Back in the day, we both had 70L, top-loading backpacks. We would stuff them, because the more room you have, the more you take. And if you were traveling for weeks, you needed to bring three weeks worth of toiletries with you, right? Well, we learned. Top loading backpacks are annoying, toiletries get heavy, and that shower is also good for laundry. In fact, we nowadays travel with mostly hand luggage. For our six month trip coming up in December, we’ll travel with 40L only. Traveling light is not complicated when you have a packing list of essentials ready!
No more big backpacks for us! When we started shopping around for new ones, we knew we wanted 45L max. It had to be front loading and needed a secure space for a laptop. We didn’t even have to search for too long before we settled on this one. The Thule Landmark is a 40L backpack and opens in front. The main compartment is not divided into smaller ones, but does have a secret pouch for your passport and cash. The straps can be tucked away, and, important, it has a safe zone on top. On a lot or airlines, this one even qualifies as carryon. No waiting at the belt!
- Chubby people unite! Seriously, we still wanna wear cute dresses and skirts without burning up the thighs. (honestly, I’ve never not had a thigh gap). Cera Ve helps me through the hot and sticky days!
- Rather than taking bottled shampoo, we swear by shampoo bars. They last long, do not take up a lot of space and this one is chemical free and vegan friendly.
- Deodorant comes in bars too! Added bonus: they don’t count against your liquid allowance for carryon luggage.
- Don’t forget sunscreen, people!
- A foldable hairbrush
- The only piece of makeup I allow myself to take is my Lancôme mascara.
There is no other makeup on this list, and neither are things like cotton pads, perfumes or ‘luxuries’. Everything can be bought on location, but how much do you really need?
- A Solar charger. When you’re in remote areas, or there are no outlets for whatever reason, this will still allow you to charge your camera, phone or pc. This one has 4 panels, 2 inputs and 2 outputs.
- A universal adapter. Can’t travel without one!
- Rather than packing cubes, we use vacuum travel bags. It is unbelievable how much space they save! We never travel without them.
- A sleeping bag liner. We use them for hostels and beds with questionable hygiene!
- A collapsible water bottle. Between single use plastic bottles and hard plastic bottles that take up space, these foldable ones are super easy to stash when they’re not being used.
- A microfiber towel, for when they don’t come with the room and who’s got time and space for bulky, slow drying cotton ones?
- Earplugs. Can’t do without them! Being light sleepers, everything bothers us. Noisy hotels, crying kids on an airplane, you name it. These save the day, otherwise know as our moods…
- The stuff you hope not to use: a first aid kit.
- Travel locks
- A mini flashlight. I’ll be honest, it gets dark out there when you have to go out to pee in the middle of the night!
There you have it. Obviously we take clothes (ha!) but we don’t really take a lot more ‘extra’ things than what’s listed above. It has taken some practice and trial and error (and sometimes still does) but we have a relaxed approach about it.
There we have it; packing the essentials for light traveling. Let us know what you can’t do without!
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