When I was still in University, I found myself struggling with a very heavy and stuffed gym bag along with an almost equally heavy and stuffed backpack to a 5-day retreat. While I was pretty low maintenance then (even more than I am now), I was also a worrier who had to be prepared for everything.
I was assigned to be roommates with an amazingly laid-back girl who managed to pack everything she needed for the 3 day retreat, into one tote bag. Yes, she showered and changed into fresh clothes everyday. No, it wasn’t an oversized tote bag with oversized pockets. And no, she is neither a sorcerer nor a witch—as far as I know.
Looking at her bag and then at mine, I halfheartedly promised myself that I will one day be the master of packing light. (I, of course, had to loudly proclaim that I will one day challenge her for the title.) Fast forward to 2014 and I still haven’t quite claimed the title. To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve already given up my stake a long time ago—until recently when I started seeing a few packing light ho-to’s (an inevitable consequence of the wanderlust trend of course!).
So when I had a short notice opportunity to travel out of town, I made it my mission to pack as lightly as possible. While I failed to fit all my stuff into a small tote, I did manage to bring nothing but my camera bag and a carry-on luggage. Given that I am ever so slightly more high maintenance now, with a slightly evolved skincare and hygiene routine, I think that’s a relative success.
What worked for me?
1. I was very critical about what I brought with me. (Below are some questions I asked myself before putting anything into my bag)
- Do I need this?
- Do I really need this? No, really, do I?
- Given my itinerary (if I have one), will I actually have time to use this?
- Ok so I might have time to use gadget A here and there but will I be using it enough to justify bringing it with me?
- What will happen if I don’t bring it? Can I do without?
- Do I really need 8 million pairs of underwear for a # day trip?
- Do I really need to bring another 8 million emergency shirts—for like, i don’t know, falling into a lake multiple times before getting drenched in the rain repeatedly, everyday? Or does it make more sense to just buy a cheap (souvenir) shirt in case of an emergency—? The latter will give me an excuse to shop. Winner!
- Am I going to a fashion related trip? Then what’s up with the complicated ensemble?
- Will anyone judge me if I wear the same jeans more than once? If yes, do I care?
2. I tried to be as organized as possible. Below are two variations of a Travel Checklist, similar to what I used. Click on the image to download the customizable list.
While I’m sadly still not ready to stake my claim at being THE master of packing light, this is a significant improvement
One day, once I get this whole packing business completely figured out, I’ll update with a list of helpful tip and tricks. Until then, have you mastered travelling light? Id love to hear about your tips and tricks in the comments below!