Okay, so if you’re in any form somewhat of an experienced traveller (if you’ve taken more than one trip in your life), you should be fully aware of the fact that “light” is a subjective term in the discussion of travelling light. By light I don’t necessarily mean your luggage won’t be heavy, but rather that it perhaps might be compact and portable and therefore easy to carry around with you.
Now for someone who literally packs just hours before my departure you’d perhaps think that my advice on travelling light should be taken with a pinch of salt, which is not untrue, but I reckon it does demonstrate some level of skill to it since I manage to pull it off, time and again.
First instincts win
Seriously, go with the very first instincts that come to you with regards to what you’ll need for the trip. Naturally, you might think about it from the point of view of the number of days you’re going to be away, which should then lead you to thinking about whether or not you really need a fresh set of clothes for each and every day, or two sets of clothes for that matter as some people change their clothes more than once a day. Be that as it may, sometimes you won’t even have the time to change your clothes, like perhaps if you’re on a 20 hour flight in total — the perfect excuse to keep the same set of clothes on.
I’m not suggesting you turn into a slob, but certain things take a backseat when you’re on the road, so to say and turning up to the nines every single day is perhaps one of those things.
So go with what your gut first tells you and don’t allow yourself to over-think things. Do you really need to pack in that thick towel of yours for instance, when you could rather make use of the clean set of about five to six towels your hotel provides you with everyday?
Get your laundry done on the road
You won’t even have to look around too hard for this one — unless you have something to tell me (send me an email if your plans for a trip to another planet are indeed finalised), chances are you’re visiting a destination which has people living in it who go about their everyday business, part of which is getting their laundry done, so this means that you’ll be able to make use of local laundry services wherever it is you’re headed. Your hotel could perhaps even provide you with those services, but yeah, getting your laundry done while you’re on the road means you can travel as light as having one set of clothes for every two days.
Use packing cubes
This appears to be a hidden secret of the travelling sphere — packing cubes. The best of these little babies come with a vacuum compression and sealing unit which allows you to do just that — compress and seal your clothes into very tight and compact little cubes and then fit everything into what would otherwise have been a bag that’s too small to fit all that luggage in. This way you can carry much more with a lot less luggage real-estate.
Invest in specialised travel gear
There’s a reason why what are otherwise some regular consumer products are marketed specifically at travellers, such as the next generation in sleeping bags, specialised backpacks, etc. It’s because these good are designed and manufactured with the traveller in mind, so you should make the effort to invest in something like an Egyptian-Mummy tomb shaped sleeping bag which is lightweight but does the job of keeping you warm very well. This design makes clever use of the contours of the body shape so as to use less material, as would otherwise be the case with the traditional sleeping bag design. You can find out a lot more on that at GearWeAre.com for some great ideas specifically for campers who want to be able to travel light.