When you’re solo traveling, it is essential to pack lightly. The picture above showed what I usually packed for my 3-4 weeks trip. My red luggage’s capacity is only 15 kg max. I use it to pack all my clothes, toiletries and camera tripod. I always bring my camera backpack and another small sling bag to carry my wallet and travel documents. When I know that I would be doing some shopping, I also carry a small bag that can be folded and put it inside the red luggage to be used when the need arise.
Why do you need to pack lightly?
Because you might have to use your untrained muscles to carry everything. Even when you’re travelling to a country where elevators or escalators are abundant, there’s always a place where you still have to haul all your belonging manually. It’s a good exercise but when you’re tired, you’ll be easily irritated because of the extra workout. I often saw people that carry too many or too heavy luggage running to catch a train or plane. Once, I saw a couple having a fight while carrying 2 huge luggage and in the end the woman was so frustrated that she threw her luggage down the stairs inside a subway station (not all subway stations in the world have escalators or elevator).
How do I do it?
I usually travel for 3-4 weeks and most of the time, I stayed in hostels. Most hostels have laundry service for reasonable price. Some even give free laundry service, such as Kim’s house, where I stayed in Busan. So, knowing that I can laundry my clothes, I only packed clothes for a week and laundry most of them every week during my trip.
Another trick is, I only pack 1 set of top for each day and I bring denim pants because it can be used for days…kekeke… It’s acceptable to lower a little of your hygiene standard during travelling. So, for a week, I usually only pack 6 tops, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of pajamas.
Of course, when travelling in autumn, the weather could be a little cold. That’s why I always monitor the weather forecast so I know the coldest temperature that I have to be prepared of. For this trip to Korea, I fret a little about the cold. I knew that I would be hiking Seoraksan and I was worried about the cold weather during the hike because it could be fatal. So, I bought tops with heat-tech technology that could keep my body heat. I also bought leggings to keep my legs warm and a pair of non-denim pants because denim pants can’t keep the body heat. One thing that I forgot was…..to coordinate the colors…..kekeke….so on the day I was about to hike the mountain, I just realized that my top was deep purple while the pants were green. Wkwkwkwk. That’s fatal because I still want to look elegant while keeping the cold away and wearing color-clashed outfit is a no no. In the end I wore my dark blue jeans with the deep purple tops. Thank’s God the day I went to Seoraksan was a sunny day – a rarity during that autumn season.
I usually pack my old clothes, those that I won’t miss if I had to leave them behind during the trip. When I went to Europe, I decided to donate some of my clothes so I could have extra room in my luggage for the books that I bought during the trip.
For toiletries, to keep the weight to minimum, I always bring half empty 100 ml bottle of soap and shampoo. Lately, I even brought less. My skin is not too sensitive so I can use soap and shampoo that are usually provided at the hostel/hotel. I also bring an almost empty tube of toothpaste and face-wash.
Beauty products that I bring usually are only a 100 ml bottle of body lotion, a small jar of face cream, a small pack of bb cream with spf 30 and a lip gloss. I never brought hair dryer because my haircut is short and it’s easy to maintain.
One thing that I never brought too was travel guide book. It’s unnecessary to bring 400 pages book because most of information are available via internet. Especially when travelling to high-tech country such as Korea and Singapore, there are free wi-fi services almost everywhere. I gathered enough information before the trip and stored them in my smartphone. As for precaution, I also learned a bit of the local language, enough to help me understand simple signs or asking for simple things.
Sometimes, people pack foods to eat during their trip. Well, I never do that because my motto is, tasting the local dishes is part of the travel experience that I must have. Don’t be afraid to try what the locals eat. Sometimes, I also cook simple meals when I couldn’t find anything interesting to eat – most hostels have public kitchen and dining area where you can cook as if you’re at home. Cooking is also a way to keep your travelling budget on track.
When packing for travelling to a place where it’s easy to get basic supplies, don’t pack too much.
Pack only the basic things that you need for travelling. Check your itinerary and pack accordingly. If you’re going to exotic island where sun shine is abundant, be sure to pack sunblock instead of thick jacket.
Pack only what you can carry on your own. Remember that sometime during the trip, you might have to use the muscles that you don’t usually use to carry all your belonging.
Prepare in advanced, learn as much as you can before the trip but don’t worry too much if you couldn’t learn everything. Whatever happens during the trip is precious experience, so just enjoy it. Be cautious but don’t be too shy to ask for help.