The Tipping Point: The Moment That Inspired You to Pack Light

tipping point to packing light

Let’s face it… Packing light is NOT easy. At least not at first.

So if you don’t have to change your packing style, you’re probably not going to put the extra thought and energy into the process.

Not until something big happens.

Up until then, the extra struggle here and there won’t register. The needing an extra hand to get a suitcase out of a taxi’s trunk won’t make you think twice. The needing to find an elevator to get up a flight of stairs will be a standard part of travel. And then…

And then there’s that moment I call the tipping point. It’s a moment of so much stress and/or expense that it makes you want to change it all- to go from over-packer to an extreme minimalist. It’s also the moment that makes you realize the extent of those “normal luggage dramas” leading up to that point.

  • For Julie, that moment came when the cost of an extra suitcase was calculated by weight (not by item) for a whopping extra cost of $450 CAD!
  • For Jennifer, carrying around a heavy backpack for months caused her to develop sciatica- a very painful lesson in packing light.
  • For Laura, barely being able to lift her 80L backpack while traveling Australia convinced her to buy a 40L backpack for any future trip.
  • For me, arriving at my destination without my checked bag finding me for another couple days was the tipping point to going carry-on only, no matter the restriction.

For most people, making the change in packing style only happens after having a terrible luggage experience (aka the tipping point). But my goal with Her Packing List is to help you to not ever reach that moment of extreme luggage stress or expense. That’s why we share these stories on HPL and all the tips for packing smaller and lighter.

Here are some of the moments that inspired other Her Packing List readers to pack light:

inspiration for packing light

My bag didn’t make the trip

Priya P.

It’s when my bag didn’t make the trip with me and decided to stay back and still not want to join me two days later. The airlines weren’t even apologetic. Having to carry a change of clothes in a grocery bag to my friend’s place was my tipping point. Been a backpacker since. One pair of sneakers, low maintenance clothes and the right amount of toiletries. That’s it. And my camera. Never leave home without it.

I do believe I have aced backpacking now. The envy of my girlfriends who can’t do with one pair of shoes. LOL!

I had too many shoes

Barbara M.

My tipping point was when I, and my sister, took a trip together to Ireland. We used mass transit, walked, and were rained on every day. I thought a wheeled suitcase was enough–but pulling a heavy suitcase in the rain, over cobblestones, and then hauling same suitcase up or down flights of stairs–I realized my 26″ suitcase was too much. Some of our clothes never dried! I had too many shoes.

Now, everything can be washed in the bathroom overnight: no jeans, no heavy cotton sweaters, no heavy suitcase. My sister and I compete for packing ideas.

I use a carry on now and love to keep cutting the weight.

We might as well have taken the kitchen sink

Kelly D.

I definitely had a tipping point. In 2012, my family vacationed in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We took three huge suitcases (two of which could easily have been packed to over 50 pounds), a carry on sized bag, and four backpacks. We paid way too much to check luggage and struggled to get it all in and out of our rooms. And then, one of the case’s rolling wheels broke, so we had to carry that one for the second half of the trip.

We rented a mid-sized SUV and could barely fit our stuff in the back. Not fun. We also ended up using about 1/3 of what we brought. After that trip, I realized that I had become the classic “what if” type of packer: What if it rains? What if we lose a suitcase? What if the HRM the Queen is in town and we have to have appropriate clothing? We might as well have taken the kitchen sink, just in case.

When I returned home, I immediately started researching packing light and was amazed at how much information was out there! So much great advice and packing tips to be had. I read blogs, watched videos, and scanned books in bookstores. I was obsessed. Now, we don’t even own larger suitcases; all four of us have our own carry on bag, and that’s it. We carry a backpack or small bag as our personal item only if needed. We are pros at packing light.

Travel life is now a pleasure, barring any airline snafus, mainly due to the ease of traveling without bulky suitcases and too many “just in case” items. Thanks to your site and others for helping me to see the “light.”

My husband’s main bag did not arrive until the second cruise

Charley M.

We just got home from back-to-back 10 day Caribbean cruises. My husband’s main bag did not arrive until the second cruise. Princess gave him a tux to wear formal nights – couldn’t fit him for dress shoes, but his runners are black and no one noticed. In his carry-on, he had a pair of pants, a swimsuit, 2 shorts, 2 golf shirts, 2 t-shirts, sandals, and underwear. Princess did his laundry a couple of times in the 10 days. The only thing he had to buy was after shave balm. I didn’t even notice that he wore the same pieces of clothing several times.

Amazing how little we need compared to how much we pack.

packing light inspiration

I kept a list during my trip of all the items I brought and didn’t use

Kaitlin S.

My minimalist travel tipping point came in 2016, when I visited my future home in Papua New Guinea for the first time. We arranged to bring some cargo (new shoes, outdoors equipment, and spices that were unavailable in-country) for our teammates already living there. In addition, we brought gear for hiking, exploring, and working in an office – enough, we thought, for one month of living in the tropics. On that trip, I realized a few important things that have reshaped our packing strategy for the upcoming move!

First, I realized we only owned duffel luggage. Between my husband and I, we had no bags with wheels or handles. That meant we were lugging four 50-pound bags and two overstuffed carry on backpacks through three international airports (including customs and immigration) with relatively short turnovers. At the end of a (literally) back-breaking 33 hours of air travel, we were forced to pay overweight fees for two of our bags which were not honored in the baggage agreement for our airlines. The worst part? I kept a list during my trip of all the items I brought and didn’t use, and it almost added up to the contents of one of those 50-pounders.

Second, I realized that carry-on bags are extremely finicky and important. To travel to our destination, it was recommended that we keep all important electronics on our person. That included laptops, tablets, and cameras, and all of their chargers! We were also bringing some items for our organization’s work that we didn’t want to have lost, damaged, or stolen, so those went in the carry-ons. After that, we had almost no room for what we considered essential: a change of clothes (I needed to be dressed conservatively when we landed), water, neck pillows, a journal and important documents, some snacks, toiletries etc. And yet, I tried to stuff them all in anyways. That was fine until my second security checkpoint, when the agent pulled out everything in my backpack because I had forgotten to remove my computer. Nothing fit back the same after that, and I was left to juggle loose items for the next few flights.

In addition, when we boarded the long-haul Pacific crossing flight, I realized my carry-on backpack wouldn’t fit below my seat, and would take up all of my precious little leg room. So, my dilemma: keep the bag and have my snacks, documents, and entertainment handy, or put the backpack up in the overhead bins and have to drag it out later in the flight? Next time, I think I will throw a good number of my carry-on “essentials” into my checked bags, pack looser and lighter, and keep a second, smaller bag packed inside with items I need during the flight.

I was always worried about my items

Christina C.

This post reminded me of how I felt when traveling solo in Spain, summer 2016! I had not discovered the magic of carry on only travels! I had a checked bag and a carry on suitcase AND my handbag. For most of the trip I was going to be staying at a friend’s place, so it was okay to leave the stuff there, safely, and just head into the city with a handbag. I also stayed at convents which house pilgrims in private rooms, so no need for locks. I thought I was doing great!

But then I had a difficult time getting TO places with two bags and needing help loading the checked bag into a taxi. The worst part was on my return trip (even after discarding many items back at my friend’s place) when I took the high speed train to cross the country and had to be at the station for several hours waiting for my next train. It was quite difficult to go into the restroom (that I had to pay to enter) and fit all my luggage in as well. I was always worried about my items! Even trying to buy lunch was such a hassle because I had to tote around both suitcases AND try to carry my food. I needed more arms!

When I was boarding the train, they had signs that said each passenger was limited to ONE suitcase. I didn’t know what to do as these were both bags I needed! Thankfully I was able to board with both, but I had to find space to stow the bag. Only the very top shelf was available! So I had to lift the heavy bag up there (and I did it on my own), but I was just thinking that there’s got to be a better way!

Finally, my return flight was moved up by TWO HOURS so I had taken the only morning bus from Avila to Madrid and had to RUSH to check in on time and check my bag. Well… one of those luggage scales would have come in handy prior to meticulously packing up my checked bag. It was OVER the weight limit! Praise God that the attendant was so kind because I embarrassingly opened my bag at the counter and removed several items and over-stuffed my hand bag (since my carry on suitcase was also too full) and the big bag was still too heavy. He was kind enough to let it go through without charging me extra!

When I arrived at home, my checked bag did NOT. So I had to come back to the airport later for it.

Needless to say, on my next trip I have vowed to pack carry-on only. Even though this one is a group pilgrimage so I won’t be going solo… one, I am an “experienced traveler” and I want to show it, and two, I am done with all of the embarrassment of too many bags!

Yes I am proud of the experience because I was able to overcome. It has also given me the confidence to know what not to do which is encouraging me now as I am preparing for a pilgrimage. By the way, this is a 12 day trip and people are STILL looking at me crazy for doing carry on only! That’s why I keep coming to YOU- this wonderful HPL community. Thanks!

I have packed light ever since

Stephanie C.

I am 60 now, but when I was 20, my Aunt lived in Rome, Italy. My mom and dad sent me to visit her for a month. My mom taught me how to pack for the trip. She told me that packing for a week or a month was the same, since for a month you would be washing clothes, but for a week trip, probably not. I have packed light ever since.

The weight and bulk of my luggage was too much

Sarah W.

I really started re-evaluating how I was packing when I was in Europe in the summer of 2016 for just over a month. I was travelling with a very heavy 65L backpack as well as a 12L messenger bag – both completely stuffed – and a small canvas tote. Throughout my trip I ended up picking up a handful of souvenirs, and having trouble even just repacking my initial items into my bag. By the end of the trip, managing my luggage made me dread every day that I was changing cities. The worst day was when I was walking from a train station in Paris to the apartment I was staying at, and ended up needing to stop and get a cab because the weight and bulk of my luggage was too much.

Now I generally travel with a 48L pack that isn’t stuffed to the max, and I have a packing list I use for each trip, based on the packing lists on HPL – it stops me from worrying that I’m going to forget something. I haven’t ever missed the extra stuff I had brought with me, and it’s a relief to have less to carry with me everywhere. Whenever I overpack now for a work trip or quick weekend trip, I think critically about why I had packed that all, and am slowly but surely learning to pack less and to pack better.

I had about 8 flights within the trip

Leigh W.

My “tipping point” moment came when planning a 2-week whirlwind trip to Asia. I had about 8 flights within the trip and when I started thinking about all the time I would spend at baggage claim, plus risking a loss of luggage each time, I resolved to carry-on only. Now I only check a bag about 10% of the time, and that’s usually just when I am hauling special sports or camping equipment.

the tipping point for packing light

It was so heavy

Lori

I made a trip to Vancouver for a week with a small rolling carry-on suitcase and a backpack for my work related books and papers. I was fine until I ended up at a transit station where I had to climb two flights of stairs up and two flights down carrying that luggage. It was so heavy and my knees aren’t great at the best of times. I was planning a trip to France later that year so I learned from the Vancouver experience and made sure the same carry on suitcase was much lighter. I did it by paring down my wardrobe to just a few versatile fast drying basics in red, white, and black that all went together. It made all the difference.

Her clothes took up most of the bag

Robin J.

My parents separated when I was 6 and lived in separate states, so I started flying at age 8 with my sister (she was 10). We shared a hard-sided suitcase (this was in the late 1960s so very little choice). My sister was a fashion lover from birth, so I became obsessed with packing light as her clothes took up most of the bag (truly obsessed- one trip I fit everything in a paper lunch bag, of course I was 10 and it was summer). Then we moved even further away and had to have layovers. O’Hare airport, no problem. But the brand-new Dallas-Ft Worth airport – every time our luggage was delayed and finally sent via bus to my Dad’s town 2 – 3 days later. At first I started carrying some basics with me on the plane, then eventually used a duffle bag for everything. And that began my lifelong preference for carry-on only.

I would have tossed it and the contents

Joyce P.

My tipping point was my month long trip to Italy last Spring. I borrowed a 25″ suitcase and filled it to the brim, including books (yikes), with never a thought of weight other than the limit for flying. Of course… no elevators, on and off trains, up cobblestone streets. If it wasn’t a borrowed suitcase, I would have tossed it and the contents and bought something small.

Then I learned about packing light. I just got back from 10 days in Thailand with a 21″ suitcase and room to spare. It was so light I smiled every time I picked it up. I’m SOLD!

I took a suitcase so big it had to live in the bathroom

Laken H.

My tipping point occurred early, as a 16 year old going to Italy with my high school band and choir. We went for 10 days and I took a suitcase so big it had to live in the bathroom. Well the shower overflowed from 6 girls using the place and everything in my luggage got wet since the bag was on its side. I had to borrow a sweater and dress to go visit the Vatican. I was also assigned (as a choir member with no instrument) to carry a bass drum the whole trip. After that, I vowed to carry as lightly as possible and have only taken a carry-on ever since, except once. The next time I used that huge suitcase, I lived out of it for 3 months in Washington DC.

It took almost a month to recover

Kiernan H.

My tipping point came when I moved back from Argentina after studying there for a year. I had gone fairly minimalist when I had moved there but I had accumulated quite a bit that I didn’t want to leave behind. Struggling through the Buenos Aires and Miami airports with two duffel bags, two carry ons, and a pillowcase, all together weighing more than I weighed at the time, I swore I would never check baggage like this again. It took almost a month to recover from dragging that luggage with me. Since then, I’ve only checked a bag once and it was a carry on size with full size toiletries. I’ve gone what I like to call “cozy minimalist” and made sure that each trip I only bring what I truly need.

I did it in a day pack and never looked back

Kathleen M.

It was a weekend trip in Guatemala that changed everything. I wanted one bag for a weekend hiking trip; I did it in a day pack and never looked back. I keep trying to use my motto as the packing light criteria: pack only what I love among all the things that I really like or work the best for travel, and nothing else — which for me is about 4 items right now. Then there’s room to buy a few things were we travel. Best!

Not much space was left for my own clothing

Marieke H.

My tipping point moment happened when flying with my little girl (just the two of us) and hand luggage only (one trolley and a backpack. With a very small toddler you need your hands for entertainment and keeping her close. So even though I was allowed more luggage, I didn’t want to carry more bags). Knowing that her two favorite stuffed animals and 3 other toys would fill up almost half the carry-on, and with lunch and drinks, spare kiddy clothes and diapers for during the flight filling up almost the rest, not much space was left for my own clothing.

Have your own tipping point moment to share? Leave us a comment below!

P.S. Impress your friends with your packing skills.

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inspirational moments for packing light
why women pack light

Written by Brooke

Brooke Schoenman runs the show at Her Packing List. Inspired from years of travel experience, Brooke decided there needed to be a travel gear site focused on the needs of a wandering female.

Add your voice & leave a comment!

Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Dagmar says

    I had done two weeks in the UK (from Germany) COO, and several weekend trips, just because tickets were cheaper without checked luggage, and really enjoyed not having to lug around too much. The ultimate tipping point came last year though: I went on a two week trip to Uganda, a trip around the West of the country with the itinerary including a safari and a wedding. When my flight got cancelled and I was re-booked on a different one, it left me with only 3o minutes transfer time at Brussels airport. I was entitled to two 23kg bags, but my biggest fear was making the connection by the skin of my teeth and then arriving in Uganda without my luggage and never being reunited with its contents, so I decided to go COO. It would have been easier without the wedding (extra shoes and a dress), but it was great – and I still ended up not wearing one of my t-shirts 😀

  2. Lauren says

    I went on a tour of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest and then went to a conference in a small college town outside of Brussels. I packed almost two completely different wardrobes – one for travel and sightseeing, one for professional conference-going. My large suitcase was probably 40lbs or more, and while that’s not as heavy as some of the other stories here, my tipping points was when I had to wheel that thing from a train station to my rented room at the end of the trip. I was so exhausted, got lost, and it was late at night in an unfamiliar place where I didn’t speak the language very well! I had to have someone help me carry it up the stairs to my room. I said, that’s it! I think I threw away half of what I had brought from home that night, and while I still had a suitcase that I had to check, it was much lighter and easier to maneuver back to the train station. Never again! I bought a backpack at REI for the next trip, convinced my husband and stepkids to travel in backpacks as well, and we’ve done that ever since.

  3. Sarah says

    For me, it was taking a wheeled suitcase through Taiwan. It was hot out, the suitcase was heavy and neither my husband or I used half the stuff in it. I went with a backpack only on my next trip, and haven’t looked back since!

  4. Sarah says

    Great read! Totally off topic but I was wondering what brand of shoes are in the article’s picture? They look comfortable to walk around in and great to catch dinner with as well. I’m preparing for a trip to Peru and would like a solid pair of shoes for most occasions. Thanks!

  5. Lauren says

    For me it wasn’t so much a tipping point as a series of small setbacks.

    I was pretty proud of myself when I got everything into a 50L backpack and a small handbag when I went to Southeast Asia for four months. I had no trouble with the weight I was carrying until I injured my knee on my second day. The next night I had to run uphill carrying everything to get a bus. I barely managed it but I told myself it was okay, my knee would heal and then I’d have no problems carrying my bag. A week later I was recovering from food poisoning and couldn’t even walk with my bag for ten minutes to get my bus. And it didn’t end there.

    I had to walk around for an hour on my messed up knee still not 100% over food poisoning to find somewhere to stay. I had to use squat toilets with my bag on my back before my knee was healed. I spent hours with my bag crammed in between my feet on busses. I got a terribly sunburned back the day before I had 8 hours to kill in a city and nowhere to ditch my bag. I got food poisoning again and had to spend the entire day on busses and ferries and taxis when I needed a friend to help me hoist my bag onto my back each time I needed to lift it.

    After months of this I still had the mindset of when I get over x I’ll have no trouble with my bag. Then it dawned on me. While I had packed lightly for my good days it wasn’t enough. I should have packed lightly enough to get through the bad days.

  6. Lauren says

    My tipping point was standing on a tarmac in Nairobi while an army of Kenyans ran back and forth looking for my overly large camping backpack and my friends’ bags. We were holding up an entire plane full of people headed to Rwanda. I was so embarrassed and naively told the head baggage man that they could always bring us our bags in Rwanda. “No, no, no….you have come from very far away. We will find them.” And they did. I later found out from a friend in Rwanda that it was best that we had waited waited for our bags. He said if we hadn’t, we may have NEVER received them!

  7. XD says

    It started when I was in Seoul, dragging around wayyyyy too much crap in two rolling suitcases and going in circles because I could not find my hotel. I was overheated, frustrated, tired, and tempted to just ditch a suitcase.

    From there, I downsized to a single rolling suitcase and was happy until I got fed up trying to raise it and stuff it into an overhead bin. I realized the rolling suitcase started me off with far more weight than just a backpack, so I downsized to a Tortuga Air.

    From there, I have been improving my packing–which has allowed me to reduce the weight inside my Tortuga and make traveling even easier.

  8. Fiona Ludbrook says

    I backpacked around Europe and Canada for a year in the 1990s and learned to travel pretty light then. However, if I had a tipping point it was my first safari in East Africa, where, due to using lots of light aircraft between destinations, we had a luggage limit of 15 kilos, including carry on luggage. This was a terrific lesson in the art of travelling truly light, as my camera gear weighs around 7 kilos in its own right!
    Since then I have travelled the west coast of South America for 6 weeks with weather from below freezing to hot tropical and desert climates and Europe, for 5 weeks with the need for the odd flash outfit.
    I take 3 pairs of trousers, including one pair of leggings, for warmth, two safari shirts, one tee shirt, one merino jumper, one fleecy jacket, light rainjacket, travel towel, 2 head sox to use to control and protect my hair and face, from dust/sun or to comply with muslim dress codes, a very light cotton top, that I sleep in and a silk top, with a sleeveless top that goes under it and can double as a singlet if very cold. I swear by my walkingboot sandles and also take a very light pair of black walking shoes. My colour scheme is essentially beige/kahki and black. I download bird and wildlife guides and other reading material into my ipad. I also have a sunhat that packs into my luggage. All that plus chargers and toiletries fit into a small duffel bag or wheeled carry on sized suitcase. I also include a set of luggage scales, a universal bathroom plug, for handwashing. I also include a further micro duffel bag that packs up to nothing, just in case I want to return home with special buys from a destination. My carryon bag contains my ipad, DSLR camera and lense, binoculars and room for enough clothes should my luggage go astray, as well as medications/firstaid stuff. It is designed like a normal bag, but has a velcro detachable soft camera bag section. My handbag holds essential documents and my Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera. I am a bookaholic, so often post home books along the way, or other items likely to encumber me.
    I hate to confess, but I now laugh at those struggling with huge cumbersome luggage and think how much more difficult their trip will be as they struggle with luggage that impedes their easy use of public transport, lifts and takes up much space in small hotel rooms. I wonder if they actually use all that they pack or what they regret bringing along for the journey!

  9. Erica says

    Great post! My mom and I went on a bus trip to Montreal and Quebec City last summer. One lady brought two HUGE suitcases and her fairly large daypack. I remember looking at her pile of luggage and thinking, is she moving to Canada or what?

  10. Suzie says

    I too am now approaching 60 … but still travelling. Planning on 12 weeks in Oz this year on hand-luggage only, including a wedding outfit.

    My tipping point was, like Cristina, above, in Spain on the Camino. I went for my 50th birthday and wanted to travel like a proper pilgrim so everything had to go on my back. One set on, one clean and one in the wash, was how it went. Washing each set in the handbasin every night – they would be dry by morning (mostly, although hiking socks had to be pinned to the backpack with nappy pins to dry). It was utterly liberating!

    I still overpack, but very rarely use anything other than hand luggage. If I want to buy stuff on extended trips, I post things home – adds to the excitement knowing there will be parcels when I get back.

    Happy packing, everyone!

  11. Fiona Ludbrook says

    I didn’t really have a tipping point; more a revalation via a safari to Kenya and Tanzania. Multiple light aircraft flights. The luggage limit was 15 kilos, including carry on.
    It was a liberating experience, compared to when I had packed a bit, but never excessively heavier.
    My camera gear is always the heaviest part of my luggage, weighing about 6 kilos.
    I also discovered the bliss and practicality of wearing a men’s safari shirt, which has since become my go to item for any trip. Pockets are so much better than a handbag. I barely carry a handbag anymore. I went from huge handbag to a minescule oneand no more sore shoulders. My drink bottle clips to its strap rings, My actual handbag is about the size of a water bottle container compartment on other people’s handbags!
    I still have a small pack for my camera bag, which includes enough room for a change of clothes and my favourite silk top.
    My carry on sized luggage that I always choose to put into baggage is minimal but usually includes one birding book. I now download all my other reading material to my Ipad.
    My basic pack list is walking boot sandals and a pair of superlight walking shoes.
    3 lightweight pairs of trousers.
    1 Tee shirt
    2 safari shirts
    I camisole plus my silk top. Camisole can be used for extra layer (Silk top is my glam wear)
    1 Merino sweater
    1 fleecy jacket
    1 lightweight jacket.
    2 x headsox for wearing in many ways. I swear by them. especially to keep dust off my hair in dusty destinations, or jhold it away from my camera lense and as a sweat band.
    I near sheer silk scarf for sun protection or visiting Mosques and temples.
    Underpants x 4
    Bras x3
    Socks, lightweight and quick drying school sock types x 2.
    I very light cotton garment I bought in turkey that serves as night dress and swim cover

    Toiletries.
    I well used or travel sized bar of soap.
    I tiny plastic container of moisturiser (with sunscreen)
    I small tube conditioner. ( i no longer use shampoo but just wash my hair with conditioner.
    I crystal deodorant
    Mosiguard insect repellent
    Travel sized tube of sunscreen or roll on sunscreen stick
    I nail file
    Tweezers
    I Chanel red matt lipstick (rub off a bit to use as blusher if getting seriously dressed up) .I rarely wear make up so only to dress up for a flash night out.
    Add to that a clip together string of fake pearls and that is my basic luggage.
    Sample sized toothpaste x 2 if a long trip
    Toothbrush

    First Aid:
    Paracetamol
    Antiseptic ointment, well used tube.
    Throat llozenges
    Antibiotic course x 2 I am allergic to most antbiotics so my Dr Presciribes me some to use just in case I get a secondary infection from my often defective sinuses.
    Allergy and eczema medication
    A few bandaids
    An eyewash
    Lense cleaner for my glasses and camera lense

    I now wear prescription glasses, so am stuck with carrying spares. Not something I had to carry until recent years, but would be blind without a prescription pair and print blurry to read. Glasses are a bummer for travelling light. Even so I can still keep within my 15 kilo, including carry on self imposed luggage limit, but usually can keep it to 10 -12!

  12. Fiona Ludbrook says

    I forgot my one other item that is essential. I small afro comb for my long wavy hair!
    My luggage list has served me well across seasons and 4 continents. It is the same if I am in the lower Amazon basin, as it is for a week in Paris.
    Only once in Scotland in January, did I need to buy an extra layer, as it was just so cold. I just added a couple of skivvies and two pairs of footless tights. or lightweight leggings.

  13. Fiona Ludbrook says

    And back to the merits of men’s safari shirts.:
    Those pockets carry things like a small purse of minimal cash and coins. A pocket pack of tissues.
    My small pocket sized DSLR
    My cigarettes and lighter.
    All the essentials.
    I carry my other 4 kilo DSLR around my neck and shoulder and my “handbag is a tiny slim creature that slings over my neck and shoulder the other way, but is there to clip my water bottle to and carry my glasses or sunglasses, depending on which prescription pair I am currently wearing.
    If I were to leave my big camera at home, and my birding book,my luggage would be down to about 4 to five kilos and would fit into a small day pack easily!
    I have also found a lovely small, strong sling duffel bag that weighs under a kilo from MacPak in New Zealand and it will be coming on my next adventure. I prefer sling bags to back packs!
    I also have a carry on sized wheeled suitcase I often use.. It will be staying home. Same capacity but 2 kilos extra weight.
    I also have a pack down to nothing duffel bag that weighs barely an ounce, I pack, just in case I want to bring an extra item or two home. I have only ever needed to use it once, to carry a coat I bought in Italy home, on the last leg of my travels!
    I actually find it easier to distribute the weight between two small er than standard carry on sized bags, than to manouvre one bigger backpack on and off my body and like to carry my luggage in front of me, or too my side.. That has kept my luggage secure when others have been stripped of their backpacks from behind in Ecuador and Bolivia!

  14. Fiona Ludbrook says

    My mini handbag packs into my camera bag, so essentially I am still only carrying a handbag and my other luggage is still carry on size and weight. Even when I added the extra duffell bag with my Italian coat and some books from Italy and Turkey, these were stored at the last hotel we began and returned to in Istanbul and I remained well within minimum weight and size luggage , so no extra charges for my “extra bag”!
    When out and about I leave my camera bag where i am staying, but my mini handbag comes out with me, with the camera around my neck and lense wipes and spare batteries and cards in either my pockets or handbag. Flexible options that leave you fully mobile and travelling light , makes travelling anywhere easy!
    On my last trip, my only unused item was my merino sweater, other than on the flight!

  15. Anouk says

    I know I can pack well. I once packed everything for a couple of days in Prague (my old home town) in a 15 liter Riut bag. Extra pair of shoes, pyamas, two outfits, lots of medications and some toiletries. My bf took my pillow in his suitcase.

    When I travel by myself I usually bring loads of stuff. It can’t be helped. I do improtheatre weekends with live action role-playing. It’s a hobby with a lot of gear. Last weekend I needed a bed (like those military ones) covered with an inflatable matrass, a pillow, a sleeping bag, a blanket pyjamas, a hot water bottle and woolen socks.
    Then one outfit with an extra t-shirt or two.
    And then the theater stuff, the dresses, the props, the make up. Then food, I need a lot of snacks. I brought a water cooker for coffee tea and the hot water bottle. And my laptop this time because someone needed files and the usb I gave them didn’t work. I had two medium duffle bags, my riutbag and the bed. I was grateful that someone picked me up at home. When I could I used clothes twice. I used almost everything. One tshirt and legging I didn’t. When there is a bed at the location my luggage is one huge bag with wheels and a backpack. I am very organised and even bring a Ikea skubb cube that folds flat. If you zip it it’s like a small cube drawer. I shove it under my bed for small items that I need to put somewhere during the weekend. I keep improving my organising. A year ago I organised my make up, hair and accessories bag. Now I hang it and work it from top to bottom and I’m done. A friend laughed at the organised bag, but it relaxes me. I know everything is there and I have more time to socialize and have fun. And that’s what it’s all about!

  16. Aleksandra says

    I was travelling by myself for the firts time, so I pack lighter than usual, because I knew that I would have to carry my backpack on my own, zero help. The second time around I also was travelling by myself, but I was flying for the week only. So to make it cheaper and easier I decided to pack into carry-on. It was the first time in my life that I pack so light and I wear all the clothes that I bring with me. I never go back to “normal” packing.

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