As May turns into June, we can almost smell the summer holidays with the kids. It is a time to get away and lose some of the heaviness of the past 15 months. Packing the essentials for the trip is one of the trickier parts of your travel prep. The lighter you can travel, the freer you will feel. So, here we will look at some of the best tips and tricks for packing only the essentials this summer; should you feel you need to read more about this, there are plenty of further posts and resources online to help you nail your travel, wherever it is you are heading to!
Getting the basics right
You may think it is impossible to pack lightly. Those people that travel with a toothbrush and a spare pair of pants are superhuman, and for the rest of us, 20kg is a push. However, some easy hacks can help to lighten the load. Let’s start with some basic stuff that you need to get right first.
The first rule is to buy a suitable bag for the trip you are going to take. If you are going to be travelling a lot or setting out for a camping trip, then a backpack is always going to work best. However, if you are travelling further afield, you can purchase a set of packing cubes that organise your life into compact packs. These work some miracle that allows you to fit more into your suitcase; we are not sure how magical.
The second basic rule of travelling is to select only the must-haves. When we begin to pack, we pick up things and think, “It would be nice to have this handy!” If you do this nice-to-have packing, you will run out of space pretty quickly. This is true, especially if you are planning to go on an educational or meteorological camping trip. You should first pack the essentials. This includes a first aid kit, enough food, flashlights, and maybe a professional weather station that can gauge and monitor the weather for you. After packing these, you can then add other important must-have equipment or items to your bag.
Finally, in the basics rules of travelling lightly, only pack for a week no matter how long you are going. First, there are laundry facilities in most places, and second, there are shops all across the world for anything forgotten, even in the remotest parts of the globe.
The toiletry bag
Of all the things to get right, the toiletry bag is the trickiest. We need those shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, conditioners, makeup and more. There are travel sets available in neat little packs and with silicone tubes and pots with leak-proof lids. If you are travelling somewhere where there will be shampoo and soap available, you can always use the space in this pack for your makeup or other essentials.
Better still, to avoid the problems of the 100ML limit on flights, you can use bars of soap and shampoo. Most bottled shower gel and shampoo are made mostly of water, and you don’t really have room to carry this. Alternatively, you can use dry shampoo, which comes in a container that you can shake over your hair. Dry shampoo is perfect for camping or trekking, as it can keep your hair refreshed without damaging the environment. The best dry shampoos are biodegradable.
Another tip, which is excellent for money-saving too, is to take the free sample bottles offered by shops. These bottles are the perfect size for a quick getaway. You can also collect them when you stay at hotels for future travel.
Veteran travellers’ tips
The ideal item for light travel packing can be used for multiple situations. For instance, merino wool may be more expensive than other fabrics, but it is lightweight and can be warm when cold outside, yet still keeps you cool when it is warm. It is also quick to dry, should you get wet or want to wash it while out on your travels.
Equally, a microfibre travel towel is ten times lighter than a standard cotton towel. While the texture can be a little off-putting, it also dries quicker than other towels. Remember, the best way to use the towel is to pat yourself down rather than rub.
Stolen from the stories of veteran travellers, these hints and tips should help you travel lightly. But remember, you will need some inner discipline, too, if you will keep your bag to a bare minimum.