Claire Thomson offers advice on travelling while keeping the baggage to a minimum.
We’re all starting to get excited about the prospect of going away for the weekend again, but the thought of what to pack often makes us want to stay at home. It’s always the what-if situations that scare us into overpacking and being sarcastically asked: “How long are you staying for?” We need to bin the “I’m staying for 4 days so I’ll bring 32 outfits” attitude and to lighten our bags and enjoy our travels the way they were intended. As a girl who has recently moved abroad for a year with a mere 20-kilogram suitcase, I can say - hand on heart - that packing light is not simple, but there are a few simple steps that you can follow to make it that little bit easier.
Whether it’s one night or a week, the main ideas are the same. Firstly, you can’t pack anything without a bag to pack into. Start by limiting the size of your bag or the number of bags that you’re going to carry on your trip. Do you really want to be dragging around several heavy bags just so you can have a few more clothing options? It sounds simple but basically, the less space you have, the less you’re forced to pack. If you plan on moving around a lot or going on a city break, a large travel rucksack might be better than a suitcase with wheels. It’s easier to carry, you have both your hands-free and it doesn’t get in the way in busy or crowded areas. Several times now I’ve gone away for a week at a time with just my trusty travel rucksack, and the majority of the time, these also count as hand luggage on flights so: no need to pay extra for baggage. Another recommendation before even deciding what to pack is to purchase some packing cubes. These keep your bag organised and help with fitting more into a small space.
"The less space you have, the less you’re forced to pack."
Next, consider where you are going and what you’re planning on doing when you are there. If you’re going on a beach holiday, you’ll want to pack swimwear and summer clothing, you won’t need several jumpers and a pair of boots, for example. Plus, it’s important to remember that you’re allowed to wear the same outfit two, three, four days in a row - the fashion police are not going to come for you. Good rules to follow are: underwear and socks for each day, plus a spare; no more than 2 pairs of trousers (remember you’ll also be wearing a pair to travel); a few tops that match all the pairs of the trousers; something a bit fancier for dinner dates or nights out; and a spare jumper, obviously weather-dependant. Wear your bulky clothes and a solid pair of shoes to travel and you’ll be sorted for any occasion. Even in the middle of the winter and the coldest weather, travelling with one small(ish) bag is more than possible.
So whether it’s a staycation, a week abroad or simply a one-night sleepover with a friend, packing does not need to be a massive obstacle. It might take time to master and perfect but practice makes permanent and in no time you’ll be packing light.
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