I remember one of the best tips I got while moving out of my university house in Madison, Wisconsin; I was done studying and felt so excited to jump into my adventures in Spain. I lived with my four best friends and we were now all off on our own. Because we were done with our college years, we began moving all of our stuff out of the house. Thinking about how many things we had makes me cringe – so I will never forget the piece of advice my best friend’s mother (who had been a world traveler in her twenties) gave to me. As I was pressing my hands up against my cheeks worrying about what to leave in the states and what to take overseas, she told me, “less is more!”
Photo Courtesy of Christina Jones
“Trust me,” I remember her saying, “you don’t need much and it’s going to save you a lot of struggle; travel light!” but I did not listen – being the naive and stubborn self I was four years ago. I only learned the importance of listening to the experienced when I journeyed to Toledo, Spain, hauling an 85 pound suitcase to the airport. I had to (embarrassingly in front of the check in desk, while people waited patiently behind me) take out 35 of those pounds and place them into big plastic bags because I was severely over the weight limit. I now laugh at myself whenever I think back to that moment. I would often take small trips and not touch 50% of the items I had stuffed in a suitcase. So for all you amateur travelers out there, keep in mind that less is definitely more when it comes to the items you bring – whether you’re residing somewhere far from home or taking a week to explore another country. You’re on an exploration and the last thing you’ll want to worry about is what you have to haul around. Here’s how to travel light:
1. Organize your thoughts a bit before you pack for your trips. Make sure to give yourself time to think about what you want to bring; take into consideration the weather, the places you’ll go, and the events you will take part in. A good tip for a week trip is to take a wardrobe that’s in the same color family. That way you only have to bring one pair of shoes! Score!
2. For a move overseas, think about the clothes you actually wear. Do yourself a favor and leave the stuff that you bring just because you think that you might utilize it one day. No sequined top and hot pink wig. I think it’s better if we just call it quits for now, I’ll be back for you though.
3. Think essentials! Sometimes, you’ll make purchases just because you are in another country or because you see something unique that will remind you of your trip; you can quickly accumulate possessions this way, so bringing less to begin with will leave extra room for the new must haves.
All in all, when you travel with the essentials only, you know exactly what you have to keep track of. Anything can happen – things come up totally unplanned and you have to be ready for the spontaneous. Having less items is going to be easier for you physically and mentally. Even if you don’t take my advice, I assure you that you will realize how unimportant the extra things are further down the road – importance, after all, actually lies in the experiences.