I guess this is really for the low-maintenance traveller who’s always on the go from city to city, or town to town, or village to village. Nobody’s got the energy and time to worry about large suitcases when they are globetrotting!
Here are the Absolute Essentials for your average traveller on a shoestring:
Rule of thumb that I follow: If it is a week-long trip, pack for 5 days. If it is a month-long backpacking trip, pack for 8 days. Of course, you’re gonna have to re-wear some of the clothes, or visit the laundry. I’d usually bring only 2 pairs of bottoms, 5 tops and maybe a dress to a week-long trip. Oh and also one set of “home-wear” or pyjamas for sleeping. It’ll be a bonus if your sleeping attire can pass off as lazy airport wear for your trip home! Less clothes to pack!
All the freebies that you’ve collected in your previous stays at hotels will come in handy here. Shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste are the essentials here. If you are travelling in a group, you could even split the load! Other things to bring along: Moisturizer, lip balm, small brush and maybe your contact lens solution. All in travel-sized bottles.
Wear your heaviest pair of shoes on the plane, and pack only a pair of flip flops in your bag. 2-3 pairs of extra socks would be sufficient for a week-long trip. If you have to bring an extra pair of shoes, stuff the socks in the shoes and you’ll save the space!
4. Gadget related
You’ll probably be tempted to pack in everything: digital camera, iPhone, iPad, Mac, the works. I used to do that, lugging along all the gadgets that I “definitely will need”. I even brought along my DSLR. Not to mention multi-plug adapters and all the chargers and charging cables…oh and power banks, anyone?
After a few trips with these gadgets in tow, I took a hard look at what are the ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS. To be honest, a solid and trusty smartphone will really do the job. Sure, it might be slightly inconvenient due to the smaller screens, but it definitely beats having to bring so many gadgets that I might not even have time to use when I’m on my trip! In fact, you probably shouldn’t be hiding behind a device…go out there and explore!
I’ve also got myself one of the smallest mirrorless cameras in the market – Lumix GM1 – in place of the big old DSLR. Perfect for my “Pack Light” philosophy. But if you must, smartphones nowadays take really good photos too!
5. All the Other Stuff
1-4 roughly covers the bulk of the Absolute Essentials when I pack for my trips. If you were able to save some space (and luggage weight) from those areas, I guess you’ll be able to fit the other miscellaneous items you think are essential!
Just remember to ask yourself… “Do I really need this?” 😉