Ready to ditch your suitcase for a backpack? In this serie of articles “Pack what?” Princess & Backpacker help you pick carefully the lucky items that will travel with you. Let’s start with clothes.
First of all you need to understand something a bit contradictory : when you travel your bag is all you have but you should not rely on it too much. Here are the two golden rules to follow :
– travel light : ideally your bag should weight less than 10 kilos because you are going to carry it in many different situations.
– low value : do not take anything you care about. While packing, remember your bag might get lost or stolen. Needless to say, do not take anything that could be broken.
Keeping that in mind let’s have a look at the list :
– clothes : in terms of clothes take enough to last a week without having to wash anything, don’t take anything too fragile or fancy as you might give them to the laundry or wash your clothes in hostels’ sinks. Take clothes in which you feel comfortable. Keep it simple, materials that don’t need ironing – cotton is my favourite as it allows your skin to breathe in hot climates – and plain colours that you can combine together easily. Personally I like to wear black, it is less delicate to wash and easier to keep clean. White is not an option.
Pack the following :
– 7 underwear, 7 pairs of socks (short for when it’s hot and long for when you walk in the woods, jungle or insect-infested areas).
– 1 legging or jogging, 1 comfortable and light pants (linen is great, cotton too), 1 pair of jeans and if you want one dress/shorts that you can wear to the beach / to party / to party at the beach.
– 7 comfortable tops including 1 long sleeves t-shirt and 1 less casual top.
– 1 raincoat (mine was pink #victimofsocialconditioing and I used it a lot during the moonsoon) and 1 sweater: the Backpacker is very specific on that, he would only consider a zip up hoodie as it can allow you to sleep in areas that are not so clean (trains, buses or under the stars in the sand like we did in the Thar desert in Jaisalmer, India.
– take a scarf as well for air-conditioned places. We really used it a lot in public transportation, restaurants, malls etc. Asian people LOVE their AC (even more than Americans!).
– shoes : 1 pair of flip flops for dirty bathrooms and/or the beach, 1 pair of comfortable trainers and 1 pair of sandals/light shoes in which you can walk and also go out (again black is more discreet and stay clean more easily).
Among all that, make sure to have one very comfortable outfit to travel in trains/buses, one outfit for special occasions (in case you are invited to a fancy reception) and one emergency outfit that you keep with you at all times in case something happens and you need to change or in case your backpack gets lost.
What’s great when traveling with a bag is that you can move faster, you don’t have to lift anything when there are stairs. If you remember the two golden rules, your bag will not be a source of worry but a source of freedom and detachment from material things.
So yes, packing is worth the headache ! And don’t worry if you really (but like REALLY) miss something you can always buy it when traveling. Have fun!