Travelling Light When Overseas

I recently traveled overseas for work. The entire trip was 18 days and I only took 6.5kgs worth of baggage. I’ve got to admit, I even impressed myself.

When I arrived at the airport with my little measly backpack it only then dawned on me that I may’ve been under-prepared My fellow travelers had bags weighing anything between 15-20kgs, mine coming in at 6.5kgs began to be a conversation starter.

Considering nothing could be done at this stage of events off I headed to a hot and humid, South-East Asian country with little more than a couple of pairs of pants and a few shirts. However, I survived and even got to dispense some of clothes on the way home.

After this experience I thought it might be worth sharing what I learnt from traveling with so little:

1. You don’t have to have much to be comfortable.

I was comfortable with what I had. I needn’t have anything else. My clothes were able to be washed, albeit in litres of washing liquid, and I never ran out of jocks or socks. This has made me reflect on how many clothes I actually have at home, and probably don’t need. A time for purging is to begin shortly.

2. You can wear jeans for 5 days, even in hot weather.

OK, so my jeans became a central talking point throughout the trip. Particularly after I’d worn them for four days straight and then six days straight, with a wash in-between. In the end the jeans didn’t come back with me, they did stink after six days, but even at the 4-5 day mark they were going OK. Even in hot weather, clothes can last a surprisingly long time. Some people may not approve of this one, but when it’s necessary it works. You can wear clothes more than one day.

3. You help others when you pack light.

A couple of members of our touring party were keen on their shopping. By not having a heavy bag I was able to help them get all their stuff back home by simply taking my bag on the plane as hand luggage. In fact, it helped the whole team have an extra 30kg on their way home. It probably would’ve cost them if this hadn’t occurred.

4. You don’t hurt yourself.

How many times have you strained your muscles by carrying something that’s simply too heavy? Well, with only 7-10kgs travelling around and moving to different places was a joy, not an injury hazard. I was usually the quickest off every form of transport we took, just because I had so little.

5. You don’t get stressed about your stuff.

It was only a few days in before I realised that I didn’t really care if I lost my bag. I hadn’t anything too valuable in there, that was all on my person. My bag was mainly clothes and some medicines. If I’d lost my bag or it’d been stolen I would’ve survived quite easily. In this case I wasn’t stressed about my stuff. I wasn’t stressed about losing it. I wasn’t stressed about how it was handled. I wasn’t stressed about how it looked. Less stuff = less stress.

These are only five simple points about what I’ve learnt by traveling light. I’m sure there are plenty more. Do you travel light? What more could I have added? What have you learnt from your experience?