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Carrying your house in a suitcase: The pragmatic traveller

picture of ancient ruin taken by a tourist

Travelling and tourism has become one of the world’s largest industries with millions of tourists and a global economic contribution of over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars yearly according to Statista. Travelling is an extraordinary experience that is often glorified in the modern society therefore, most people dream of it.

Woman with a suitcase and a bag travelling
Source: Stocksnap

Travelling, however, requires an absolute level of commitment because of various challenges travellers encounter but the highlights are memories you cherish and reminisce about throughout your life. But sadly, many people have killed their dreams of backpacking across Europe, riding camels in the desert safari of the middle east, hiking in the Alps, sightseeing and touring the wildlife of Africa because of a common problem that both budding travellers and renowned globetrotters face: ‘’WHAT TO PACK’’.

That’s why we have come up with a practical solution to this problem for pragmatic travellers to ease and fast-track packing and get you ready for the experience of a lifetime. This guide gives insight on essential items that makes you feel as if you’re carrying your home along with you on your journey.

Let’s get right to it

Taking all your useful gears in the smallest suitcase possible is the dream of all travellers. Light luggage is very essential because it allows for mobility and freedom throughout your journey and with this in perspective, this guide was tailored for pragmatic travellers.

During your travels your luggage is your home but always remember packing light is equally important as packing smart. Therefore, prepare for every scenario that could cause setbacks during your journey. Comfort and convenience should be the foremost concern when carrying your bags so remember to choose efficiently and items that serve multiple purposes should be a no-brainer. Carry items that will be necessary for the trip and you should endeavour to squeeze all your belongings into a small luggage because they both pass international carry-on allowance and therefore, no need to check for bags at airport terminals.

picture of ancient ruin taken by a tourist

What baggage to take

It is a very challenging exercise to find a bag that ticks all the boxes. Consequently, many websites just won’t give you the right advice and they will often try to sell you the biggest and most expensive suitcase without considering factors like lightness, convenience, and smartness.

If you travel frequently or if you’re planning a big trip then it’s often better to go for something light and versatile (and possibly carry-on size), as you’ll want a bag that is always comfortable to carry.

In this guide, we will share with you what we believe are some of the top travel backpacks for traveling anywhere. Whether you’re going on a holiday, a backpacking trip, or you need a backpack for your business travels.

Duffel bags

The rucksack or duffel bag is the first and most obvious item on your list and having the right quality is very essential as you will be moving around a lot with it. Always consider your choice based on weight, comfort, quality, and size so you can sling it over your shoulder and get on your way.

Man on a train with a duffel bag
Source: TripSavvy

Backpack

After the duffel bags your next most important item is the backpack. It should be lightweight with enough space to house your belongings and still give you enough mobility to focus on your journey and not on the weight on your back. More importantly, your backpack could serve as a house for important gadgets such as your laptop, clear bags, chargers and other essentials. They also possess valuable accessories like lockable zippers (prevent opportunistic theft), good carry handles (for when you’re not wearing it on your back) and internal or external compression straps (helps you pack more and organise better).

Backpack and a backpacker
Source: Pexels

Wheeled luggage

Wheeled luggage is also a very good option. They come in all sizes and your belongings can be easily arranged and accessible. Most importantly, when it comes to security a quality suitcase is your best choice as you can easily lock it; a hardshell suitcase is even better as it would be harder to slice apart. In terms of transport, although not as light as duffel bags or backpacks, a wheeled suitcase is easy to pull. It’s a different story if you need to carry it up the stairs, walk on cobble stones, or in a rural areas.

Choosing the right baggage should depend on the weight of what you plan to carry and of course the areas you plan to visit – there is no one size fits all.

How to make the most of packing organisers

The amount of gear you pack all depends on the activities you’ve got planned for your trip. If it’s an activity filled trip be ready to pack a fair amount. Organisation is an obstacle during your packing and that’s why we advise you to make use of packing organisers.

Using packing organisers makes your gears orderly and easy to access as every item is well organised. It also helps reducing the time spent on packing and unpacking throughout your travels. You can arrange items in your organisers based on your own suitable style or you can also use compression sacs or cubes to reduce the volume of your clothes by up to 80%.

Clothing packing list:

Every person has individual needs for what they need to pack. We have prepared an extensive list – use it as as a guidance but do think carefully before packing each item. And when you are done packing, make sure you go through it again. You’d be surprised how much you can reduce your baggage after a second pass!

  • Lightweight clothing that can be layered
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Jumpers or fleece jacket
  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • Trousers and/or shorts
  • Belt
  • Socks (Wool socks if you are hiking)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Rain jacket, windbreaker or umbrella
  • Pyjamas/sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Sunglasses and glasses case
  • Dresses and/or skirts
  • Minimal jewellery (to minimise theft) 
  • Hat or sun visor
  • Scarf or bandana
  • Swimsuit or swim trunks (if you plan to swim)
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Travel speakers
  • Travel pillow, eye mask and ear plugs

What sort of clothes, how many?

This is a question that comes up a lot during packing, the types of clothes you pack depends on the duration, weather, and activities you plan to do on your trip.

Winter

For winter trips you’ll need to pack a lot of layers (long-sleeve t-shirts, fleece, light wind and waterproof outer shell) , hat that covers your ears, back of your neck and is made of thin materials for warmth, gloves, polarised sunglasses, scarf, lower, lower body base layer and good dark-coloured winter boots with light lacing and full waterproof for protection during bad weather.

Summer

For a summer trip you can pack tops, some shorts, leggings, and maybe a pair of jeans, underclothes, bathing suits, socks, face caps and footwear that suits the terrain of the area.

Clothes for religious places

The world consists of various different cultures and religions and therefore most of them have their own distinctive acceptable modes of dressing. Respect the culture of the locale you’ll be visiting by researching about their culture and make necessary arrangements accordingly. 

To attend churches in Rome wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, and you must wear shoes. To visit temples and stupas in Sri Lanka cover your shoulders and legs, and don’t forget to remove your hat and shoes (in hot weather remember to bring a pair of socks as the ground will be scorching hot!).

You don’t have to dress fashionably or wear your best clothing, you just have to follow these simple requests. When visiting the Middle east be modest and conservative with your dressing; refrain from short-sleeved shirt and tank tops. You can accompany your dressing with scarfs and shawls.

Technology – you will need it!

Your gadgets are very important therefore, they should be kept in your backpack and always be within your reach as these are valuable items (especially if you are a freelancer!). It also serves as your trip planner and means to keep in touch with family, friends and ultimately allows for you to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

  • Mobile device and charger
  • Laptop, iPad, or E-reader and charger(s)
  • Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you’re sensitive to sound)
  • Camera and Go Pro/video camera (as obviously you want to record that white water rafting!), memory card, and chargers
  • Electrical converters and adapters

Other must-have items

  • Toiletry Bag
  • First aid kits and prescribed drugs
  • Travel journal and writing materials
  • Relevant Books
  • Travel games
  • Lotion and Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Important travel documents, cash, and credit cards
  • Guide books and maps

Money belt?

Keep important travel documents and personal identification items out of sight and personal credit card and ID more protected than ever because the back pocket is a haven for pick-pockets and thieves. This guide won’t be complete for a pragmatic traveller if money belt is not included.

When you move out from lodgings daily, take only the cash and one credit card that you’ll need for the day as this will limit your losses if you are robbed and still allow you to continue to enjoy your trip.

These items are what you should pack into your money belt each day:

  • Emergency cash
  • Credit card
  • Credit card numbers
  • Copy of your passport pages if you’re not carrying them digitally on your phone
  • Your travel insurance information
  • Visas
  • Room key
  • Vital information like a list of allergies, doctor’s name, etc.

You should always keep your money belt close to you throughout your travels and you can keep them under your shirt where they are out of sight yet easily accessible when you go out.

Other relevant information

Finally, to have peace of mind during your travels make sure you put your home in order especially if you’re going on a big trip. It is advisable to have small tasks like having the post office hold your mail, keeping valuables in a safe place, bolting all doors, pre-pay your bills and arranging care for your children, pets, and lawn.

Anywhere you travel to, make sure to loosen up, enjoy and explore new cultures, make arrangements for all travel activities before you embark on your journey. Above all, pack light for freedom and mobility. It is noteworthy to respect the rules of places, people, and the culture in your locale.

And most importantly, ENJOY your travels!

From your travel experiences, what is the one item you wish you had taken on your trip but you didn’t? Comment below.

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