Pack light for a more enjoyable adventure

One of the issues that confounds travelers is what to pack. Vacations of seven days or more can be really challenging. Each time we view a garment or other item, we ask ourselves, should I take it? We worry whether the suitcase will meet the weight restriction at the airport.

I have written about packing, focusing mainly on items I found useful in my vacations. I still stand behind the suggestions, but notice that some suggestions are better suited to those staying in one place for a week or more. What if you’re seeing several destinations for just a day or two each? You need to pack lighter so you can be mobile.

pack light, tips for packing light, how to pack lightThis concept hit home while viewing an episode of Rick Steeves’ Europe TV show. The episode in particular, “European Travel Skills, Part 2,” aired recently on public television (though it first aired in December 2012). Steeves offers several useful tips during this episode, one of which pertains to packing. (Incidentally, the entire three-part series is very informative. Watch it if you can.)

Steeves, as you’ll know from watching the program, visits several sites during each episode. As such, he’s constantly on the go. During this segment he implores viewers to pack for mobile traveling.

“Learn now, or you’ll learn later,” he says, “the importance of being mobile with your luggage. Pack light.” Think your stuffed suitcase will serve you well during that trip? Steeves suggests lugging it around downtown for an hour of window shopping. If that’s uncomfortable, reconsider each item you have packed. Odds are some can be left home.

Steeves shows us what he packs for each trip to Europe. It’s the same, whether for two weeks or three months. His “luggage” is a duel-purpose backpack/wheeled-style piece. It holds what he needs, but fits in the overhead compartment of the aircraft or train.

For a typical trip, he packs:

– Outwear: light jacket and light sweater, though adjust for the season

– Pants: wears a pair of jeans and packs a pair of lightweight slacks

– Pair of shorts that doubles as a swimsuit

– Shirts: t-shirt, two or three short sleeve shirts, and a couple long sleeve shirts

– Socks and underwear. About a week’s worth.

– Toiletries bag and another for odds and ends

– Paperwork (notepad, map, travel guide, related stuff). “But don’t go heavy on this,” he says.

As for suntan lotion and other daily items, Steeves suggests buying locally. He says the prices in Europe are good. If you can’t find it there, you have to wonder: “Would 400 million Europeans be able to do without it?”

This was a very enlightening program. When I envision traveling anywhere for a week or more, but especially outside the country, it feels natural to load up a standard suitcase. Steeves’ advice about packing light really hit home. Keep in mind that he has been packing light for decades. That’s something to think about before your–and my–next vacation.

Have you found it worthy to pack light while traveling? What other tips do you have? Feel free to share your experience(s) below. And if you found value in this post, please share it with others. You may use any of the buttons below.
Tom Fuszard, cheap vacations, where to stay in Las Vegas


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Tom Fuszard
New Berlin, Wisconsin

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