As backpackers or budget travelers, a common goal is packing as light as possible. Keeping our possessions to a minimum is a necessity when we’re limited to how much we can tote (on our bodies especially) or can afford to mail home.
It only takes a few conversations with fellow ladies on the road to know that most of us pack relatively similar items. What differentiates our packing lists the most, perhaps, are our luxury items – the one or two things that you could have left at home but knew it was worth creating space to bring.
Why bring a luxury item when space is so limited and precious?
- You’re unlikely to find the item on your travels.
- You want the comfort and familiarity the item provides.
- You know it’s important to treat yourself, especially if you’re not on a luxury trip budget.
You can survive with the bare necessities, and taking only what you truly need makes it easier to move across the globe. So whatever extra items you plan to pack, be sure they give you enough pleasure to be worth taking up extra weight and space in your luggage.
Luxury Items You May Want to Pack:
Former HPL team member, Heather, packed some “extras” to make herself feel comfortable and pampered while traveling around Australia. This is her list:
- Tempurpedic travel-sized pillow — I have back and neck problems and this always comes with me. It takes up some room, sure, but it’s never been a problem.
- An electric toothbrush – While it roughly takes up the same amount of space as a regular toothbrush, I also have to make room for the charger.
- A travel-sized hair dryer – I let my hair air dry while road tripping around Australia, but when I’m not camping, I prefer to avoid frizzy hair and dry it!
- Foot scrub – I packed a small bottle of lovely smelling, exfoliating foot scrub on my last trip. After hours of walking, it felt wonderful to give my feet some attention.
Items like a straightener, curling iron, and hair dryer usually get used less on the road making them dead weights in our luggage. Also, many hotels and even hostels have blow dryers for guests. But, if one of these makes you feel amazing and pampered, it might be worth making room for in your backpack.
If you’re outdoors and active on your travels, make-up and beauty items can pretty much remain at home. For that same reason, they also make a great luxury item for some. Extra make-up pieces (beyond your low-key beauty kit), scrubs and masks can make you look and feel amazing after a week in the jungle!
Shoes cause a lot of drama for women trying to pack light. Packing multiple pairs of shoes or a pair of heels might be the luxury item in your backpack.
After hours of walking, and sweating on public transport, adding some comfort to your budget accommodation is a godsend. Slipping into a pair of slippers and a light robe creates the perfect relaxing ensemble. A travel candle, or even a string of fairy lights, create a calming environment. And for the tired body, a bath bomb or the right essential oils soothes and refreshes.
Since most digital tasks can be completed with a compact and convenient smartphone, items like laptops and D-SLR cameras become more like luxury items. They take up a lot of extra space and weight, so definitely need to be justified by the joy you receive. The same goes for an additional tripod.
Comforts of Home:
Some sachets of tea or your favorite food (many Aussies pack a tube of vegemite!) can bring you all the comforts of home. Perhaps a pillow or a silk pillowcase to transform your hostel bed into a familiar abode. And of course, a stuffed animal to snuggle with.
The little things that can definitely make all the difference. Remember, whatever luxury items you pack, the benefit must outweigh the cost… the cost of carrying more stuff, the cost of more luggage (potential checked luggage fees), and the cost of worrying about the safety of said items.
What’s your favorite luxury item to take on the road? How have you made time to treat yourself well on a budget?
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