Friday, March 21, 2008

Simplify Your Travel

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is getting ready to go to Thailand and has discovered the joys of keeping travel as simple:

A few days ago, I asked the readers of this blog for tips for keeping travel as simple as possible. The result was an amazing outpouring of useful information, in the comments and via email!

I’ve compiled some of the best tips, combining some of them or choosing tips that were representative of a lot of comments. There are dozens more, so if you’re looking for the full list, see the comments in the original post.

I’m definitely going to be following some of the tips. Although there are a lot of great suggestions about useful items, my biggest aim is to pack as lightly as possible and to keep my itinerary loose and light. Here’s my packing list for my small backpack right now:

  • Travel docs (passport, credit card, ID)
  • deodorant
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 T-shirts
  • 2 pairs underwear
  • swim trunks
  • 1 book
  • journal and pen
  • camera, charger

Anything else I need, I’ll buy in Thailand.

Read the whole thing. I'm a big fan of traveling light and agree with most of what Leo wrote. (Although I'd recommend a minimum of 3 pairs of undies.)

I especially like what Leo wrote about not overplanning. One of the best trips of my life was a two-week solo trip I took to New Zealand and Australia as a graduation gift to myself when I finished my master’s degree. The only thing I planned before I left was making a one night reservation at a hostel in Auckland and two nights at a hostel in Sydney. Everything else I made up as a I went along. I found out a lot after landing in each country from talking to people and never could have discovered so many neat things to do just from reading guidebooks in the US.

IMG_4675 IMG_8901

My dad and I also took a 30-day trip across the US a couple years ago following a similar plan. Each morning we’d wake up and decide where we would go for the day and what we wanted to do. We covered 11,000 miles, 28 states, and a ton of National Parks across the country — far more than we would have ever hoped to had we planned our route out before we left.

A combination of spontaneity, flexibility, and a positive attitude are some of a travelers best friends.

Here is a list of life lessons I learned on the road and some of my own tips for traveling light.

Read more of my thoughts on travel.

Also, some tips from other lightweight travelers here and here.

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