When I was younger, my father would do his best to take us on a mini-holiday once a year. As much as I enjoyed the idea of sleeping anywhere else but at home for a whole week, I dreaded one part—the packing. My mother was extensive about this aspect. She would make us carry everything we might need on the road and extra. We would even bring saltshakers and mopping buckets, just in case! If she could have her way, we would have brought the entire house with us as it was.
Most travellers suffer this plight. They carry too much luggage that they end up not enjoying the trip. While it has some advantages, travelling heavy can be tiring and worrisome. Here are seven hacks that might help you travel light and comfortable.
1. Carry Essentials Only
The term essential can mean a wide range of things to different people. In this case, I mean something you need. These may include a small supply of toiletries, a clean change of clothes, medication where applicable, and necessary electronics. Try as much as possible to avoid panic packing. While preparedness is always excellent, too much worry translates to too much luggage. That completely counters our aim of learning how to travel light. You should have confidence in your ability to deal with every scenario as it comes at the moment it happens. You should also know that most short trips end up flawless and enjoyable more than the opposite.
2. Roll, Don’t Fold
If you forget everything else here, do not forget this one. Rolling them when packing creates space to carry much more when you have many clothes. Just make sure to roll the larger and heavier clothes first so that you can use the remaining space efficiently. Folding clothes not only takes up a lot of lateral space but also creates a bulky feel to your bag. Travel & Leisure suggests the Ranger Roll technique not only saves you space but also keeps your clothes wrinkle-free.
3. Embrace Outfit Recycling
Do you want to travel light? It would help if you mastered the art of recycling your clothes. Wearing an outfit more than once should be second nature, especially on long trips. You could not possibly be able to carry a set of clean clothes for every day, could you? That means you choose clothes you can comfortably wear multiple times without causing any damage to them. Great clothes for this purpose include jeans, khaki shorts, and dark-coloured t-shirts. Alternatively, you can carry very light pieces that you can wash at night to ensure that they will be dry in the morning. Thankfully, it is not the outfits that we wear that command the outcomes of our travellers. Otherwise, backpackers would never enjoy their experiences (just kidding).
4. Learn to use Hotel/Hostel/Airbnb Supplies
Toiletries are some of the things that make it hard for travellers, especially female ones, to travel light. If you have sensitive skin, allergies or other medical conditions that restrict you from using multiple supplies, then you should carry your stash. However, to avoid having them in bulk, try putting the liquids in small travel-sized bottles. For those of us who are easily adaptable, my advice is always to use provided supplies. Most accommodation facilities provide soaps. The middle-end ones have shower gels and lotions, and some high-end ones will even give you toothpaste. Doing that cuts down on the amount of stuff you have to carry.
5. Buy as you Need
I know this might sound irresponsible. However, why should you buy it if you can carry it from home? While your concerns are valid, there are things that travellers take in anticipated use but only end up going back home with them. Examples include candles, torches, extra towels or multiple jackets and sweaters. Unless you are a camper, travel photographer or model, most of these items will end up unused by the end of the trip. Indeed, there might be power outages, but the hotel or hostel usually provides backup power on such occasions. If your destination ends up being colder than you anticipated, then you can go out and buy a warm jacket. Thankfully, a sweater is non-perishable, and you can always use it long after your travel.
6. Always Leave Extra Space
Now that buying extra things on the way is a possibility, you should always leave some extra space in your travelling bag. This way, even with the additional luggage, you can still travel light. You should, however, avoid impulse buying; otherwise, you will be overwhelmed by the entire load on your way back.
7. Improvise, Compromise, Sacrifice
Sometimes you have to compromise some luxuries to travel light. Items such as jewellery, makeup, dress shoes and elegant clothes will have to be left behind. It would help if you also learned to improvise. For example, if you keep a daily journal or read, you can choose to take the digital approach as you travel. Instead of carrying bulky books and other stationery, consider using apps on your phone that offer the same services. That way, you reduce your travelling load significantly.
When you travel light, you quickly can move around with your luggage as you go. Luggage safety will also not be your worry. Travelling light also teaches you how to live minimally and cost-effectively. Overall, light travel allows you to have a better travel experience.