My friend, Es, asked me if I had done a blog post on packing, and I said no. But that prompted me to write this post. I think the way you pack for your trip would depend largely on the type of trip you’re taking. Are you traveling for a weekend? Are you traveling for an event? Are you traveling to explore? Etc.
Historically, I’ve always been one to pack everything; and I mean everything! Like even if I was going to a friend’s house for the weekend, I’d pack a whole box. I was paranoid that I’d leave something behind and end up needing it. If we had planned to attend a party during the weekend, I’d pack about 4 or 5 different outfit options, and a variety of shoes to go with each option.
This was me, until my trip to Chile in January. The airline lost my bag, and found it only a day or two before I was due to head back. I spent a week in Chile, and the major thing I bought was underwear. I got a pair of shorts, and two t-shirts. And I somehow managed to get through the week without problems with just that. That was when I realized I could survive with much less luggage. I mean; I had packed all kinds of shoes and party outfits; all kinds of cosmetics and I never got to use any of them.
So, I’ve decided to keep it simple henceforth and I successfully did that on my trip to Thailand in March. What are the basics to pack? For me it’s the following:
- A pair of jeans [if it’s cold; jeggings or leggings otherwise – I’d pack only one ‘cos I’d be wearing one already to fly]
- If it’s a week long trip, 4/5 tops to go on the jeans. Only 2 if it’s a weekend trip. Pack fewer tops if you’re packing a dress or 2.
- A pair of shorts/skirt if the weather fits.
- A sweatshirt, if the weather requires it [if a jacket is required, I’m likely to be wearing it already]
- A pair of walking shoes – for me I choose Toms. In the winter, a comfortable pair of knee high boots to keep warm in.
- A bathing suit, if it’s summer where I’m going
- One dressy outfit. Yes, just one.
- A pair of shoes to go with the dressy outfit.
- Socks, underwear – pack just enough, no excesses please!
- Camera, of course!
- Very minimal jewelry; nothing too precious. You don’t want to lose your precious jewelry on vacation
- For make-up, all I need on vacation is my lipstick and eyeliner. The powder is always in my bag in case I end up going anywhere fancy. I realize this probably won’t work for the average girl. However don’t carry your entire make-up bag that’s as big as the hand luggage itself…try to cut down on it and leave things behind that you can do without
- Toiletries – For me, because of my sensitive skin, I have to pack a tiny jar of my face cream and a tiny bottle of my face wash. Everything else you need you can find at the hotel. And if you don’t need special face wash/cream, even better for you. Basically, we all have one thing or the other that’s important to us. Pack a little jar/bottle of it. If you need to pack a perfume, pack a little bottle. Just make sure each liquid you pack falls under 100ml/3.4oz so that it’s okay to go in your carry-on. If you’re staying in alternative accommodation, you still don’t need to pack your entire bathroom. You usually can buy what you need at your destination
- Ipad. I leave the laptop at home. Except you absolutely need it for work, I think the iPad is just fine.
I think if you pack just the above, you would easily fit everything in a hand luggage. The stress of checking luggage in? Nobody wants to deal with that, except it’s absolutely necessary. For the kinds of trips I plan to take, it’s definitely worth traveling with hand luggage only. Hopping from plane to plane, from one short haul flight to the other, I certainly do not have the patience to wait at the baggage carousel after getting off each plane.
This video from Travel Noire is a sort of cheat sheet on what to pack and how to pack it. I haven’t tried this packing method, but I’m dying to try it on my next trip. Maybe I’ll do a video too! Nah, just kidding. Way too much work trying to edit and perfect videos, lol.
In summary, leave the baggage behind! Travel light, and come back instead with all the experiences of your trip. And don’t fill the entire carry-on luggage too! You want to leave some space in case you decide to buy anything. I’d carry a hand luggage that’s easy to move around [i.e. has wheels] especially when I have a long layover. I always opt for a long layover, so that I can have some time to quickly explore wherever we stop.