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So This Is Why We Should Travel Light


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There is an art to traveling light, going pretty much anywhere, for an indefinite length of time, with nothing more than a single (carry on-sized) bag. While traveling light has a lot to do with unburdening those external things, bags, and attachments which grow around us like a sheep's woolen coat, it also has to do with those little worries and anxieties which distract us from enjoying our holidays.

There are many advantages to “travel light", the principal ones being: Foreign travel in particular can be challenging because it is unfamiliar and unpredictable, but the one-bag traveller copes by operating from a solid, familiar foundation, with fewer unnecessary things to worry about. You are often able to take all you luggage as carry-on, avoiding the temptation of lugging around extra baggage.

I would recommend using a “travel pack" which is a cross between a backpack, and soft-side luggage. When looking at travel packs make sure they are still under the limit for carrying-on luggage. Some travel packs have a zip-off daypack. A shoulder or messenger bag is a handy idea for your camera, books, maps, guides and travel documents.

Carry your valuables in a travel wallet under your clothing. A number of the travel companies sell vests which are specifically designed for traveling. There are a number of very fashionable vests which can add color to your wardrobe and don't make you stand out as a “tourist/photo-journalist".

Don't take full-size items (normal size bar of soap, tube of toothpaste or floss), but use the travel/sample size, if not, a smaller amount in an appropriately size container. Use small bottles or a container with a leak proof lid, for you shampoo and conditioner. Try making your toiletries, first aid, and repair items fits into a quarter size Glad Big Zip plastic bag. If you are taking anything which is a liquid, double wrap it in zip-lock bags to prevent any leaks.

Packing light lets you use your check through luggage allotment for medical supplies and other items for service trips. For expedient security review, place your medical supplies into a transparent bag. Then place the bag on top of your other items so security can access the bag without ruining your efficient packing method.

Make a list of items to pack. Some travel stores have a good checklist and the library has numerous books that tackle the subject. Shorter holidays and air travel make us more circumspect with our baggage; an important rule to travelling light is to forget about anything that “might come in handy".

When your luggage is carry-on you can't lose it, you bag doesn't get thrown, dropped or otherwise abused, and if you have a tight connection you know your bag will be with you, wherever you end up. You will also be among the first to leave the airport for your destination, while others wait for baggage delivery and long customs inspection queues

It is possible to overstuff soft side luggage to the point that it will not fit under a seat, so if you bag is bulging on the sides, you have packed far too much. Just because you bag will fit under the seat in front of you doesn't mean that it will be acceptable carry-on. Some regional airlines limit carry-on bags to 5kg. These days, you are restricted to one carry-one bag, and one “purse / computer / briefcase".

Remember the traveler's motto: It's better to bring half of what you think you need and twice as much money as you expect to spend. When you pack and travel light, not only will you get to skip the baggage carousel and cruise through customs, but you'll just have that much less to lug around. If there is a bottom line, it's that traveling light is simply a better way to go.

This article was written by Isabel Haynes-Riley. For another installment of amazing tips on how to pack and travel light visit


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