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Bare Essentials: My Guide To Seeing The World With Less Luggage


When you are packing for a long-term traveling trip, it can be difficult to decide what to bring. You’ll be away for a long time, and there are many items of clothing and equipment that you are fond of. But the truth is, you will very rarely need them. Also, the lighter that you travel, the easier it will be to get around. So, I’m going to take a look at what to bring with you – and what to leave – to help your traveling experience a light and happy one. Ready? Let’s kick things off right away.


Flickr – Jason Priem

» Clothing & Shoes

If you are going traveling, the likelihood is you will be going somewhere warmer than you are used to. There are exceptions, of course. A trip to northern Europe can have similar weather conditions to much of the States, for example. However, if you are heading to somewhere like South East Asia or Africa as many others do, make sure you bring the right clothing. And, ultimately, that means not that much at all.

The most you should bring is a few of changes of clothing for any possible change of weather – and that’s about it. Plenty of underwear, of course, but, in general, there’s no need for much. As a backpacker, you will learn to get by with what you have. One exception to this rule is shoes. You’ll need a sturdy pair of hiking shoes if you are planning on walking across any kind of terrain. Invest well here, and your feet will thank you.

» Equipment & Essentials

The equipment that you take will depend a lot on where you are going. Pocket guidebooks and phrasebooks are essentials for anywhere, however. Leave as many valuables at home as possible. They have no place on a traveling experience, and you will only regret it if they are stolen. A simple phone with a good camera is all the electronics you will need – although a Kindle weighs next to nothing if you want to read.

A simple first aid kit is a good idea, as are some tools. A Swiss army knife or equivalent will be great for those occasions when you have set up camp somewhere. Take a look at the website of knife manufacturer Esee for more details of the small but useful tools you might consider. A compass, medicine, and a good stock of insect repellent cream will also do you a lot of favors at some point.

» Makeup & Beauty Products:

OK, so here is one area you can cut back on completely. Just leave all your beauty treatments, hair straighteners, and makeup at home. You won’t need them – unless, of course, you are planning on a more glamorous year abroad. Of course, there will be times when the odd application of lipstick is needed. Or even a quick bit of gel on the hair – but in general, you will quickly realize that makeup is not necessary.

And that, folks, is pretty much it. A year abroad in various countries might sound like a packing nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. Throw in all of your important documents, money and your passport, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!

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