Backpacking 101 : Why Traveling Light is Right?

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I was on the road to my home province last week doing a little backpacking and I wanted to watch some television so I pulled my 52 inch plasma television out of my bag, then I took the satellite dish from the top of my backpack. Once I had that set up with the 400 watt generator, I pulled my lazy boy out and got the crock pot ready to make some beef stew while I sat down to watch the big game. You know that I’m joking right?

Gail Hilotin of ThePinaySoloBackpacker.com
Gail Hilotin of ThePinaySoloBackpacker.com

What? Unless your name is Felix and you have a magic bag of tricks, the above is obviously impossible. While it would be nice to be able to drag all the comforts of home along with you on your trip around the world, the truth is that you neither have to nor can. I already learned my lessons, I used to bring a huge wheeled luggage even for just a weekend trip and let me tell you… I’ll never do that again for obvious reasons.

James Betia of JourneyingJames.com
James Betia of JourneyingJames.com

Far too often, I see young backpackers checking into hostels and setting their bags down as if they have just trekked across the Sierra Nevada. The truth is that they’ve usually only carried their bag about a mile or less but because they have so much stuff in the bag, it weighs about 16 tons. Carry sixteen tons and what do you get? A sore back, less of a desire to travel, and a bunch of wrinkled, wet, and smelly gear.

Carla Cobar Diayon of Crazysidviciouslover.blogspot.com
Carla Cobar Diayon of Crazysidviciouslover.blogspot.com

Traveling light is right! Just do it. Unless you are planning on working in an office, there probably isn’t a need to bring four shirts, three ties, three pairs of slacks, and two jackets. In fact, you probably don’t want to bring that towel with you either even though it is big and fluffy…more specifically because it is big and fluffy.

Gaye Emami of PinayTravelJunkie.com
Gaye Emami of PinayTravelJunkie.com

What do you really need to have with you? Ideally, you can carry a maximum of three days worth of clothing, toiletries, necessary documents, and not a lot more. You may want to buy shampoos and other toiletries in sachets so you can pack it easily or you can buy a small refillable containers that you can re-use on your future trips. If you are going to be camping, you will need to have your gear but you want it to be the lightest and easiest to pack gear possible.

Lilliane Cobiao of Wanderlass.com
Lilliane Cobiao of Wanderlass.com

The truth is that by traveling light, you don’t have to worry about your gear, you can cover more ground, and you can always have the necessities with you. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to get up those stairs, the harder it is to find a seat on the bus, and the harder it is to walk sixteen miles in the pouring rain- just in case you have to. The best part? You can also avail of special airline discounts for light travelers with baggages that is less than 10 kilograms.

Mark Go of NomadicExperiences.com
Mark Go of NomadicExperiences.com

It might seem like a good idea to have so much stuff that you have a 100 kilo pack on your back and the smaller 40 kilo pack on the front, plus two bags in each of your hands, but you know what? It’s not a good idea. Plus, you look like a tool desperately in search for a relocation.

What do you need? That’s really a personal decision. What don’t you need? About 95% of the stuff you actually think you need. If you want to travel light and right, you need to focus on the 95% and get rid of it as soon as possible. Trust me, you will be able to find another coffee cup wherever you go.

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