one pair of Merrells walking shoes (worn all the time)

  • one nightie

  • one lightweight night wrap

Wrapping it up

I wore my skort almost every day. I found it comfortable, especially in the heat (no chaffed inner thighs), and it looked dressy and age appropriate. I teamed my skort with my t-shirts. As my basic wardrobe is monotone, everything worked with everything else. It was nice to add my new t-shirts to this basic wardrobe, but I could have managed without them.

My beach wrap, or mini-kaftan, was perfect for Montenegro. I wore it every day to the beach and back at home for lunch. In Belgrade, I threw the pashima over my shoulders (I didn’t really need it as it was so hot), but it looked nice and dressy in the evenings. So, the moral of this story is that you really don’t need a heavy wardrobe to look and feel chic and comfortable on your next holiday.

About the author

With my friend Danka (at right), visiting Gospa od škrpjela, Boka Kotor, Montenegro

With my friend Danka (at right), visiting Gospa od škrpjela, Boka Kotor, Montenegro

I’m Slobodanka Graham, publisher, urban sketcher and extreme light traveller. If you like this post, I hope you’ll follow my blog at www.planepack.com.au or my Instagram @planepack.

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