During 2017 and 2018 I did a substantial amount of solo overseas travel and learned the value of travelling light.
What I take for 4 months overseas, including summer and winter climates
Having various items of clothing that work together need not be boring. I stuck with blues and greens and flexible pieces that could be worn in hot climates but could be layered for colder weather. I try to choose fabrics that don’t crease too much and wash and dry easily.
I don’t pretend to be a perfect packer. Sometimes I roll my clothes, sometimes I layer them flat, sometimes I stuff them in – all ways it fits.
- 1 black and white below the knee, short sleeved dress
- 1 blue/green coloured tunic, short sleeved
- 1 sleeveless, patterned floaty tunic (top/nightdress/over undies for swimming)
- 1 jeans
- 1 smart black trousers
- 1 knee length pencil skirt
- 1 pair shorts
- 1 long sleeved grey fine merino T shirt
- 1 colourful floaty top
- 1 white patterned shirt
- 1 pink/green patterned organic cotton
(I like my tops to be longer length with 3/4 length sleeves: discrete and protects my arms from sun so no sunscreen needed)
- 1 green cotton
- 1 blue, longer length – merino
Lightweight blue wind/waterproof (not pictured)
- Black short boots with good tread
- Flat green sandals
- Red comfy, lightweight closed in shoes
Miscellaneous (in red stuff sac)
- 5 panties
- 2 bras
- 2 pairs warm opaque black stockings
- 1 pair compression stockings – worn on all flights
- 2 pairs stocking socks
- 1 white vest
- 1 pashmina
- 1 colourful scarf
- 1 pair fine merino fingerless gloves
- 1 pen
- 1 Tiny notepad
- 1 paperback book for reading (once finished I leave it where I am and pick up another)
- 2 lightweight ‘eco’ bags
Toiletries (in very small bag – no liquids making airport security easy)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 small toothpaste
- 1 lipstick
- 1 small solid deodorant
- 1 handkerchief
- 1 foil paracetamol
- 1 foil ibuprofen
- 1 foil antihistamine
- 6 medicated plasters
- 12 imodium tablets
- 1 insect repellant bracelet
NO soap, shampoo or washing powder – I’ve found it available pretty much everywhere I’ve been and, if not, plain water suffices.
NO sunscreen – I cover up if needed – pashmina for my head, neck and face – 3/4 sleeves for my arms.
Camera/ electronic gear (bits kept together in a stuff sac)
- Universal adapter (surge protector)
- Phone and charger
- Laptop and charger
- 3 camera batteries and charger
- 1 DSLR camera body
- 1 lens 24 – 70 mm
- 1 2T external backup drive
- Several SD cards
- 1 soft lens cleaning cloth
I fit my camera in my rucksack styled handbag so it is not obvious I’m carrying expensive gear.
Motivation For Travelling Light
Personal safety: to keep tabs on all my gear at critical times e.g. when moving from A – B and to ensure I did not have to rely on strangers helping me with my gear. (It is at these vulnerable times when I suspect thieves take their chances).
- Simple system that keeps me organised – especially useful when tired and/or disoriented in a foreign place
- Ease of keeping gear together and, because I had so little, I immediately KNOW when something is missing
- Saves time unpacking/packing/deciding what to wear
- No hanging around at airport carousels waiting for luggage
- Ability to squash into smaller vehicles i.e. transport flexibility
Most of my “what ifs” were based on fear. Once I realised I couldn’t possibly mitigate for every kind of ‘emergency’, it was easy to “let go”. I travelled on the premise that, should a problem arise, I would have to purchase what was needed or come up with a creative solution. Or rely on the kindness of strangers.
Laundry on the Go
I use my accomodation shampoo/soap and dry the clothing over-night in-front of fan/air-conditioner/open window.