You’ll never meet a traveller who, after five trips, brags: “Every year I pack heavier.”
Rick Steves – Travel Writer
Walking out to the van with my carry-on bag, I caught sight of a colleague accompanying me on this five day business trip. He struggled towards the van with a medium size suitcase, over-stuffed suit carrier and a larger carry-on bag, looked at me quizzically and said, ‘Have you already loaded your bags?’
‘No, this is all I am taking.’
Even more perplexed, he stopped and asked, ‘You are only taking that one little bag, how did you fit everything in that?’
‘We are only going for five days, how many wardrobe changes are you planning to make each day?’
He did not offer a response and I tossed my bag in the van, and took a seat while he wrestled his steamer trunk into the back.
Rick Steves’ words echo in my head every time I pack for trip, whether business or pleasure, reducing the amount of stuff I carry always makes for a more enjoyable time. Packing light is easier than you think, and anyone can reduce their luggage to a manageable size with some planning and preparation.
My wife and I are committed to only carrying a Rick Steves’ Convertible Carry On bag weighing no more than 7 Kilos (15 lbs) plus a smaller bag for personal items like a camera. We use a convertible backpack/suitcase with zip-away shoulder straps that is lighter than your average roller bag, and easy to tote across town to the hotel. How do we do it?
Well, my bag contains the following items:
- 2 Columbia Men’s Waterline Short Sleeve Shirts
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 pair of Columbia Titanium Expedition Pant – Men’s
- 1 pair of shorts/swimmers
- 4 sets of underwear
- 4 pair of socks
- 1 jacket
- Vibram FiveFingers Sprint Footwear – Men’s
- small toiletries kit
- first aid kit
- 1 small towel
- sewing kit
- guide book/maps
- phrase book (if needed)
In my Crumpler Shoulder Photo Bag:
- Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
- Apple iPod touch 32 GB (4th Generation) NEWEST MODEL
- battery charger
- spare battery/compact flash drives
- iPod recharger
I used to carry a laptop but an iPod touch or iPhone provides me all the computing power I need for most travel.
The main advantage of this small uncluttered travel bag is mobility. Arriving home from a recent vacation, we cleared Customs before the first bag from our flight dropped on to the carousel. We can easily change planes, trains or buses when a delay occurs because everything is with us. Sure we have to do some washing along the way but it is often no more expensive to use a fluff and fold service than to do the laundry yourself. We also use lightweight wash and wear clothes that can be washed in a sink if necessary, and air dried over night.
Nothing in our bag is there because we might need it, we use every item continuously throughout our travels and when those one-off occasions arise we just buy what we need at that time. Plan for the best and be prepared to spend a little money if needed, why ruin a vacation lugging a huge bag of stuff you never use to save a few dollars. Travelling light is an awakening that can open your eyes to how little you need in your life, try it on your next vacation.