Do You Really Need That?: A Short Guide To Packing Light

It goes without saying we love traveling. We have spent time on almost every continent and have enjoyed every minute of exploring this amazing world. We continue to add new places to our list of countries to visit and as such we are always trying to streamline our process. We have learned over the years that there are some things you just don’t need to take with you that will help you travel light.

I’ll be honest: I only know this because when I first started traveling I over-packed every trip. I wasted space and carried around unnecessary extra weight with things I came to find out I didn’t actually need. The main thing to remember here is most things you can do without, and those things you can’t do without you can usually find once you arrive at your destination. Here are five things can be left at home making it easier for you to travel around more lightly.

Excessive Electronics

Unless you are a videographer you most likely don’t need anything more than your smart-phone. Phones nowadays are much more than just ways to make calls or find a good restaurant to eat in. Most phones also have stellar cameras that take very nice photos that satisfy 99% of travelers. Unless you are taking photos or making videos for some formal use its possible to leave the heavy cameras at home. The only other gadget I would suggest bringing is an e-reader. This is great for passing time and takes up way less space than books. 

Hair Dryer/Make-Up

I love getting dressed up and doing my hair as much as the next person. But, most likely you really don’t need that hair dryer or make up bag. When your traveling it’s more important to be connected to what is going on around you, then how you look or what type of photos you can take for “the gram.” I never bring either of these things and not only is it freeing, it gives my skin and hair a much needed break! As I said before, you find yourself in need of some makeup or a hair dryer you can find those things in almost every location around the world. One thing I do bring with me though is lots of hair ties! Anyone who has lost one or been without understands the pain of needing one and not being able to find one! So I always pack a few extra.

Multiple Shoes/Clothing

I usually only bring one pair of shoes with me when I’m traveling. Well, maybe one pair and some sandals. A nice comfortable pair I can walk around in and that has multiple functions. The only other time I will bring an extra pair is if  I’m doing some type of activity that requires me to have them, this goes the same for clothing. You will be surprised what you don’t need clothing wise, what you can take from day to night, and how you can pair up your clothing to create different types of outfits. With that being said, a lot of times you can also rent shoes or clothing for your activity which also helps support the local economy, which we have done many times. This also frees up your bag and your wardrobe to buy local fashions and wear those.

Shampoo/Soap

Obviously, if you have special health needs or certain types of cleaning products you’d have to bring them. If no, chances are if you are staying at a hotel you will get these accessories in your room, so you don’t need to pack them. The only soap I ever pack is a small travel size bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap. This soap is 100% biodegradable and can be used in multiple ways from body wash to toothpaste, washing your hair and even washing off your fruit or vegetables. And since it is non-toxic you can wash in rivers and lakes and not damage the environment. A little goes a long way so bring the small bottle too.

Feminine Products

I am not saying not to bring feminine products at all, and again if you have special health concerns than obviously you would need to bring whatever you use. I do want to encourage you to look at alternative methods besides tampons and pads as these are very damaging for the environment, especially in fragile parts of the world. One such alternative is the Diva Cup. It is easy to use and can be cleaned out water and soap (this is where your Dr. Bronner’s comes in and also a Steri-Pen to clean the water if need be.) This saves on having to pack a big box of tampons or pads and also reduces waste.

Everyone has different needs, but what I want to do is to encourage you to think critically about what you are packing and what you can leave home. Outside of needing your passport, some money and excitement for adventure you really need very few things to have an amazing experience. And besides, scouring the local shops for something you find that you need makes your experience that much more fun!

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