Mariam Simmons unpacks the secrets behind how to pack light.
Less is best when you hit the road on your own. Packing light makes it easier for you to move from place to place, from one type of transportation to another. There’s also less risk of you losing something along the way. But we all know how difficult it can be to properly pack for a trip – whether it’s for a vacation abroad, at a beach, or camping in the great outdoors. This is because what most of us think of as essentials aren’t really.
While it’s very important to be prepared for almost all eventualities, you really can’t bring everything with you wherever you go, especially if you’re traveling solo.
Below are some tips and tricks we’ve gathered from travel experts and enthusiasts that will teach you how to pack light – the smart way. This article can be used as a guide by any solo traveler, but they’re especially helpful for women who want to travel alone.
When it comes to traveling light, the biggest decision you have to make is the type of bag to bring with you. Do you go with a backpack or a rolling briefcase? Many travel enthusiasts, particularly those who love to do it solo, are huge advocates of backpacks. Not only does this type of bag give you mobility, but it also allows for easy access to your stuff wherever you may be.
As you already know, backpacks typically come with a lot of pockets, allowing you to easily organize your things into different compartments. More importantly, it’s easier to keep an eye on your belongings when your bag is strapped close to your body. Like when you need to pop into the restroom and no one’s there to help you look after your things.
Of course, that’s not to say that a rolling briefcase isn’t an ideal option. For some women, this may be the better choice. The wheels make it convenient to use. A relatively small suitcase can fit most carry-on dimensions. You might want to consider getting one that features an expandable zipper to provide you with more space if needed (like for all the souvenirs you plan to bring home).
You can probably buy most of the things you need wherever you plan to go. But there is some stuff that you can’t possibly do without. These travel essentials we’re talking about are your most important items – your travel documents and your wallet. Obviously, you won’t be allowed to enter or leave a country without your passport.
These days, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is also required if you want to travel. Other necessary documents include flight tickets, travel insurance, and visas. Aside from your travel docs, you also can’t forget your wallet where you can store cash, credit cards, debit cards, and other IDs. We recommend that you choose something small, easy to hide, and safe such as a thin wallet with RFID protection.
While it doesn’t hurt to look good while you’re traveling, bringing too many clothes will be a problem. But before you start planning your wardrobe, you need to consider several factors that will affect your choices – the duration of your trip, the destination, and your style.
Packing light means bringing the least amount of clothes possible. For your wardrobe, experts suggest that you pick clothes that you can easily mix and match such as tank tops, short-sleeved t-shirts, jeans, shorts, and a skirt. A scarf or a sarong is recommended in case you are planning on visiting a place where a modest dress is required. Add in a swimsuit, sweater or cardigan, underwear, a pair of pajamas, some socks, a thermal shirt (depending on the climate of your destination), a pair of flip-flops, a pair of running shoes or hiking shoes, and you’re ready to go.
Now, how do you pack your clothes? Some travel enthusiasts recommend packing cubes which are basically pouches that come in different sizes. This makes it easy for you to organize your clothes and you’re less likely to unpack everything just to find a pair of socks. Another way you can save space in your bag is to roll your clothes instead of folding them. This way, you’ll actually be able to pack in more clothes!
Personal Safety Gear
It can be dangerous to travel alone, especially for women. Unfortunately, pepper sprays aren’t accepted in some countries. To ensure your safety on the road, travel experts recommend that you bring a personal alarm or a safety whistle. Both will allow you to alert other people if you’re in need of help.
Basic toiletries can be found almost everywhere. So, unless you can’t live without your brand of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc., then you can choose just to buy them where you’re going. But for those who wish to bring these along, never fear. Just remember to get small, refillable travel bottles that you can use to keep your basics in stock.
The same can’t be said for feminine hygiene products, especially if you’re particular about what you use. We advise you to at least bring some with you if you expect to get your period during your travels. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a small pack of wipes. Trust us, it will be a huge help to you when using public restrooms.
First Aid Kit
Most people don’t go on vacation expecting the worst. But it’s always a good thing to be prepared, especially since you’ll be traveling solo. If you get sick or hurt and there’s no one around to help you, having your own first aid kit on hand can be a huge help. Below are some of the essentials that need to be in your kit:
- pain killers
- plasters and bandages
- disinfectant ointment
- anti-itch cream
- bug repellent
- meds for an upset stomach
It’s the 21st century. Obviously, you’ll need to bring your electronics. Below are some of the things you can never leave without:
- global plugin adapter
- portable battery or power bank
- chargers for all your electronic devices
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer going solo, you need to keep in mind that you can only carry so much on your travels. Packing for a trip can be challenging. Even more so when you can only bring a limited number of things. But it’s not only that. It’s not just the amount, but what you bring in your bag that you need to take note of. If you want to enjoy your solo trip to the fullest, you need to pack smart.
Anything you would like to add on how to pack light?
What tips and tricks do you find work best for you? Are there particular things you always do to lighten the load? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.