“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money. ” ~ Susan Heller
I almost always pack too many clothes. It stinks, because then you end up carrying extra clothes around that you don’t wear. Extra weight, extra baggage, I always promise myself, next time I am not going to pack as much. But there is always the extra shirt that I threw in at the end “just in case” I might need it.
I’ve packed some really dumb stuff that I thought I would need – and usually it just site at the bottom of my bag and I never touch it. Like the three extra white tank tops that I took on this past trip to Saipan. I wear white tank tops under sweaters and jackets probably three days out of the week in Japan. Did I wear one once in Saipan? No. Why did I take them? Mainly just because I always do.
I’ve gotten a lot better though. I have finally learned not to pack so much extra stuff.
This has been tricky because part of my problem is that we often hit two or three different climates when we travel. So I end up thinking I need extra stuff for all of those climates. Really I don’t. I have to pack smarter, not more. For example, my last trip went Saipan-Osaka-Kyoto – in October. So tropical summer, regular fall and typhoon drenched fall. Last January we went Hong Kong – Saigon – Hoi An – Hanoi – Singapore – Taipei. Completely different climates in all of them. Hong Kong was cool, fallish weather. Saigon was hot summer, shorts weather. Hoi An it was back to fall. Hanoi into winter. Singapore sweltering hot summer. Taipei back to winter.
This summer I went back to the US and went from Texas to DC to Philadelphia, back to Texas and lastly to Los Angeles. Not as bad, as it was all summer everywhere, – but different climates and different types of cities. So that time I had to pack according to not just the climates, but also the expectations of the cities. My cute linen Banana Republic skirt and top looks perfectly normal on a summer day in DC. Not so much in Amarillo, Texas.
Several years ago I spent three weeks in Cambodia. Because of the various places I was going and the different – rather rugged transport we were taking, I needed to keep my luggage at minimum. So I went three week in Cambodia with only what would fit in my weekend backpack. Not my large pack – the small one I usually carry on the airplane. It was actually a relief to be confined to so little.
So here are a few things I have learned from some of my travels, mistakes I have made, tricks that have saved me space and time. Hopefully they will help you too!