Travel light: Here are 10 ways

Andrew Robles

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Here are practical tips on how to travel light of weight and light of stress

TRAVEL LIGHT. Knowing how to travel light can save you from stress while you pursue adventures. Photo from Rimowa Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Travelling light isn’t just about surviving on the bare minimum of items that you can bring from home. Anyone can get through a trip to Batanes or Coron this summer with nothing more than the clothes on their back and an extra couple of thousand pesos in their wallet.

For experienced travellers, however, the art of travelling light is just as much a balance of money, time, and convenience as it is about physical weight.

Weekend warriors on a budget flight will appreciate the fact that they can save hundreds of pesos on check-in baggage if they pack everything they need in a carry-on bag. But the best part of travelling this way is the assurance of knowing that you’ll never have to be separated from any of your belongings while in transit.

Here are a few tips that will help you travel light of weight, light on the pocket, and light on stress.

1. Know the restrictions

Fortunately, bus and ferry companies in the Philippines are not very strict about excess bagage.

Filipinos have been known to bring surf boards on 8-hour buses to Bagasbas from Manila, and Scuba diving tanks on ferries to Puerto Gallera (including the tanks back when rentals were uncommon).

However, if you plan to travel by air this summer, make sure you check the weight and size restictions of your particular airline in order to avoid paying an excess baggage fee or paying a premium on the last minute purchase of check-in baggage.

Airlines, on the other hand, will not only restrict how much you can bring with you but what particular items you can and can’t bring on the flight. Umbrellas and any form of liquid above 100 ml are not allowed. Fortunately, buying a small umbrella and sachets of shampoo when you get to your destination will still come out cheaper more often than not.

2. Weigh your bags

It may seem like common sense but knowing an airline’s weight restrictions is useless if you don’t know how much your bag weighs until you get to the airport. Weigh your bag on the bathroom scale or consider buying a travel scale to help you avoid excess baggage charges.

If you’re travelling with a backpack, a good rule of thumb is to not let it exceed one-third of your bodyweight.

If you’re travelling with several people, you may want to distribute the weight equally amongst yourselves, especially on the return trip if you bought lots of pasalubong.

3. Travel-size your items

Keeping within the constrains of the 100 ml, limit for liquids for carry-on baggage, purchasing smaller versions or repackaging your toilitries into smaller containers will help you save a lot of space. Bring sachets instead of entire bottles of shampoo, bring travel packs of tissue instead of entire rolls of toilet paper, and remove the blisterpacks of medicine tablets from their bulky cardboard boxes before packing them.

4. Roll, don’t stack

Rolling your folded clothes, as opposed to stacking them on top of each other, will make them easier to compress if you roll them tight enough. Rolling also makes it easier to pick out a shirt from the pile without unpacking or messing up the rest of your clothes.

5. Invest in a travel towel

One of the largest commonly packed items you would normally pack is a fluffy, full-sized towel. In some cases, your towel can even fill up half of the space in your bag. If you’re not sure that the hotel or resort will provide one for you, then invest in a light weight, superabsorbant travel or sports towel this summer. These days, you can find one for as affordable as P300.

When in a pinch, a chamois sold at and automotive or hardware shop, or even a handtowel will do.

6. Get creative with use

A good traveller knows how to use a single item for multiple purposes. A Filipino favorite, for instance, is the malong, which can be used for extra layering in the cold, as a beach blanket, an extra bag, a towel, a dress or skirt for girls (and confident guys who can pull it off), a portable changing room, and probably much, much more.

7. Pack light, wear heavy

Anything that you’re wearing is another thing that you don’t have to pack (and doesn’t get weighed with your baggage at the airport). It’s a good idea to travel in the shoes, jeans, sweater and jacket that you’re going to use on your trip instead of making extra space for them in your bag.

8. Make a list

Making a list will not only help ensure that you bring everything you need, but also that you won’t bring anything you don’t need. One of the top reasons why people probably over-pack is because they feel underprepared and try compensate by bringing more stuff.

Avoid this by hashing out a list of things to bring and comparing it to the activities on your itinerary. Sit on your list for a week or two before your trip and go over it later to determine if each item is necessary.

Aside from clothing for every activity, don’t forget to put the following on your list:

  • Toiletries and sunblock
  • Medicine
  • Charger/s for your gadget/s
  • A light snack for the trip
  • Extra day-bag for short trips (so you can leave your main bag in your hotel room)
  • Travel documents, maps, and tickets
  • Passport or ID (Student ID’s can sometimes get you great discounts!)
  • Pen and paper
  • A copy of your itinerary and list of contact people/numbers
  • Small bills and coins if you plan to commute

9. Check it twice

You went through all that trouble to make a travel list, don’t let it go to waste by not checking your list twice!

Be sure to do a physical check and not just a mental one. You may remember packing your contact lens fluid but forgot that you unpacked it this morning to clean your lenses one last time.

Better to spend the extra 5 minutes checking your list again than to realize mid-trip that you forgot to pack that pair of Sponge Bob boxers!

10. Travel with an open mind

There’s no strict set of rules for packing light and much of it comes down to personal preference. If your goal, however, is to travel with a light disposition, then the most important thing to bring with you this summer is an open mind.

If something doesn’t go your way, then don’t just lock yourself in your hotel room until the trip is over. Be open to suggestions from local waiters, hotel staff, other tarvellers or whoever else you may cross paths with. Conversation is free and they may know a thing or two that guide books won’t tell you.

Some of the best adventures start out that way. –

Traveling light gives you an even better opportunity to appreciate the sights and sounds of a place or country. Enjoy your vacation even more by getting the best discounts on hotels and air fare here.

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