If there isn’t a more debated topic in the world of travel, please feel free to point it out.
There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to this.
- Bring everything you possibly can, and go right up to your luggage limit. This generally involves packing for 4 seasons, and bringing every little convenience you can get away with. Oh and don’t forget to pick the airline that has the largest limit.
- Pack as light as possible. Use carry-on every where ever you go, so you don’t lose anything.
Personally I’m more number 2, than I am number 1. That wasn’t always the case. My first forays into travel involved me packing everything up till the 23 kg limit every time I flew. Whether it be for a few days or a month. Waiting around for luggage once I landed, and losing things along the way.
That all changed when I started flying for work. When I flew for leisure it was very rarely, and having those inconveniences didn’t concern me so much. When I started flying all the time, bloody hell I started to hate it to the extreme. So I got better. The ability to wander into an airport, and catch my flight with out queues was the goal. Getting to the other end, and sauntering out of the airport with my carry-on straight in to a cab was pure bliss.
As Douglas Adams observed ‘It’s no coincidence that in no know language does the phrase “As pretty as an airport” appear’
I just see airports as the pain in the arse thing you need to get through to get where you really want to be.
My packing strategies consist of two separate modes:
All trips less than a week (around 7 kg)
I use carry-on luggage exclusively. I pack one good outfit (or suit if it’s for business), 2-3 sets of causal clothes (things I can layer if its cold) and throw a jacket in for the plane trip. Also I limit my camera gear to just a 50mm and a walkabout lens (18-200mm). I have a pre-packed toiletries bag which has mini sizes for everything, and fits in the outer pocket on my bag.
I can feel people re-coiling in horror at how little I take. It’s simple really, I wash regularly, and lets be honest I’m on holidays no one is going to notice I’m wearing the same things all the time.
Once you experience the pure joy of walking off the plane, and not waiting around for your bags, it is so worth it.
All trips over a week (limit to around 12-15 kg)
Depending on the type of travel I’m undertaking it’s either my backpack (internal frame no wheels) or a travel pack (still a back pack but it has wheels, but heavier and not as comfortable).
I generally use the strategy as above, but with more clothes, more camera gear, and full sized toiletries. Shorter trips normally less than 12 kg, longer trips close to 15 kg. I generally keep my camera gear in my carry on pack. Yes I have one of those back packs that zips on to my main pack.
Things I can’t do without
- Camera Gear
- Reading material. Generally it’s my Kindle. It can last for weeks (due to no back lighting), and can pack a crap load of reading material.
- First aid kit (including imodium, pain killers, make sure they are non codeine variety as they aren’t always legal, band aids, antiseptic etc)
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen (seriously I burn badly)
- Favourite rain jacket (cause umbrellas suck!)