We’ve all been there. You go to lift your suitcase, and it feels heavier than you. But you need everything in there! Or do you?
This is a problem I’ve struggled with. It’s so difficult to lift my suitcase up one step that I’m sweating profusely by the time I drag it across the doorway. As a solo traveller, it can be pretty embarrassing to be seen struggling so hard with my luggage. It makes me appear like a less than adequate traveler, in my opinion. Seasoned travelers tend to know how to pack lightly. Thus, it’s time to take a look at what we don’t need. Here are some much needed packing tips for travelers.
1. Full Sized toiletries
This could quite possibly be the reason why your luggage is so heavy. No, you don’t need full size shampoo, conditioner, or face wash. There will probably be a number of days you’ll be going without a shower while you’re on the road. Just buy travel size and buy more if you need them, they’re cheap enough.
2. Toiletries in general
You need to take a hard look at the toiletries you actually use, and the ones you only think you use. Overall, we need stuff to wash our hair, face, body, and some deodorant. Do you really need much else? Bring a toothpaste and some floss. All the extras you’ll probably hardly use and they’ll only take up much needed space in your luggage.
This is a tough one. Research what time of year you’ll be going. If you’ll be there for all of the seasons, then buy some cheap shoes once you’re there. I thought I would need lots of shoes for all the different things I would be doing. I have
- walking shoes
- running shoes
That’s a reasonable amount of shoe! Only bring pairs you’ll need immediately. Also, it’s best to bring shoes that will work with many different outfits. Use shoes that you can work in, explore in, or go to an event where you need to look a little fancier than normal.
I think this is the biggest offender. I spend so much time convincing myself that I’ll need certain articles of clothing, and suddenly my suitcase is about to burst from all the clothing I stuffed in there. Laundry facilities do exist in other countries.
It isn’t a crime to wear a shirt more than once (or twice…).
Really, you’re traveling. Wear a shirt as many times as you can without offending anyone. Also, don’t bring clothes you are incredibly attached to. Sometimes the better option is to just throw it out or better yet, donate it. But don’t be sucked in by the opshops and buy more! Bring jeans, a skirt, and leggings. You can have a couple fast drying shirts, a couple fancy shirts, a cardigan. Try to bring the basics. Choose clothing that will work in many outfits.
Right now, I’m lugging around:
- my current phone
- my american phone
- my ipod
- my laptop
- all the chargers to go with it
Of course, I would never leave my laptop behind, especially for an extended trip. I’m also lucky because my laptop is tiny. However, you also need to take into consideration the amount of chargers you’ll need to keep track of. It could be very easy to leave one behind, and if it’s for your current phone, then you might be screwed for a while.
If you’re backpacking around Australia or Europe, or wherever- bring a backpack. Duh. Common sense. I obviously can’t follow my own advice, and chose a pretty big suitcase to start with. Bad idea. It gave me a lot of room for A LOT of stuff. Too much stuff.
If I had begun with a backpack, it would have forced me to limit my items, as I would be carrying it on my back, and your back could easily get sore with heaps of useless items. Luckily I switched it out! Also, dragging a suitcase around a country makes you look like an absolute tourist, and not like you’re working to immerse yourself in the culture of the local people. Not that a backpack makes you look like that either, but at least it makes it easier to get around. You don’t have to fear not being able to carry your suitcase up into the tram or off the train.
The smaller the suitcase, the more precisely you need to pack.
7. Extra bags
This can go along with the size of your suitcase. I chose a normal backpack (Like one for school), and I’m actually very glad for it. It’s useful for hiking, or short trips where I don’t need my whole suitcase. However, I brought a large purse at the demands of my mother. Basically as soon as I got into Tasmania and used it to walk around the city where I had landed, it was nothing but trouble. It had too many pockets and I kept losing my things in the evil depth. I recently
switched my large purse for a small black one which will:
- go with many more of my outfits.
- can be dressed up or down.
- not as annoying.
Again, research what the season will be like when you’re traveling. But because of my too many clothes, even my light jacket was a nuisance to carry around. Add a relatively heavy winter coat for the upcoming cold days, and that’s just another thing to carry. If you’re not planning to buy a car to keep all of your belongings in, in an unorganized fashion, then downsize so you’re not carrying a car load’s worth of things in a suitcase.
Have you ever had trouble packing? What are your tried and true methods? Leave a comment!