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4 min.

Yeah, I have recently learned that packing light is easy and cool and this is a happy conquest of my new life!

For many years I embodied the cliché of the frivolous spoiled woman who cannot leave even for a weekend without a hard 80 lt. suitcase, vanity case, purse, and laptop bag. The nightmare of every man with regular common sense, but I also guess of drivers, stewards, and other hospitality professionals!

In my defense: you go to the theater in an evening gown with all that implies, to business appointments with stylish outfits accordingly to the hour of the meeting, etc. In short, I always needed a lot of clothes, shoes, and bags, and I always packed more than necessary, not to have to choose in advance.

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For some years now, I have changed my life and travel just for pleasure. It must be said, with much smaller budgets … at the beginning, I ventured along on the road itinerary with scary luggage, that I myself have started to hate very quickly disseminating clothes at every checkout. Still, you indeed learn from your mistakes, and I really treasured them!

This winter, I have been on for over a month in Sri Lanka, and Dubai and my bag weighed only 13.8 pounds! Good girl, huh 😉

Which luggage for packing light?

First I abolished suitcases! At first, I opted for the classic hiking backpack but aided by the experience of life on a sailboat; I now use this comfortable and lightweight, completely waterproof bag-backpack by Helly Hansen.

Packing is effortless thanks to the front zip opening system and the inner and outer pockets, and you carry it even more easily thanks to the adjustable shoulder backpack style straps. I love it, and it’s very durable and easy to wash after each trip (I use a sponge and dishwashing liquid, and it still looks like new after lots of road trips).

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What to pack?

Regardless of how long I’m staying away, I only pack clothes for a week, relying on laundry services on site. I roll my clothes before putting them into my packing cubes to find everything quickly and without having to rummage in the bag.

Packing for warm destinations

  • three pairs of shorts/sarouel if the destination is an Islamic country
  • two finest dresses for the evening
  • enough shirts/tops to match the chosen pants
  • underwear for a week with a few extra pairs of socks if the destination is a Buddhist country (useful when visiting temples barefoot …)
  • a swimsuit
  • a pair of flip flops
  • a pair of sandals for the evening
  • a pareo to be used as a beach towel too
  • a K way
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For cold destinations

  • two pairs of comfortable trousers
  • a more stylish dress for the evening
  • enough shirts/tops to match the chosen pants
  • two sweaters
  • underwear for a week
  • a swimsuit
  • a pair of flip flops
  • a pair of shoes to match the dress
  • a K way

In the beauty case

  • toothbrush and toothpaste, it goes without saying …
  • shampoo *
  • shower gel *
  • deodorant
  • rose water
  • cotton pads
  • monoï oil, which I use as a body cream to remove make-up and as a hair conditioner
  • sunscreen
  • makeup
  • nail file
  • tweezers for eyebrows
  • earplugs

* If I leave to big cities or plan to stay in hotels that meet western standards I don’t pack them

However, for two years now, I have replaced the beauty case with this waterproof bag by Helly Hansen. Once on site then I often use it to carry personal items, money, cell phone, etc., during boat trips or similar. Very useful and handy!

Other things that I no longer do without:

  • my silk sleeping bag, to feel comfortable and sleep well even when the venue doesn’t look clean. I’m using this one and it’s perfect after several years and lots of trips: Stretch Silk Liner
  • microfiber towel, again to avoid stress in the case the venue doesn’t look clean
  • extra bag in case I shop too much … I’m still a woman!
  • my All in one Travel Power Plug Adapter
  • a hairband

How I dress for the journey

  • jeans
  • T-shirt
  • sweater/sweatshirt to endure air conditioning during the flight
  • sneakers/Hugg in winter and if the destination is a western town
  • a jacket (denim in summer and duvet in winter)
  • scarf/stole always and everywhere
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My hand luggage

I usually carry a backpack or a cloth shoulder bag to use on site when hiking/visiting.

  • hygienic wipes for baby, very comfortable when you don’t have a bidet, but also to replace toilet paper while sailing
  • my beloved Canon with its charger
  • iPhone with charger, waterproof case, and earphones
  • my fantastic 3G Kindle Voyage, with charger and waterproof case
  • a USB power bank
  • small Led headlamp
  • locks to close the bag and possibly hostels/hotels cupboards
  • my hat <3
  • pen and notebook
  • sunglasses
  • clutch bag with medicines, insect repellents, etc.
  • an extra pair of socks to walk barefoot on the plane if the flight is very long

* I always have a copy of all my travel documents in pdf format on the Kindle and on the iPhone, a precious travel companion thanks to these very useful apps!

If you have doubts, questions, or should you wish to get some tips on how to pack to stay in a posh Ritz-style hotel, do not hesitate to ask!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.

3 Comments

  • Nigel & Jane says:

    Really useful article. Particularly love the idea of putting PDFs of the travel docs onto the Kindle. Obvious now you’ve said it!!

    But what’s a K way? 😉

    • Thanks! I’m really glad that you found it useful 🙂
      K-Way is an Italian brand producing waterproof, windbreaker light jackets you can zip up in their own hood. You can get them on Amazon and on their official website you can even customize your own.
      You should try it!