You’ve all seen that person at the airport. The one with a duffle bag, two rolling suitcases, two personal items, and a backpack. Maybe you have been that person. But if you are going on an adventure, to a far away land for multiple weeks, you don’t need to bring that much. Or at least not as much as you think.
I’m here to tell you to pack lightly. Pack one bag, a backpack, and that’s it. I constantly try to pack less and less on my travels for two reasons: 1) I can become a more efficient traveler and 2) I have to interact with the local culture more.
The first one is easy to understand. An efficient traveler breezes through airports because they have less items to carry. They are content with wearing the same outfits daily, and won’t be saying to themselves “Did I forget that thing?” or “Where’s my other bag?” The efficient traveler moves around the world with more freedom and speed.
But the latter is even more important. If I bring less clothes I have to do laundry. If I bring less toiletries and accessories, it means I have to shop. For example, if I go to Vietnam for three weeks and I bring minimal items in my pack, then I have to find a laundromat from time-to-time. If I bring little or no toiletries, then I have to go to the market and buy as much as I need at a time. Sunglasses? Buy a cheap pair on the street from a vendor. I am constantly mixing it up, bartering, and learning from locals; relying on them for support in a new land, instead of lugging around a mountain of crap and feeling lost.
This advice obviously helps if you are traveling to a country where your budget can go further (I will touch on this in later posts). But even if your destination is Paris, you can at least get more comfortable with the culture. By focusing on packing less and consolidating your gear, you will become a more confident traveler, no matter the destination.