We know this to be true. Happiness in traveling is directly related to how little we put into our suitcases. But, hey, on our round-the-world trip, we faced some real challenges: a long period of time (a 14 month trip), different climates (ranging from hot Southeast Asia to cold New Zealand), and varied activities (hiking, snorkeling, walking safari, hanging out in cities).
We each planned to take a wheeled carryon-sized suitcase and a shoulder bag. We’re just not willing to lug around backpacks, like we used to do.
Long before our trip, we put together a master packing list and continued to tweak it over time. A week before departure, we did a trial run of packing our bags – only to discover they were too full. We reluctantly eliminated a few items, so at least the bags could be zipped shut, but, through our entire trip, our bags remained at a level of being precariously near the too full point, as if one more item could prevent their closure.
We resolve to do better. We know a few items to be pulled. We also know that if we get something new to add to the suitcase, then something else needs to be subtracted from it. A few items in our bags rank as star performers. In two years of travel and suitcase living, the following were underestimated when originally packed but turned out to be indispensable:
Black cashmere cardigan sweater. Who knew Beth would wear this almost every day of the trip? It even doubled as a bed jacket. Thanks, Lands End!
Silk long underpants. We packed only lightweight pants. Every time it got cool or windy – Beth layered with the long underwear and was happy. They’re very light and took almost no room in the suitcase.
Travel vest. iPhone, notepad, pen, sunglasses, wallet, tissues, business cards, earbuds, sunscreen, and keys didn’t begin to fill the pockets.
Voltage Valet. Most of the places we stayed had few or inaccessible electric outlets. With this handy little power strip – we had 3 outlets and a USB port for charging our 2 MacBook Airs, iPad, IPhone, Sony camera, and a Kindle.
HONORABLE MENTION from both of us
Packing Systems and little mesh bags. Day after day, month-after-month, we have lived out of our suitcases and organizers keep things – well – organized.
After two years of perpetual travel, we’ve learned to be happy by traveling light, staying organized, and carrying along our star performers.