Travelling soon? Get organised and travel light with my packing list below!
For my first trip overseas (and for a couple after…) I simply packed what I “needed”. I would end up with an almost full luggage weighing about 19kg and returned with an even heavier luggage. For someone petite, it definitely wasn’t a smart way to pack – staircases were an absolute nightmare and I often had to get my partner to help.
TIPS ON PACKING LIGHT
I have since learned how to pack light! I can now travel with just carry-on luggage and that is generally my preference, especially for longer trips. When packing nowadays, I consider questions such as…
- Will I definitely use this item? If I’m unsure and the item is relatively cheap to buy in-country, you won’t find it in my luggage.
- Do I really love this item of clothing? I’ve found that I generally only need to pack 1 or 2 items of a particular type. For example, I have a favourite sweater and I know for sure that I’ll choose this sweater to wear on any day of my trip over any other I’ve packed – so there’s just no point carrying an extra sweater.
- Can I pair this easily with others? Pack clothes that go well with other clothes you plan to bring. I generally stick to plain clothes (as opposed to those with patterns) and white, black, grey, navy, light blue, and tan pieces – I find muted tones are best.
- How often will I be doing laundry? If my trip is just for a week or two, it’s unlikely I’ll be doing any laundry so I would bring enough clothes and underwear to last me for that period. If I’m going for longer, then I know I will have to do my laundry at some point and I would bring enough for just one week.
- Is this item going to take up a lot of space? If it’s a yes and I can live without it… it won’t be in my bag.
BUYING TRAVEL ITEMS
Try not to buy anything new for your trip unless it’s absolutely necessary (I know… it’s hard!!). Consider borrowing items from friends or family. I generally borrow things from my sister who is, lucky for me, a bit of a traveller and shopper! In the past, I’ve borrowed her packing cubes, luggage, daypack, padlocks, collapsible water bottle, travel pillow, travel adapter, and even her kindle…
I’d say other than my North Face Rain Jacket, I don’t have any specialised travel clothes. I would avoid buying clothes that are going to be worn only while travelling as it’s kind of a waste of money – that is unless you travel often. Uniqlo is my favourite when it comes to buying lightweight and easy-to-pack clothes that are suitable for both travel and home.
Remember, unless you’re travelling to extremely remote places, most things can be purchased in-country. It’s awesome travelling light… you may end up having to buy a few things but I find that way better than overpacking and travelling with a large heavy luggage. You’ll also save money if travelling by plane as you won’t have to pay for checked baggage – which can really add to the price of flights!
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A list of some of my favourites!
- The North Face Women’s Venture Rain Jacket – I bought this rain jacket for my trip to the Canadian Rockies and I wore it almost every day! It’s waterproof and has underarm zip vents for those sweaty times. I have it in XS and it fits very well. I wouldn’t wear it in extremely cold conditions as it won’t keep me warm, at all. If you plan to wear layers underneath, just keep in mind that it’s quite fitted and might get a little tight and uncomfortable if you have more than 2 layers, especially around the underarm area. Consider buying one size up if you plan to wear multiple layers.
- Sony Alpha a5000 (with 16-55mm kit lens) – This was my first ever mirrorless digital camera. I’ve had it for over 3 years! I take it with me on every trip. I love that it’s small, relatively light (compared to others of similar specs), simple to use and has wifi connectivity. The screen flips up 180 degrees so it’s great for taking selfies too! All my photos on this blog, except for a few wide angle shots (taken with my GoPro), were taken with this camera. If you’re interested in the quality of its video footage, check out my Seoul or Busan video.
- Sony 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens – If you’re going to buy the Sony Alpha a5000, I highly recommend getting this 35mm lens. It is a bit of a splurge but definitely worth it! I used only the kit lens for about a year and a half before adding this to my collection. It’s best to be familiar with any camera you have first before purchasing additional lens or accessories. Many of the photos I took in Europe were taken with the 35mm – you can take some really nice close-up shots (good for food and portraits, check out >> coffee!) This lens basically lives in my daypack when I travel. It is a little heavy…
- GoPro HERO4 Silver – I got this GoPro as a birthday gift from my partner but I would’ve definitely bought it myself if I hadn’t! The GoPro is the only other camera I have with me on my trips. It’s so small, barely takes up any space in my luggage, and with its waterproof casing, you can record underwater! While you can take photos with the GoPro (check out >> Eiffel tower), I mainly use it to record videos. Many of my short travel videos feature GoPro footage – see my Japan video.
- Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – If you love reading, the Kindle is a must-have! I prefer reading paper books but hey, packing light is priority! I had the Kindle (without light) for a couple years before finally switching to the Kindle Paperwhite. If you can afford it, just go for the Paperwhite as the adjustable light is really useful.
- JOBY GorillaPod – This tripod is awesome!! It took me a while to find a suitable tripod and I’m glad I settled on this one! I love that it doesn’t take up much space in my daypack and I can wrap its flexible legs around almost anything! I don’t think it’s a must-have but it’s definitely useful for solo travellers that want to have at least a couple photos of themselves on the trip without having to annoy a stranger.
- Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack – I did a lot of research before settling on this 40L backpack. It was really hard to find this bag online or in-store (in South Korea, where I was living at the time) for cheap so I actually bought the Lowe Alpine AirZone Trek + ND 33:40 backpack for my travels instead. However, I found the Lowe Alpine too small to be the only bag I take with me on my travels so when I finally found the Osprey on sale (at half price!), I knew it was meant to be! I’ve since travelled with my Osprey to Europe and Canada. I really like travelling with my Osprey – it’s a good size, opens wide (like a luggage case), has several adjustable straps (including ones at the shoulders), a laptop section and several compartments for better organisation so you don’t have to go digging to find your stuff! In terms of comfort, I prefer my Lowe Alpine as it has the ventilated AirZone back system and a thicker hipbelt (but then again, we’re comparing a hiking backpack to a travel pack). Regardless of what backpack you’re considering, you should try it on first to ensure it’s a good fit for your torso and comfortable. Also, with hiking backpacks, there is a difference between women’s and men’s.
8. Lonely Planet Travel Guide – Lonely Planet Travel Guides are the best!! I’ve used other travel guides but I don’t find the content anywhere near as structured, detailed or practical. With Lonely Planet guides, you usually get a good intro on the country, a survival guide, a few itineraries, a summary of top experiences, and essential information on attractions/activities such as opening hours, costs, ‘how to get there and away’. I never purely rely on these guides when I travel but they provide an excellent starting point for research. I really love how the online store gives you the option to buy just the eBook version, which is cheaper than getting the hard copy. Also, you don’t even have to buy the whole eBook! If say, you’re just travelling to Bangkok and won’t be exploring other parts of Thailand, you can buy just the part that covers Bangkok or the region which covers Bangkok, and for as little as A$3.34 (with their regular 33% off flash sales). If you’re located in Australia and wish to purchase a hard copy, it’s best to buy directly from their online store as it’s free shipping and you can get 10.5% cashback through Cashrewards!
Below is a checklist I created to help make the packing process less stressful! It is more of a checklist for women but if you’re a guy, I’m sure it won’t be hard for you to know what to leave out and you may want to add things like a shaver or beard trimmer?
I hope you found this post helpful.
Happy slow travels!!
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