As a backpacker, I try to be as “adventure ready” as possible… but it’s a very fine line between being ready no matter what and packing too much… In order to help drawing this very fine line, here are a few tips to help you pack efficiently! Feel free to contribute your tips in the comments!
10) Full-Size DSLR Camera
I LOVE taking pictures. But I HATE filling half my carry-on or my day pack with a camera and lenses…
With the latest models of cell phones, you can take pictures that are almost as good as full size DSLR. So unless you really NEED to take pro photos, just don’t bother. Invest in a memory card if you’re afraid of running out of space and your phone allows to use extra memory, and sync regularly with some cloud-type with regular wi-fi backups, for example.
9) Too Much Fancy Jewelry
We already draw enough attention, let’s not make it worse by packing & wearing serious bling! Why taking the risk anyway? From thieves to accidents or loss, it’s generally not worth it. Why don’t you buy some when you‘re there instead? Local jewelry will appear way less interesting for people to steal, and they make great souvenirs!
8) Vacuum Bag
I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to use these storage bags in a suitcase or backpack, yet I’ve read that tip MANY times! Not only does these bags rapidly increase the weight of your luggage, but once the air is out, these bags take a silly shape that is definitely not packing efficient. As plus-size travelers, it’s often necessary to squish our clothes in order to save as much space as possible; if you need to do so, why don’t you opt for packing folders instead…
7) Laundry Soap (Liquid)
When you travel with liquids, you always incur the risk of a leak. When you travel with liquids and just a carry-on luggage, you have to limit yourself not to bust your liquid allowance on board. So rather than risking a mess or busting your allowance, just bring a good old bar of laundry soap that you will find in every pharmacy at home. #ProblemSolved
6) Fancy Hat
Bring the most flexible, comfy, squishable hat. You’re not a movie star. Not only will that oversized Hollywood hat will take a lot of room, but you probably won’t use it that often and might ruin it if you don’t pack it well. #TooMuchTrouble A military-style, boonie hat will do just fine.
5) Linen Clothes
No matter what EVERYONE says, linen is overrated! Oh sure, its natural fibers are very comfortable. But linen wrinkles so easily and takes FO-RE-VER to dry. And that’s not a “backpacker friendly” feature in my book.
4) A Too Big First Aid Kit
Focus on small quantities of items that will allow you to make it to the next pharmacy. A band-aid is a band-aid, wherever you are! Don’t cheap on life-saving items (ex. Epi-Pen), but go easy on other items that can easily be found or replenished (ex. band-aids, tape, certain common medication, etc.) (Tip : Find out why Tiger Balm is a must-have in your kit…!)
3) Too Many Shoes
You will lose precious space and chances are, you won’t need all of them. Good shoes last a long time; if yours are too old, maybe you should consider bringing better ones…?
2) Full Size Toiletries (Especially Liquid)
Either chose the travel size, or if you really need YOUR brand (and it doesn’t exist in small format), use these tiny reusable bottles and jars. Nowadays, you can find shaving foam, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, even SUNSCREEN in solid shape !
1) Regular Books and Travel Guides in Book/Paper Version
Travel guides in paper format are so bulky and heavy. If you are to pack a tablet (even a smartphone will do!), opt for the e-book version of it! In the same place and for the same weight (i.e. your phone/tablet), you can have numerous guides, always in your pocket! (Also, if you have SO MUCH time to read other stuff than a travel guide during your vacation, maybe you’re missing out on something? If you really read THAT MUCH during bus/plane/train journeys, then maybe you can just fill your tablet/an e-reader…)