Expat cruising usually involves an extended travel experience of 2-12 months. When I head out for foreign land I take a roller bag that I can carry on the plane and will fit in the overhead compartment and a small Hyperlite (yes, that’s actually the brand) backpack.
How do I pack so little for so long? Here are my 10 “pack lite” tips for your next trip:
#1 Pack only one bra – if you need a bra.
A swimsuit top can double for a bra (or two swimsuit tops if you are planning a lot of beach time). Wear a comfortable shelf bra cami when flying which can also be worn in place of a bra and with a skirt or shorts.
#2 Beach time requires a beach wrap.
Beach wraps double as a towel for drying, for sitting on, or as a sunshade. Drape it around you to change clothes, use it as a wrap after showering, or as a long skirt, tied at the waist, while beach walking.
#3 Take only a small, lightweight camp towel.
Most accommodations provide towels or you can rent them inexpensively at hostels. Remember you’ve got your beach wrap. Leave the bulky beach towel at home.
#4 Easy on the shoes.
Oh, the boon of packing lite. I wear my running or trail shoes on the plane and pack walking sandals or a closed-toe walking shoe. If you forget flip flops you can pick up an inexpensive pair for shower, beach, or to wear around your room or to breakfast.
#5 Minimize Jewelry.
Take two or three pairs of your favorite earrings, wear a bracelet, and possibly one necklace. A watch can be handy for catching trains, buses, and flights.
#6 Spare the makeup and hairdryer.
Go natural! I don’t wear any makeup so no problem. If you really need a hairdryer, most accommodations can provide you with one, except in some third-world countries. Keep the toiletry bottles small and to a minimum.
#7 Plan to layer.
Plan on layering – but only take one item or maybe two of a particular layer if you will be wearing that layer frequently.
#8 Leave print books at home.
Print books are heavy and bulky. Most books and travel guides can be downloaded to your mobile device. The Overdrive App lets you download e-books for free from your local library.
#9 Roll all of your clothes.
Compactly rolling clothes allow you to fit more items in your travel bag or backpack. Rolling can be used for most items, especially those made of synthetic fabrics that are less likely to wrinkle than natural fabrics, like cotton. Rolling works well for shorts, socks, T-shirts, tank tops, pajamas, sweats, skirts, and dresses. For items like shirts and tops, fold the body in half, vertically, fold in the sleeves, and roll. When rolling pants, jeans, dresses, skirts, and dresses fold in half and roll.
#10 Use compression bags made for travel.
I like the Eagle Crest Pack-it cubes. They are almost weightless and when zipped and compressed, save valuable space. Pack-it cubes bring order to your travel universe separating like items. Place bulkier items in the bottom of the bag and fill space with smaller items.
A few more tips:
Set everything out a day or two before putting anything in your travel bag. Before packing, remove one-fourth to one-third of the items and leave them at home.
It will be much easier schlepping a lighter bag along alleyways, cobblestone streets, going upstairs, onto buses, and into trains.
Wear bulkier items on the plane – running shoes and socks, long pants or long skirt, sweater, fleece, or down sweater/jacket. Many flights and airports are cold so you’ll be warm during your travels or you can use the fleece or jacket as a pillow.
Packing lite becomes a playful game figuring out how minimal you can go. Remember, anything you forget or really need you can pick up en route. A great reason to go shopping and to peruse the local vendors.
What tricks have you found for packing lite? Share them with us.
By: Gwen Hyatt