What to pack on a long trip – Do you really need all that crap?

We’re all guilty of this, I especially; I try to pack my bags as light as possible and still end up with 12kgs to lug around and I wonder to myself: What am I a mule?

What to pack on a long trip… Do you really need everything that you pack in your luggage? You think to yourself, ‘I’m only packing my essentials’ but my friend, do you need all those dresses? Or shoes perhaps? Nah probably not.

Here are a few bits of advice on packing for a trip:

What to pack on a long trip

I don’t like carrying around luggage in all honesty, traveling lightweight is an art and an underappreciated practice. I like to move around freely, so instead of pulling around a blocky suitcase I generally sling a duffelbag across my shoulders.

But my problem is that if I did literally sling that bag across my shoulders the weight of it will probably cause me to slam myself into the ground.

I have a bad habit of overpacking, thinking all the crap I’m bringing I’m actually gonna need. But here’s the reality, hardly any of it’s needed; either for short or long trips.

A long journey usually makes people think that they need to pack more to be able to last the duration, have fresh clothes each day and not have to worry about their shampoo or toothpaste running out.

I’ve recently spent three months abroad and have to admit, more than half the things I bought with me, I didn’t even touch.

So… What do you pack on a long trip?


 

Absolutely nothing… Well almost

I like to call this ‘Procuring on the enemy’, a phrase I’ve learnt while playing ‘Metal Gear Solid’, now the enemy part isn’t necessary of course but the principle is to bring as little as you can, and just buy/ find the rest when you need it while you’re away, hence procuring. Wow, didn’t think of that did ya?

If you’re going to try and prepare for every possible situation that may happen, you’ll just end up playing mule and you’ll have all the extra pounds you don’t need dragging you down.

You want to bring as little as possible, but how do you do that? Bring one of each essential item with you, that’s it, and then You buy whatever else you need over there..

I like to reserve a set budget for things that I may need to buy while I’m away, and use that money only when I deem it absolutely necesssary, such as sunscreen or if I’m ever in need of a gadget that might come in handy on my travels.

Also, try to borrow items instead of buying them, especially if you think you’ll never need it again once you’re done with it. It helps eliminate costs and keep you from being overencumbered.


Essentials

Essentials are items you know you cannot travel without, these are passports, credit/ debit cards, moneh. Always have the essentials with you and keep them in a place you know you cannot lose them or have them stolen.

Photocopy any important documents such as itinenaries, passport, IDs, health insurance papers etc. Email these documents to yourself and trusted members of the family.

I like to store these documents in a pouch that I carry close with me when I’m traveling and keep them in the hotel room while I’m at my destination, with the exception of money and payment cards that I obviously need to take to make purchases.


Emergency Items

Hi, welcome back to my channel… Where safety is number one priority. Now, what do you consider emergency items? Some cash? An umbrella in case it rains? Emergencies are serious situations where immediate action is required,normally when you cannot resort to other methods so you’ve got to be prepared.

If you’re traveling for a long time, you’re going to want to pack any medication or reserve money to last the duration of the journey, the medication especially if you’re on a perscription and think you may not be able to find any out there, it’s also good to do the research on that, in case you are able to purchase it while away.

Some safety items you may want to bring, I call this the survival kit and can be packed in a small container or ziploc bag, These things don’t usually weigh a lot and don’t take up much space in your luggage so they’re good to take in case anything happens.

  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • A flint and steel in case you need to start a fire
  • Waterproof matches, can be made waterproof by dipping the head in candle fat
  • A compass, always useful for navigation
  • Water-sterilising tablets for when you cannot boil water
  • Plasters and butterfly sutures

What to pack

So here is what I would normally pack on a long journey, remember the things that you may not need now can be bought later. And anything that you may need, check to see it you can borrow it instead of having to buy it.

I like to travel with a bag instead of a suitcase, a duffelbag to be percise but if a suitcase is needed, keep it as minimalistic as possible. I don’t really like the blockiness and shape of the suitcase but I can easily carry and squeeze a duffelbag around and can be made to fit anywhere. It’s also handsfree as I can hang it off my shoulders or back.

These will be the things I pack in my main bag; A dufflebag or small suitcase:

Clothing-

  • 2x Pairs of underwear
  • 2x Nylon tank tops
  • 2x Pairs of socks
  • 1x Lightweight jacket (gets cold anywhere)
  • 1x T-shirt
  • 1x Jumper
  • 1x Trousers, any kind depending on where you’re headed
  • 2x Shorts

Essentials

  • 1x Ziploc bag or container containing basic toiletries including a small towel (Can be packed with the rest)
  • 1x Ziploc bag or container containing medical supplies
  • 1x Small container containing emergency supplies (Survival kit read above)
  • 1x Small survival guide book

And these are the things I’d pack in a small pouch or fanny pack that I keep with me on my travels but I leave these in my room when I’m out and about

  • Passport
  • ID cards
  • Itineraries
  • Extra Money
  • Keys

I want to advise against going out with this pouch even if you leave your passport and such at home.

I made the mistake once of leaving my phone, passport and wallet in this pouch and took it with me; someone managed to steal that pouch along with my phone and money. Thankfully I found that pouch with my passport and wallet still inside but I was lucky. You lose that bag and you’ll lose everything that came with it.

So I normally carry all these things in my pocket, my phone, wallet and keep my passport at the hotel. But always beware of pickpockets.

What about gadgets?

Erm yea sure. If you’re thinking a camera or a drone and you can pack it in your bag then go for it. I’d do the same of course and I would class these items as essential. But gadgets such as a selfie stick that you can easily find can be left behind and bought once you’re there. Simple…

In conclusion

You gotta ask yourself once you pack your bags: do you truly need all of the things you intend to bring? You probably don’t and it’s best to leave some of the things you don’t need behind.

It’s changed my life and as I said before, traveling light is an underappreciated practice. People tend to overthink and will argue that they really do need to bring all of their makeup or best clothes.

Erm no. No you do not. If you can simply buy or borrow it over there then you really don’t need to overburden yourself and make your trip a hassle hell, you have no idea how much of a blessing it is to walk freely without anything dragging you down. In an ideal world, I’d have someone carry all of my stuff for me.

But what you think is light will turn into a nightmare the longer you carry it, so do yourself a favour and travel as light as you possibly can. And continue to enjoy your travels. Remember, trip enjoyment is inversely proportionate to the amount of crap you take with you…

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