This post is mainly about how to travel light and the advantages of traveling light. The benefits can be used equally for a short holiday or a round-the-world trip. In some situations you might prefer or have to trade a bit of weight for increased convenience.
When I was traveling I meet people who had over packed their backpacks and suitcases, that more than likely filled with things they’ll never need. Some of these backpacks weighted well over 35 kg. Considering my backpack usually weights in around 11 kg to 12 kg. That’s some difference.
By having a minimalist travel packing list or travel ultralight packing mindset, will pay off huge when on your travels. Simply by laying out all your gear on your floor and try to eliminate all the non-essential ones.
Few of the Benefits to Travel Ultralight Packing
It’s fairly easy to over-pack when you’re going on a trip. If you take the time to really think out what you need versus what you want to pack, then you can enjoy all the benefits of traveling light!
Here are some the benefits of having the mindset to travel ultralight.
This is stating the obvious but lighter your bags the cheaper flights can be. Airlines have a weight limit on bags especially with checked in bags. Airplanes love to charge travellers for excess weight of their bags.
Airplanes charge by the weight of your bag been checked in. Baggage fees for checked bags are only getting more and more expensive. If you were to bring a carry-on only, then you wouldn’t have to pay those fees but there is a limit regarding carry-ons.
Less Luggage to Manage
The less you are traveling with, the less you need to worry about things getting lost, misplaced, stolen, or not arriving in your final destination.
Lighter bags makes it easier to carry a bag around. Image carrying a 35 kg bag around in the heat after a short while you will start tiring.
The less fewer things you pack, it makes it easier when you are travelling.
Your Luggage Won’t Get Damaged or Steal
Again if you travel light, its less lightly that your bag is going to be damaged or worse taken. The lighter or smaller you bag is, the less attractive it will be thief’s to steal or go through the contents you bag.
The benefits of you luggage arriving completely in tact. Is when you arrive at your destination, this saves you time and tremendous stress. You also will reduce the risk of your luggage lost or misrouted when travelling on.
It gives you greater flexibility to move through a crowded area. Also if your carry on is small and light, you might be able to fit it under your seat, which almost always has guaranteed free space, unlike the overhead bins, which are first come, first served.
The smaller carry on bag size will give you more chances of fitting in your bag with other bags, hopefully eliminating the need for the cabin crew to check your bag after all.
4 Rules for Minimalist Travel Packing
As a general rule, I believe we are better off packing less and trusting ourselves more to survive with minimal stuff. That said, I’m not interested in been minimalism to the point of limiting my travel experience or causing myself problems later on my trip.
With this in mind, there are 4 rules that drives my ultralight travel philosophy.
- Pack what you need
When packing only pack what you need or the must haves, not the nice to haves. Focus on the true essentials only.
- Roll, don’t fold
Many travel experts including backpackers agree that rolling is superior to folding. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones.
- Bring only 1 week’s worth of clothing
It’s easy to do laundry when travelling than to carry weeks worth of clothing.
- Reduce weight. Multipurpose items
If faced with two useful options, select the one that is lighter or better designed that have multiple uses because this reduces weight and complexity.
How to Pack for Ultralight Travelling
Ultimately you need to made or force yourself to pack light. In the long run while travelling it will make your life easier. To start with a lighter backpack or suitcase makes you more mobile and its more comfortable. With the added bonus of avoiding extra charges on flights.
As obvious as this but just going to the paperwork as you not going to get far with out.
Visa: Check with your local embassy on your visa requirements to enter the country you are travelling to.
Passport: Make sure that your passport is valid for a min six months before travelling. Don’t leave home without it.
Another ID: You don’t want to be carrying your passport around. Another form of identification is useful for example a nation ID card or driver’s license. For example in Thailand you are required to have some identification with you at all times.
Backup Your Important Documents: Make copies and pictures of your passport, ID, credit cards, debit cards and maybe travel insurance documents. Put these pictures up somewhere like Dropbox or OneDrive. It makes it easier to resolve if you lose your passport or wallet.
Debit Card and Credit Card Without ATM Fees: This for me can get fairly expensive. Try and get a card that won’t charge you a fee every time you need cash abroad. If it a short trip like 7 days, being a little extra cash so you don’t have to use your card for the first few days.
I am not going to go in a lot here as everyone’s style, weather and trips are different. This has been covered earlier in the post but just bear in mind, to bring only true essentials and around 1 weeks worth of clothes.
Again everyone needs are different here like boys and girls needs. Just remember bring truly essentials when packing. Only pack what you need or the must-haves, not the nice to haves. Focus on the true essentials only like sunscreen which can be more expensive to buy while on you trip.
Ask yourself can the basic toiletries can be bought at your destination. If yes, more often for less than you would pay at home.
I’ve seen people traveling with all these below electronics. And there no way they are going to use them all. Cut these down to the essentials. For example if you a bring a tablet to really need carry a laptop and kindle with you. Electronics you will need to carry on to the plane. If you check in it you electronics may get damaged or stolen from you bag.
Unlocked Phone for Local SIM: Bring an unlocked phone will allow you to use a local SIM card. This makes it cheaper for SMS, Data and calls. I always bring an unlocked phone. Other than been cheaper, I keep my main phone safe in my hotel to hostel. I certainly don’t want that been robbed or go missing.
Camera: Camera do a great job and produces a better photo than a phone but most of them can be bulky and heavy. The question here can you phone do a similar job.
Power Bank: These always cause a fuss at airport security. They do come in handy if you phone is running low on power. And no power points around.
Travel Adapter: Pick one that fit plugs in any part of the world.
Laptop: The smaller and lighter, the better. The question here can you phone do a similar job. Laptop can get heavy after carrying it for a while.
Tablet: For the surfing the internet, films or readings that don’t require a laptop. If you’re already carrying a phone, the tablet is a luxury.
Kindle: Ideal for readers but again but your phone do this.
Smartphone Charger | Laptop Charger | Tablet Charger: All these electronics require a charger and there are normally bulky and awkwardly shaped. If you are going to bring multiple devices try and get a charger that can work on all your devices so you don’t have to travel will multiple chargers only the one.
Extra Bits | Gear
Carry On Luggage: Choose a carry on that fits within the airline’s carry on luggage rules.
Pen: This come in surprisingly handy for filling out custom forms.
Luggage Lock: A small, TSA-approved padlock is a great theft-deterrent, especially if you will be traveling on trains or buses or staying in hostels.
Notebook/ Travel Journal: A travel journal is a place where you can write your experiences and what you have learned during your trip.
With a little preparing and forcing yourself to travel light you make your life easier regarding traveling.
And that’s it for now! Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if you go too. I’d love to know if this guide on travel ultralight packing- How to Travel Light has helped you.