Listicles is not something I usually write. God only knows why. Maybe because it sounds like testicles (not that I mind but to write about it? Back to the subject, though – listicles, right. Don’t think I would find it hard to tell you a story about packing for a budget trip. I could even tell you my own story and how lousy at packing I used to be. My first backpacking trip – 20 kg luggage for three weeks. Next trip – 8 kg luggage for three weeks (!!!). But would my storytelling do any good? Doubt it. It would probably show you that it’s possible to pack light and still have everything you need. So let’s do this. Let’s make a list. Let’s make our journey pleasant before it even begins.
One golden rule before we start with the list. Every kilo (actually every pound, too) you put into your luggage will be the one you’ll be carrying. Suitcase, bag, backpack – doesn’t matter. You will feel the weight (whether metric or not) climbing up the stairs to the last floor of your elevator-free budget hotel.
Rule one – ELIMINATE
Take all the clothes you’d like to take with you and put them in three groups.
1 – things that are absolutely necessary
2 – things you think you might need
3 – things you would like to take
Done? Good. Now take the third pile and say goodbye to it. You’re not taking it. Now go to the second pile and take only half of the stuff.
If you now think that I’m a heartless bitch that means that you need this list more than you thought.
Rule two – MULTIFUNCTION IS THE KEY
Don’t take one-occasion things with you. Every piece of clothing you’re going to take should have a dual-purpose. If you take a top, check if it could work out as a beach dress? Can your t-shirt be also used as your pj’s top? Maybe your cosy hoodie will do great as a pillow at night? You can also use your shoes as a hiding-place for your personal belongings or simply just small stuff that could easily get lost.
Rule three – TRUST YOUR DARK CLOTHES
I know you look great in your white shirt/tshirt/shorts/dress, but do you really want to look great only once on your trip? Dust is an inseparable attribute of a budget trip. Do the math. Of course you can wash your clothes on the road and you will. Sometimes in a sink, sometimes you’ll use the washing service, anyhow you will be surprised how soon white becomes grey and yellow. That’s why I would highly recommend to bet on dark clothes and what’s more important clothes made of easily drying materials. There is nothing worse than stinky mouldy clothes.
Rule four – FALL IN LOVE WITH MINIMALISM
Do you honestly need your shampoo in a 1l bottle? Or a toothpaste that would be enough for a family of four… for a month? Try using small size versions (the same rules apply for the liquor of your choice ). Do the research, check how much do the cosmetics you need cost in the country you’re travelling to. Some of them may be much cheaper. But some may be just the opposite. Sunscreens in Asia? Trust me, that’s a rip-off!
Rule five – DON’T HIDE YOUR DOCUMENTS
I know that you are terrified about the safety your passport, ID, tickets, reservation confirmations, but please do not put it on the bottom of your bag. Just picture all that stress it will cause you when you’ll be asked for any of it. Is it there? OMG I can’t find it! I probably left it in the cab! Oh no, I must now take out all my things that I have packed with such precision. No one wants that.
People behind you are waiting. You’re getting anxious, wishing your trip was already over. It’s a nightmare. You can change that scenario by simply keeping your document on you. It’s not dangerous. Just keep it in a place you can keep your eye on it.
Rule six – BE LIKE DR HOUSE
But don’t get crazy. Prepare a mini version of First Aid Kid. Don’t take the whole pharmacy with you just the essentials:
- food poisoning medications
Usually it’s good to find out how the locals treat some illnesses, especially food poisoning. Sometimes it’s really worth to trust their judgement. After all they’ve been eating this food for a while
Rule seven – CONTROL YOUR TECH DESIRES & PASSIONS
SHOULD I TAKE MY LAPTOP/TABLET OR NOTEBOOK WITH ME? I’ve heard that question tens of times. My answer on this one will be very subjective. I never travel without my laptop and I will show you what do I use it for:
1) For checking transport, booking tickets, confirming reservation, finding accommodation, checking weather forecast.
2) Keeping all the data (photos, videos)
3) Watching movies when I’m on the road. Yes I know, you may say Why don’t you read books? Of course I read books but when you travel for 15 hours trust me, cut off 2 hours by watching a film is a blessing
4) This is the most important argument – To write a travel blog. You have no idea how selective and elusive your memory is. Maybe you will remember everything for a week, a month maybe, but in 6 months you’ll not remember the name of that incredible, tiny restaurant (not even mentioning the way to it) where you’ve had the best Tikka Masala in your life. That’s why I write. Every two or three days to have all those memories fresh. And here is some other reason that makes blogging even better. You don’t have to call your whole family and your friends and tell each one of them that you’re alive or where you’re at just now. You just click “POST” and travel along in peace
Rule eight – NEVER CHECK-IN YOUR ESSENTIAL ITEMS
Even though we all wish it never ever ever happened to us, sometimes it does. Luggage can be lost, stolen or simply mistaken. This it the moment you really don’t want your documents, money, camera, phone or medicines to be in that bag. Keep them safe with you and carry them in your hand luggage.
Rule nine – CONSIDER THE UNDERVALUED
We usually pack the obvious. The things that are either essential (documents etc.) or let’s say super necessary (clothes, underwear). But if you sit and think for a second there are some items that usually don’t cross your mind, but to be honest can be really, if not life-, than at least trip-saving.
Have you ever thought about taking an alarm clock on your holiday. Sounds ridiculous I know, cause that’s usually that one special thing you’re trying to get away from. But, imagine being in the most stunning place on earth and the one thing that would fulfil your happiness would be watching the sunrise. Good luck. No matter how bad you try it’s against human nature to be up at 4 a.m. especially when you’re on holiday.
You’re up. You’re watching this incredibly amazing sunrise. You take out your camera and oh, sh*** battery is dead. How many times has it happened to you? I can recall a few myself. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have extra batteries with you.
There is one more item I would highly recommend you to take with you. Useful especially on the road. Moist towelettes. It’s not only for your comfort. It’s also for the comfort of your co-travellers. Make travel pleasant
It wasn’t that bad, was it? I know it can be little bit hard at the beginning. Try it with short trips first. Whether you go somewhere for one night, a weekend or a week use the same scheme. By the time you leave for your big adventure you will be an EXPERT in packing Oh, I almost forgot. One more thing. Don’t fold. Roll Not only will it save you some space but also your clothes won’t look like garbage