I’m sure you’ve all heard it before, but it’s worth repeating again and again: when packing for any sort of trip, only take what you need. And it makes sense, too. Carrying around a needlessly heavy backpack is seriously annoying. It makes it difficult to walk long distances, it can possibly increase your flight costs and you run the risk of losing a lot more if your bag gets stolen.
Sometimes, however, even that isn’t enough. If you’re planning for a longer than normal trip that might take you through a number of seasons or climates, you’ll have to pack more than you would on a shorter trip. So, what can you do to keep the weight down?
Here’s a few solutions:
- Don’t double up on clothes. How many pairs of pants do you need? Do you really need a coat? You’re likely to find that you’ll wear the same clothes over and over again, and never wear the other clothes that you take. In many cases, there’s no need to take a big heavy coat at all; instead, you can wear your other clothing as layers, with a windbreaker or lightweight rainproof jacket over the top.
- You only need one pair of shoes! A second pair of shoes is likely to increase the weight you’re lugging around considerably. Before you leave, find a good pair of shoes that fit you well, will last for a whole year and are appropriate for a range of situations that you’ll likely find yourself in.
- Consider purchasing special travel clothing. There’s a huge market in professional, lightweight travel clothing, much of which will dry quickly when went and also be odour resistant, so if you’re forced into doing so, you can get away without washing it when wearing it for a couple of days in a row. Companies like Icebreaker and The North Face sell a good range of such clothing, as do plenty of other manufacturers. The one downside to this, however, is that much of the clothing of this nature cannot be tried in a tumble-drier
- Dump the travel guides. Let’s face it, multiple-country travel guides aren’t much use; you’ll get far more out of separate books on Germany and France than you will from a Western Europe guidebook, but if you’re going on a long trip, you can’t possibly carry a guidebook for every country you’re likely to pass through. What to do? Dump them! There’s a huge amount of travel information online, these days – such as Wikitravel, and virtually every good guidebook publisher will sell you electronic versions of their books. Alternatively, you could buy an e-Reader and load all of your guidebooks onto that.
- If in doubt, throw it out. Unless you’re going to an impoverished African or Asian country, there’s a good chance that you can buy anything you’re likely to need at your destination. Take a good look at what you’re taking with you, and make an assessment whether you need it at all. If it’s likely that you’ll only use it once while you’re away, it might not be worth taking at all.
Remember, the smaller your luggage, the easier you’ll find it to get around, and the more enjoyable your trip will be.