When I talk about traveling light I mean both physically and emotionally. Remember you have to carry whatever you take with you for the entire trip.
Packing:I keep a master travel supply list on my computer that I print out before each trip. It has everything from shampoo to my phone charger and includes domestic and international travel needs. Then depending on my destination I adjust the list so I have all the essentials I know I will need.
Now here is where it gets a little tricky, deciding how much to take. Most of us feel that we need different outfits, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, personal products etc. This adds up very quickly and before you know it you are trying to walk over the Grand Canal in Italy with bags that you would rather toss than carry one more step. I learned my lesson and will never, ever do it again. It’s not easy and I still have the inclination to bring more than I really need but all I have to do is think about that trip and it stops me.
I take a rolling backpack and one small shoulder bag for plane incidentals on all of my trips now. I can’t tell you how many places you cannot roll a suitcase or what happens if the wheels or handle breaks. Trying to carry it up stairs (and there will always be stairs), on and off of buses and trains, through the mud or over those beautiful cobblestone streets will exhaust you before your trip even begins.
For my clothes, I always pick a color scheme that I can mix and match with everything I am taking. No one offs – I don’t care how beautiful that designer blouse is, if I can’t wear it with at least 3 things I cannot bring it. If you stick to dark color basics like Black for your skirts, jeans and slacks you can add blouses, scarves and sweaters to make entirely different outfits. Everything, even the scarf has to do double or triple duty. I lay everything I want to take out on my bed – making sure I like what I have and that it all goes together. Then I try to pack my bag – usually I find it is full before I even get my shoes or shampoo in there so I know I have to pare down. Don’t panic – it might take a few tries before you get it down. I just got back from 2 weeks in Europe and found I actually had things I did not use! Also it helps to remember that unless you are going into the wild you will have access to buy anything you might have forgotten.
Traveling can be very stressful and usually it is what we are trying to get away from when we go away. I try to spend some time thinking about what a great experience I am going to have and that I will be happy with whatever I encounter along the way. Sometimes this is easier said than done but it does help me to set my intention and really enjoy my trip.
Whether it is for work or play I find that I will have a good time if I remember to travel light!
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