Light travel

I read this article in the Guardian, and I sympathise with all those finding packing for a trip hard. I used to seriously overpack, and after a disastrous journey (my bag was so heavy the Samsonite handle broke) across Britain sometime around 2003, I decided to reform. I found lots of good advice on the internet, but it´s been slow learning (aren´t we all a bit neurotic about our stuff when we have to choose just eight kg of it - including the weight of the bag -  to sustain us for a fortnight?) and over the years I have relied on Onebag to support me whenever I feel confused about what to do.

On a walk through Rye.
I really like packing light. We sometimes stay in hotels where porters rush up to you the minute you step through the door, and I hate that. Having a small bag, particularly if it´s a school-sized backpack, pretty much insures you from such assaults. It also gets me out of the airport quickly (unless I have to wait for the husband´s checked bag) and I don´t have to worry about my luggage getting lost, which has happened to me twice. This year I used a rolling bag, and while it´s comfortable most of the time, they are a hassle if you want to do something more than just travel on transit days. We spent a few hours in Rye going from Isle of Wight to Dover, and those cobblestones banged up one of our bags pretty badly.

Every year, the gear (mini-computer, camera, etc + an assortment of chargers and cords) seems to take up more space, and I have to become more minimalist about my clothing. And then there´s the chance I might find something I want to buy. My best trick is to save all the worn out clothes during the year, wearing it one last time for as long as I can on the journey and then throw it away. This year I did away with three skirts that were more or less in tatters and had more than enough room for the one book and the two bottles of malt vinegar that I bought.

Another good trick is to invest in a vest with multiple pockets. I felt a bit like a packmule in transit, but it´s totally worth it. Also, we always (if we can, and we usually can) sit at the emergency exit due to the extra leg room (the husband is tall), and in those seats it´s not allowed to have luggage under the seat in front of you. Which is impractical if you rely on always having a handkerchief, chapstick, and a book at arm´s length. The vest solves this problem for me.

For next year, I really need another bag. I´m looking for a 30-40 L backpack that is light as air. I may have found it...


  1. on my daughter's recent trip to sweden the airline lost her luggage. they delivered it 2 days before the end of a 3-week trip. she says "never again!" and is determined to fit everything in a carry-on no matter how long the trip from now on. i'll pass your ideas on to her. thx :)

    1. Oh bummer! I hope she had insurance to cover whatever she had to buy for clothing and stuff. The Onebag.com-guy is genious. He is a goldmine for information.

  2. I find packing to be a part of the travel just as planning the trip itself is. For me the preparations is a big part that I really enjoy. Packing just what you need becomes a sport. (The number of times I have come back home not having used half of what I packed....) Recently after a year long trip, including camping gear which forced us to carry 3 check-in bags for 2 people, we said never again! Not being able to carry all the luggage myself makes me stressed. I am now looking forward to shorter, more light-packing holidays.

    1. Personally, I feel a bit of a failure if I come back home with things unworn. And carried for no good use.

      I imagine that you get a whole new relationship with your stuff after a few years living from a suitcase/backpack.