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!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’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)
- 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.
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.
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.