How to: Travel light

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OK, here’s a confession – I do not travel light. As a veteran traveller, my packing style is definitely more geared towards being prepared for any contingency, which means I often come back with plenty of unused items in my case, but that’s just how it goes. As someone who managed to go ‘backpacking’ through Europe with a full-on stroller, I may not have mastered the art of packing light (but I am the sort of person who fellow travellers always turn to, should they need some emergency meds or spare shampoo!), but my friend, fellow wanderlust-er, and glam TV journalist Anjilee Istwal certainly has. (If you had any doubts about her packing skills, let’s say the only reason she was forced to check in one piece of baggage for a three-week trip across Europe and Latin America, was her regular-sized toiletries; otherwise, she’d have managed it with a carry-on!).

So I figured, who better than her to get some smart packing tips for travelling light? Here’s what she had to say:

  • “The first step is – change your attitude. Many of us talk about wanting to travel light but very few actually have that intention!
  • Eliminate things that are not essential, you don’t need to carry everything. Sometimes if you want to avoid checking in your baggage, you can buy basics like toothpaste, shampoo, and  deodorants  at the destination. This really works for cities –  just head to a local store and stock up on what you need. Usually global brands like Dove, Palmolive, and Sunsilk all are available (and your hair can live without your ‘natural protein enriched organic herbs-infused shampoo’ for a wash or two)!
  • Carry only two pairs of shoes – one set of comfy walking shoes and one set of elegant flats that can go from day to night. As a tourist, you’d rarely need go to places where Jimmy Choos are a must!
  • Learn to layer – instead of carrying multiple bulky sweaters and jackets for cold destinations, wear lots of layers and keep warm. Usually just one jacket is sufficient if you layer the rest.
  • Decide your outfit for each day before you pack. This way, you’re eliminating any extras.
  • Stick to one or two bottoms – my rule is: one jeans, one or two shorts – and various tops, so you still have a different look each day, without carrying lots of jeans and trousers, which bulk up your bags. On that note, I don’t carry too many dresses either – they’re not a great choice, and can sometimes be contrary to the culture too.”

While this literally reads like an antithesis of my packing mantras – my tips on how to efficiently pack to be prepared for anything, up soon 😉 – there’s some sage advice in there. Here’s hoping it helps shave off a couple of kilos of your next trip, or even help you avoid checking in bags completely (think about all the time you’ll save at the airport)!

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