When it comes to traveling, there are so many factors to take into consideration. Where should I go? Should I go alone? What kind of accommodation will I stay in? What will I do when I’m there? Depending on what your idea of travel is, the answers to these questions could differ greatly. My idea of travel is 5-star hotels and yacht trips on the Mediterranean. But because I live an average life, that means I would only be able to afford those trips once in a while. Perhaps I need to modify my perception of what a vacation can be? That said, we want to explore two things in this post. The first is – tips for all travelers. Regardless of where you’re going or what you’re doing. And the second is – is there a way to make travel a bit friendlier when it comes to your bank account?
To start off this post on a negative note – I am not a light traveler. Even if I’m going away for the weekend, I tend to bring everything that I possibly can. Not necessarily because I will need it, but there’s the perception that I might. But here’s the thing – if you’re traveling locally (like within North America), then you’re never going to be far from some kind of store where you can purchase the item that you so desperately needed. So what if you have to go an evening without brushing your teeth? It’s gross, but you’re not going to die and it’s not the end of the world.
That said, if you’re traveling internationally, you’re going to want to make sure that you do have everything you need. In this case, be realistic about what you should bring. Perhaps a suitcase that you can check, and a carry-on. But it all depends where you’re going and how long you’re going for. This is where planning ahead is important. Understanding the climate during this time of year will be particularly helpful in ensuring that you pack the right clothes.
What To Pack
Ok, so maybe that wasn’t specific enough. If you’re like me, you’re probably confused about what it means to pack light. As I said, I am a bit of an over-packer, so here is a good rule to follow:
- 1 shirt for every 2 days
- 1 pair of socks for 2 days
- 1 hoodie, and a light compact winter jacket
- 1 extra pair of jeans or shorts (besides what you are wearing on the flight).
Of course, if your vacation is extremely fancy and you’ll be going out every night, then this isn’t the packing list for you. If you are looking for adventure and trying to explore a new city, this will help guide you. Obviously, you’re going to need to do some laundry while you’re away. It’s worth it to pay to have to do laundry than to bring an extra bag.
Test Out Your Packing Skills
While I might be an over-packer, I have insane packing skills. Give yourself some time, and pack your bag in advance. Depending on the trip and the length, you might want to start his a couple of months in advance. Of course, you may not be able to do everything because you’re just not sure if it’s going to be rainy on your trip. That said, this whole exercise will give you the ability to improve your packing skills. Like I said, this is an area where I excel. During college, I moved a few times (as one does in college) and I had to do it all on my own. Which meant, everything had to fit in my car. Sure, it didn’t always work the first time, but as I kept at it, eventually everything I had would fit in my car. And packing a suitcase is no different.
Always Carry Water
This feels like a no-brainer, but I’ll say it anyway. Make sure you always have water with you. If you don’t, you’ll end up buying some and it can be costly, and perhaps inconvenient. Not only is water good from a thirst perspective, but it’s also an appetite suppressant, and will help when you get really hungry and can’t get food right away.
What About Luggage?
Carrying a suitcase with you everywhere you go is not necessarily going to make your trip easy. Most travel websites recommend a single (lightweight) wheeled bag and one backpack per person. This will help save your body from having to carry a ton of luggage, but it’s also kind of practical.
Ways to Save Money
If you’re really pinching your pennies on this trip, then perhaps you should consider taking public transportation. When I made a trip to England, that’s all I used. Ok, and taxis for the late night trips to and from the bars. But in general, it was cost-effective and easy to navigate. If you’ve got a bit more money to spend, you could rent a car. They’re not typically that expensive, and it gives you a little bit more control over your trip.
Last, but not least, leave all your shoes at home. As I said before, if you’re going to be spending the weekend, dancing in Miami, then you’re going to want to bring extra shoes. But if you’re planning a hiking trip, then just bring hiking shoes. Bring 2 pairs of shoes, maximum. And like I said, if there is a sudden emergency, you will likely be able to get another pair of shoes where ever you are. Sure, they might cost you more than you budgeted, but accidents happen, and you’ll be happier in the end if you don’t bring that extra pair of shoes.