I totally get it that we need to take stuff when travelling - but just take less of it!
It's hard to believe that this bag contains everything I needed for four weeks of solo travel in Croatia and Italy. And even more unbelievable was that there were a couple of things I never even used!
One of my key tricks with travelling light is to take smaller versions of normal everyday items.
Rather than taking a heavy coat, take a puffer jacket instead. Not only is a puffer jacket lighter it also compacts down to a very small item in your bag.
All packed and self-contained with my first light packing trip - all 5.5 kilograms (just 12 pounds!!).
No one wants to travel without the essentials!
When you travel you want to have everything you need. You want to feel comfortable in your clothes and you want to have the things that make you feel good. I totally get that.
On my first trip I travelled with some things I didn't use and really missed a couple of key items. As much as I wasn't planning on going out for a flash meal, it would've been nice to have something that I could just feel a wee bit more dressed up in. A simple silk blouse which I now carry is the solution for me.
My favourite silk blouse - just 100g.
Don't go without - go small.
Lots of everyday clothing can be downsized. One example of this is a scarf or two. A scarf is great as:
- an extra layer of warmth
- a sarong at the beach
- a head cover at religious places
- a skirt or to cover bare legs
- simply to change the look of an outfit
- a facemask when it's dusty or smoky
- it even got used as a sling for a fellow traveller
I do love my pashmina scarves, but an even better option is a silk scarf. These beautiful scarves weigh so much less and scrunch up into the tiniest ball for packing.
The scarf in the top photo is neither silk nor merino but I wore it most of the time as it went with EVERYTHING! So you can guess what I'm looking for now - yep, a silk scarf in this dusky pink/purple colour!!
Heavy clothes vs. light clothes.
One of the clothing items that light travellers really struggle with are jeans.
They're relatively heavy, they take forever to dry if they get wet or you wash them, but they are the most versatile piece of clothing. Who doesn't feel comfortable in a pair of well-fitting jeans?
I took a pair to Croatia and Italy and I wore them a few times but there was no way I wanted to wash them, so I minimised the times I wore them.
Instead I wore my black hiking trousers that actually looked alright at all times of the day and night. The jeans weighed 450g but the hiking pants were 220g. As you can see it all starts to add up.
An alternative to jeans is jeggings - a smaller version of jeans. Mine weigh in at 350g.
I've since been told that jeans actually don't need to be washed that frequently. An upmarket jean retailer told me that putting your jeans in the freezer overnight is a great way of cleaning them!
You do need to give them time to thaw out and warm up before wearing however! Now I just need to add "must have a freezer" to my accommodation requirements!!!
How many pairs of shoes does one need??
What ever shoes you take, make sure they are comfortable and versatile.
My favourites are some white Ecco shoes that are so comfortable to walk in, easily cleaned if they get dirty, and go with shorts, skirts, trousers. On a summer holiday they are perfect.
The other shoes I need often are hiking shoes. But hiking shoes can be heavy (boots even more so). Trail shoes can be a lot lighter, and still give you the comfort and security of a hiking shoe - built well to protect your feet on rough terrain.
My other essential shoe is the humble jandal (that's Kiwi for thong or flip-flop.)
My jandals are used as a shower shoe when sharing bathrooms, a beach sandal, an aqua shoe (the back strap keeps them in place) and with their rose-gold colour they make a nice strappy sandal for dressing up.
I'm also not a fan of large creepy-crawlies, so my jandals frequently come in handy for sweeping the terrifying CC out the door.
Other shoes you may want to include or replace might be an evening shoe/sandal. And even these can be light in weight.
Running shoes are also important for runners - but even these come in different weights. I've got a pair that are 300g - so if running was my thing then I'd feel happy taking them.
Remember, it's all about WHAT YOU NEED to make your trip comfortable.
One trick with shoes is to wear your heaviest shoes when you are on the move so you are carrying a lighter load.