During our trip to Namibia and South Africa many people wondered how traveling lightly seemed to be such a piece of cake for us. Two adults and one piece of luggage. Add to that a book bag and a handbag. That’s all you need for 18 days on the other side of the world. At the airport in Johannesburg the lady at the check-in counter invited herself to Sweden because she wanted to learn to pack like that. Once we arrived in Stockholm, the customs officer seemed very suspicious at the sight of our sole bag. He actually ended up scanning it – very suspicious indeed!

There have been times when I have gone on an overnight business trip with everything I need in only one handbag. That is not much space for a female traveler. Fortunately, traveling lightly is not as difficult as it sounds, and here are the tips from one reluctant traveler on how to fit your essentials into one handbag. Or one piece of luggage if there are two of you.

And what is the benefit, you may ask yourself? It’s not that fun to get stuck in customs. Well, you save a lot of time. And you don’t have to carry around on a lot of useless stuff. Your back will thank you for it. And if you’re a reluctant packer (or traveler) like me, you will be more than happy!

Word of warning: not all of these tips are applicable to everyone. Remember, this is written from a woman’s perspective.

Traveling Lightly: Wear Dresses and

Dresses are, I have noticed, the best choice when it comes to traveling lightly. They usually take up less space than other clothing items and they are easy to dress up or down. It is easy to combine them with different types of tights. Shoewear goes hand in hand with dresses and tights and whatnot. Ask yourself (sternly) – how many pairs of shoes do I need on this trip? Subtract at least one pair.

Are you a guy? Fear not. Life is possibly much easier for you anyway. Just bring some clean t-shirts and socks.

Actually, one idea is to bring few items of clothing with you and get more during your trip in case you are in need of clean clothes. In many places you can wash your laundry as well.

Traveling Lightly: Ditch the Books

I love reading. During those 18 days in Africa I finished 6 books and felt that I would have needed even more fascinating novels to read. Previous mistakes have taught me a valuable lesson. Do not bring printed books on a trip! They are heavy. Even though I love the smell of old-fashioned books, I leave them at home. Instead I carry a tiny and light e-reader with me. That way I have countless hours of entertainment within easy reach.

Traveling Lightly: Beauty Products & Toiletries

Who wouldn’t want to feel fresh and pretty while traveling? I think there is a way to do that without bringing hair dryers, straighteners and your whole make-up bag.

How about trying these ideas:

  • Bring travel-sized toiletries and make-up (this is also usually a must if you travel with hand luggage only). Testers is a fabulous option!
  • Reduce the contents in your make-up/toiletry bag and simplify your beauty routines in the process. You might not need to look completely flawless. In other words, stick to the essentials only.
  • Many hotels provide free toiletries. Maybe you don’t need to bring anything else than your toothbrush and some toothpaste?
  • Also remember: you will probably find shampoo, conditioner, and other useful items at your destination. It’s also likely that it will be the same brands as home. You don’t have to bring your entire bathroom with you.

 

Please do share – what are your best tips for traveling lightly?

traveling lightly