WHAT WE BRING
VERY LITTLE! And I do mean that! You should only bring a daypack and what can be packed into it and still leave space for a purchase or two. When I tell women this is all will bring, some gasp! The concept of traveling with so little is as foreign as the countries we visit! But, there is a great reason for this. When we are traveling by local transport and walking to our hotel or we leave our hotel and the rest of the day we are traveling and visiting locations, our luggage is with us and not being kept on a tour bus.. If you want a pleasant day, keep your luggage as light as possible and on your back! When we get to a town or city where we check into a hotel early in the day or stay overnight, we can ditch the pack, but many times we will find it is going to be our mate for hours at a time. You don’t want to be dragging a wheeled suitcase along the pavement for a couple of miles or having your arm go numb trying to carry hand luggage from place to place.
So, how does one travel with just a daypack? The trick is to have a very minimal amount of clothing and “other stuff.”
Here is a list of recommended items:
- A pair of jeans, or hiking pants. Only ONE pair of pants.
- A pair of long shorts (thin ones like the guys wear for basketball; you can buy them in the men's section of Target or Wal-Mart). These are useful for times one CAN wear shorts and for covering a bathing suit and for wearing at one's lodging.
- A to-the-knee or longer thin skirt or long thin dress.
- A couple thin tops that work with your pants, shorts and skirt.
- Three pairs of panties and two bras. Two pairs of socks.
- Tennis shoes
- Bathing suit
- Hat (small, like a baseball cap)
- Thin thermals, really thin like Cuddl Duds. This can be used for sleepwear or for under your clothes when one is in high elevations.
- A thin, short nightgown if one can't sleep in shorts and a shirt.
- One sweater
- One emergency rain poncho (the ones that come in the little plastic packet).
- A small zipped pouch with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, razor, sunscreen, and a bit of toilet paper.
- A small zipped pouch for valuables and medicines.
- A Kindle (for hours on a bus or plane or at night; just one Kindle saves you from carrying about a lot of books and lasts for a ridiculous amount of hours). It is also lighter than most books.
- A small camera (extra battery) and transformer for that country. Or a camera with double A batteries; these can be bought anywhere.
That's it! I caution against bringing iPads and phones because they can be expensive losses (it is up to you, but we will visit the local Internet Café every day to check our emails and make phone calls via Skype), no books, no fancy outfits, no five changes of clothes.
You may wonder where you will put your souvenirs. Well, I suggest buy really small things along the way or nothing at all. If you want to purchase stuff, get it in the final two locations so you only have to carry it around for a day or you can buy stuff and dump it in your hotel room and just have to cart it to the airport. In some locations, you can buy things and have them mailed home.
I have traveled with too much luggage or a too-heavy backpack (like seventy pounds) and it has always made my life miserable. You will feel incredibly free with your light daypack and you won’t miss all the extra junk that half the time you never will need anyway.
Don’t worry about not having something. Even in the smallest towns, you can buy anything you need.