The longer I go the less I take. Twenty years ago when I went to South Africa I took all I would need for my six month stay. One piece of luggage weighed 70 pounds and the other was 30 pounds! Then I discovered they have tooth paste in South Africa!
When I came home from that trip I met a women who had a similar journey. She came by land from Japan to Boston and flew only when she had too. We shared stories of roughing it. But she did it with a backpack! When she needed a heavy coat or boots in Nepal she bought them. When was finished with them, she gave them away. All she carried her tooth brush and three days of clothes. Obviously she did laundry a lot.
I may not be able to pack three days for a six month journey, but I have learned a lot. One trip in France I actually allotted one morning for a laundry mat. Washing by hand may be nice but every so often a good cleaning and rinsing is needed. When traveling, less is definitely more!
Toiletries…Just because you use all that stuff at home does not mean you need it on the road. And some things can be used for several purposes. Face cream with SPF can also be sunscreen and hand cream. Hair shampoo can be body and clothes wash. Remember these days most hotels and cruise liners provide shampoo, soaps, and creams.
Clothes…Take your most comfortable clothes as you will wear them often. And not expensive clothes cause you may want to leave them behind! Do not take an umbrella or long rain coat. If it rains you get wet. Only wicked witches melt! I have a very light weight water resistant jacket with big pockets I take everywhere. It is great in so many situations. Never take a sweatshirt or bulky sweater; they take up lots of space in the luggage and are useless if they get wet. Buy some of the new warm and water repellant fabric items to layer.
Foot wear and Scarves… I hear women say but they need these shoes for this outfit and those for that. I do not care if you are going on a luxury cruise or hiking to Machu Piccu. No more than three pair of shoes even two will usually do. Shoes are awkward to pack and take up lots of space. Take lots of scarves, everyone will think you have great fashion. Some of you may know I where a hat every day. On one trip I took one hat but lots of scarves to wrap around the crown. Everyone thought I brought several hats. You can do the same with that one plain evening outfit. Lots of scarves! They take up no space and you can buy them along the way. Great memories!
What is great to take… Lots of various sized zip lock bags. Pack items in bags but make sure they can be closed. Keep your clothes neutral and easy to mix and match. If your traveling partner is a similar size mix and match together. A sarong is great for so many things: cover up, blanket, a hide behind to change, a shawl or head cover in houses of worship. Cotton bandanas are as good today as they were 100 years ago for so many uses. I carry cloth handkerchiefs instead. Simply wash and reuse.
Luggage and electronics… Good luggage is well worth the investment! Nothing is worse than having a zipper or wheel break along the way. You need to be able to carry your entire luggage yourself. That is the rule! Many pieces of luggage today fit together for easy transport. Leave those electronics at home. Find just one that will fit all you traveling needs.
And finally…Have a grand holiday!
P.S. The handiest item you can take is duct tape. It fixes everything and if you are in a questionable situation you can strap your valuables such as cash, credit cards and passport to the insides of your clothing or on your body. This may seem a little drastic but I hear the stories of robbery often. “Better to be safe than sorry!” More on this on another time…