Packing Light - What Do I Really Need?

Packing/Gear, Travel Tips
The sport of bringing as little as possible while still having what you need is a challenge I've welcomingly accepted.
I can't reiterate enough how important it is to pack light. You will be so much happier. Not only the sheer weight lifted off your back (yeah, pun intended) but you'll also realize how little you really need to get by, and happily so.

Packing your wardrobe is a whole other topic. See How to Pack - Steps for Choosing Your Minimalist Wardrobe.

must-haves and nice-to-haves . . .
most of the nice-to-haves should stay behind
For all your gadgets like snorkel gear, toiletries, cameras, you will have must-haves and nice-to-haves. Most of the nice-to-haves should stay behind. If it's something small, you might bring it in hopes of that moment when you need this odd little piece of duct tape and voila! you have it! Leave jewelry at home unless you have one or two things you love to wear all the time and the only purse you will need is something to hold a bit of money and some sunscreen.

Think Camping. Budget travel is more like camping! You'll start to learn what are your little luxury items you love to have. One of my new ones is a tiny pack towel that I keep in my purse and use it any time I need a cloth - mainly to wipe the sweat when hiking (or just riding a hot bus!).

I have a lot of things listed in my packing list and I do pack all of that for each trip. But if you really want to pare it down, you can get away with much less and be fine. What do I actually end up needing? Of course it varies a bit by location but usually I could get away with just this:

  • flashlight
  • washcloth
  • phone & charger
  • sunglasses
  • chapstick
  • outlet adapter
  • headphones
  • compression socks
  • blow-up pillow
  • pen & notepad
  • hat
  • flat sink stopper
  • laundry line (braided)
  • A daypack or sling bag
  • coin purse for all money
  • first aid kit (keep it small - no more than a snack-sized ziploc)
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • hair clip
  • travel size shampoo, conditioner, body soap, deodorant, hairbrush, tweezers, nail clippers, floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor

And almost without fail, I always wish I brought less clothing, not more. You end up having your go-to outfits and you wear those over and over again. At the end of each trip, I take note of what would have been the perfect wardrobe. It's almost always the same.

  • 2 capris
  • 1 dress
  • 1 skort
  • 1 shorts (to sleep in)
  • 1 leggings
  • 2 under tanks
  • 1 bra tank
  • 1 sleeveless top
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 over shirt
  • 1 loose / conservative shirt
  • 2 bras
This is when I bring everything I can possibly think of. I really don't NEED it all and can get by with much less.
This is when I bring everything I can possibly think of. I really don't NEED it all and can get by with much less.

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