If you’ve done any amount of research on the topic of choosing what to pack for your travels, you’ve probably noticed that it is the most documented, argued and over- analyzed of all issues facing a traveler. Everyone has their own opinion. All that matters is that you know what you need to be happy on the road.
There are several common themes shared by experience travelers that are worth paying attention to: You need less than you think, and having less stuff makes travel more enjoyable.
Let me guess. You’re new?
Heard a couple people tell you to pack light? Wonder why they are so hell bent on being minimalists?
There are lots of articles out there about how to minimize your stuff and how to pack light. But they are useless unless you truly understand why it is important.
Trust me, until you successfully travel light, you will not understand how great it is. On my first trip to Europe I met an Australian who carried one small backpack. It contained a t-shirt, a pair of shorts and some basic toiletries. He was wearing a pair of jeans a ragged t-shirt and a pair of sneakers, carrying a little camera and his wallet and passport.
I thought he was loony. Now I think he was brilliant. Here are a few reasons why.
Going anywhere is easier. Carrying 50 lbs on your back? Pain in the ass. Doing it on a crowded street when it’s sweltering outside and you’re mobbed by street vendors. Even worse.
I know you think that little hike from the train station to the hostel isn’t a big deal. But when your train is rescheduled and you are running 26 platforms across Roma Stazione Termini to catch a new train, being 30lbs lighter makes the whole experience less painful.
If you’ve read our Things you Think you Need to Pack but Don’t article, you probably wonder if we pack anything aside from underwear. Well, here are a few things that we can’t live without. We’ve all spent countless hours, trying to convince each other to get rid of this extra crap. And we’ve failed.
One common thread you’ll see in all travel advice arenas is to pack light. Matter of fact, the number one piece of advice I give to new travelers is: don’t take so much crap.
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” ~Susan Heller
Your packing list has to support how you will travel. The gear you find useful on the road has to make your life easier, otherwise it’s just more stuff to weigh you down and complicate your daily routine. Understanding your personal preferences and how you will travel allows you to decide what is useful and what isn’t.
Consider your trip: