Yes! finally! a post on how to minimise and frugalise your next long trip abroad!
After spending a month in Guatemala voluntouring, I feel like a total pro on the subject of light traveling- or travelighting”.
*I am sure many have other- perhaps more exciting tips- I promise to put my ego aside for a moment and I will gladly share for the benefit of the universe-so don’t hold back-comment.
But first- why travelight ?
Surely the airplane can carry my suitcases and the cab will get me anywhere- why skimp on clothes? Why narrow my options as to toiletries? Why do you need to turn a fun vacation into a working process??
Ok –no need to get worked up about this- like everything else in life- feel free to do whatever you want.
Want to carry your whole house with you so as not to leave your comfort zone not even for a moment? Enjoy yourself.
Want to waste precious time waiting for your suitcases +pay extra with many companies+ carry heavy suitcases around crowded airports? Great idea.
But- if you wish to learn some tricks on how to manage a whole month abroad with only a standard carry-on- than continue reading.
#1: Get a good travel bag.
This bag is going to carry all of your assets for a few weeks- and might sometimes happen to become overcrowded…(mm it might have happened that I forgot I had a space limit and purchased one too many gifts…).
*Now as to the old debate –duffel or rucksack- well I think it depends on the nature of the trip.
If you are planning a hike or camping –during all- or most of the trip- well than there isn’t really a question, right? The dilemma starts when most of your trip is staying in one place- but- you are planning a hike or 2 –something around 2-3 day hike max.
Well this is a dilemma –and I think the hike component will win this time, since there is no way you will be able to carry both bags, and no way you can go camping or hiking with a duffel or a trolley.
*If most of your trips are like this case, I think it is better to consider getting a front load rucksack that complies with standard airline carry on regulations (55*35*25 cm/ 21*15*9 inches).
*I searched on line and I think the bag that meets most of the criterias is the Osprey farpoint 40.I don’t own one yet since neither Osprey nor Amazon ship to where I live but I am not losing hope thet 2019 will be the year for me to meet the osprey.
Again- I get nothing from any company-I simply read several reviews online, and this review made a very good impression on me- but as usual-judge for yourselves.
This guy has great advice on many other issues concerning traveling light so just read and learn.
the link: great article from “the carry-on guy “
Yes these are life savers-and cost only a few $ online. Not only do they save (a lot of ) space, but they also keep the clothes from getting wrinkled–and keeps your duffel in order so you can find anything you need in seconds.
Divide your clothes to sections –according to the cube size, and roll like a pro!
I admit I love those cubes so much I even bothered to roll my dirty laundry into them on the trip back. (Yes of course I washed the cubes afterwards- are you serious? It washes so easily and dries in a few minutes)
The reason I bothered repacking my dirty laundry was simple. I tried throwing it to a laundry bag-it wouldn’t fit into my duffel…the only way I could get every thing- including the gifts I bought- into the duffel- was if I rolled my used clothes neatly back to the pack.
3. Tsa fluids zipper bag: the 3-1-1 rule.
1: bag-1 liter size- use a zip lock back- it gives a few inches more –you will need them.
3: 3.4 ounces (100 ml) size container of fluid
*Fluid, by the way- is not only shampoo or night creams, but also toothpaste and lipstick.
I used 5 small containers, which I divided like so:
1. Night cream
2. Natural toothpaste
3. Natural deodorant
4. Facial soap
5. Body lotion
6. I even added a tiny facial mask container- well it was a month-long trip and I enjoyed pampering my face every few days there…
I also managed to include my day cream-50 Spf sun screen: this double duty enabled me to close the zipper in my zip lock bag and have everything I needed-now that I stopped wearing makeup.
4.Mix and match + quick dry –easy wash clothes only!
All my clothes were easy hand wash and dry on their own in the room while I am at school with the kids. and all of them were basic mix and match solid colors. this meant that no matter what- I had something to wear.
I took my clothes to a close by laundry twice during my 1 month stay- a week after arriving- couldn’t take off that “sitting 24 hours in an airplane ” kind of smell, and the other time after the 2 day Acatenango hike- to take off the “camp fire at 1 am watching a volcano errupt” smell.
My clothes came back shining and smelling great all for 10$.
Between those 2 times, I simply washed my clothes in the sink, with a simple bar of local soap I bought in “la bodegona”.
If you are wondering why I didn’t buy or bring proper laundry soap- I don’t like hand washing my clothes with powder laundry detergent- It doesn’t dissolve well in cold water -and the Tsa rules about liquid prevented me from bringing my laundry shampoo. at the supermarket I saw no reason to buty a special soap when I liked the smell of this washing soap + I used the other bars in the pack for washing- once my Dr bronner’s soap bar vanished.
5. Bring a refillable water bottle!
Think environmentalism+saves a lot of money !
Now about this Tsa liquid rule at the airport…..
I cannot board a flight -or go anywhere outside my house for that matter- without my water bottle.
But airport regulations make it very difficult to board a plane with more than 100 ml in your bottle.
So- what I found out is that many airports have water coolers after security checks, and those who don’t- well check out if you can fill your bottle from the water tap in the toilets.yes I just wrote toilets.
I did that in schiphol- Amsterdam (great water! cold and tasty!) in Ben-Gurion air-port in Tel Aviv and in Panama , and I am sure many other airports , once you inquire- have that option.please make sure the water is clean and clear for safe use beforehand.even if you are thirsty.no joke here.
6. Orientation at your destination- includes a must trip to the local supermarket.
First of all- this is an interesting place to see local people and local customs. can’t help it- people all around the globe like to eat.
Second- you can try new and different food- in a safe environment. If you are a bit hesitant of trying out street food food, (I am), than the local supermarket can provide you a glimpse at local food and produce without many of the hazards.
Thirdly-this is your oppurtunity to stack on fruit and snacks for just in case situations- and provide food options for situations you feel like staying in and having a light meal.(Introvert anyone?)
7. Walk -walk-walk!
Instead of using taxis- try to get the real feel of the new place you arrived at- and walk around. try going out without your phone-shocking yet possible!
8. Make a copy of your VIP (very important papers)
put it in your travel bag. and save it in your Gmail account. a copy of your passport, your travel insurance, your E ticket’ your stay voucher, you get the drift.