When travelling over the world, despite staying in different countries for several weeks each time, the best piece of advice I can offer as an experienced traveller is to travel light – only carrying the essentials!
Since becoming a seasoned traveller, many years ago, I realised just how much junk I had accumulated in my life; stuff which was neither of relevance nor served any purpose other than to just sit there and collect dust. Books, ornaments, Knick knacks and clothes – you name it, my apartment was full to the brim with it. Obviously, none of it could come with me, so I had some tough decisions to make.
I went from rooms full of stuff to one solid and trustworthy backpack. You could now say that I carry the entire contents of my life on my back! So, if you’re wondering how I manage to achieve this, I’ll let you in on my secret.
Use This Experience to Let Go of Things That Don’t Matter
Be brutal – this is my first and foremost piece of advice if you want to travel. If you really can’t bear to part with some things, book a storage locker and fill it immediately. Don’t waste valuable time searching through it, just do it. The stuff will always be there when you come back. However, if like me, you really can’t justify paying a monthly fee for someone to hold your stuff, and you would rather use that bulk of money to travel, living in the here and now, then read on…
We often don’t realise just how much rubbish we accumulate in our life until we start to pack for our travels! Yet, if you are going to be on the road for a while, you simply can’t take all this stuff with you. I tackled the huge amount of stuff I had amassed by selling almost everything that I could, donating or throwing things out that I couldn’t sell, and then handing over personal memorabilia to family and friends.
There was no pile for storage – and that was the deal breaker, because if I was going to do this travel thing for real, I had to convince my brain that we were not coming home, and the only way to do this was to get rid of any excess stuff. What I did end up with was a wad of cash for stuff that I had completely forgotten I owned. In turn, this extra cash was the spur I needed as it all went towards my travelling plans!
Be Practical – Take Only the Essentials and Compact Everything
When planning to travel anywhere, think small. Though this may seem a difficult concept to begin with, once you have travelled a couple of times, you’ll soon find yourself a pro, and relish in the act of minimising your stuff each time. Think ahead as to what you really need when you travel. I bought the biggest backpack, with a multitude of various pockets, that I could find and use with practicality – and then I worked from this.
- Keep your packing light with lightweight and essential clothing. Remember that washing facilities, of some kind, exist everywhere you travel. You do not need to take endless amounts of clothes. Try to combine a whole outfit to wear and one more to take. Do the same with shoes. And take the time to do your research to ensure you pick quality swimwear.
- Use travel sized accessories. Small bottles that are multifunctional and all in one such as shower gel/shampoo/conditioner combinations, as well as toothpaste/mouthwash combinations, are thoroughly practical. Take a small comb instead of a large hairbrush and consider a compact toothbrush.
- A small tablet will hold thousands of books whilst allowing you to access the internet when travelling. They can also house your various cards and cash in their case.
Keep Your memories in the cloud
When travelling, it is easy to collect numerous photos on your devices, especially when using them for your blog or website. However, this is easily solved by storing all your photos in the cloud. By taking advantage of this, you can regularly free up space on your devices as you travel. The cloud is also great for keeping copies of private and important documents, meaning you don’t have to carry around files with you! With so many things done through email and online these days, it is completely practical to go paper free as much as possible, whilst travelling, by utilising all cloud storage options.
What I have learnt from years of travelling is how much we tend to rely on objects and things to determine who we are and how we value ourselves. When you travel, you strip all this back, getting back to basics and, as a result, you have never felt so free. I realise how much emphasis I once placed on things, rather than life and the people I loved. At the end of the day, travelling forces you to revaluate the way you look and live your life – and shows you that you don’t need a huge amount of stuff to travel the world…