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Published on May 22, 2018

Traveling light: our advice

By Salut Ciao Bye

Are your vacations soon, or are you planning a trip? What should one bring in their luggage? I honestly think that travelling light should be a basic rule when going on a trip. Whatever the type of trip planned or the destination, good luggage planning is a valuable piece of advice for a successful trip.

There are many advantages to travelling light, especially when it comes to air travel. By bringing a single backpack or carry-on baggage and a small backpack for personal effects, you will save time at your arrival by avoiding the carousel. You are reducing the risk of losing your baggage, especially if you have multiple transfers and potential damage that could be caused by rough handling of suitcases.

Depending on the airline, you will also save on the cost of checking-in your baggage, a practice that is increasingly common.
Once you reach your destination, if you have to walk to go from one place to the other over the course of your trip, the weight of your baggage will greatly influence your well-being. Travelling light will allow you to experience life in a different way, using means of transportation that are inaccessible to heavily laden travellers.

Preparation: the most important step

Packing your luggage is not only a pleasant step, it is also the most important and the most strategic one of your trip. It is essential to carefully plan it out in order to make the right choices, to determine what is necessary and what is not. Since clothes take up the most space and contribute the most to the weight of the luggage, it is necessary to reduce its quantity, if you want to travel light.

Ultimately, clothing serves no purpose other than to protect you from the elements and weather conditions of the places you will visit. The type of trip, the activities you will do, the destination, the climate, the season and the duration of your trip will have to be taken into account and should heavily weigh in when choosing which clothes to bring. Contrary to popular belief, you really don't need a lot of clothes.

Four rules to properly prepare your bag

1. Choose versatile and well-fitting clothes. Mixing and matching clothes will allow you to wear each piece several times. Their versatility will make them suitable for all occasions and in various contexts.

2. Choose a colour palette. Go with neutral colours that can easily be combined. Grey and beige are very adaptable colours. Darker colours are also good options because they don't get soiled as fast. A few brightly coloured pieces will complement your wardrobe.

3. Use the multilayer system to get maximum efficiency with a minimum number of pieces. Well known to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, it is an effective strategy consisting of the combination of three layers of clothing that are worn one over the other and that can be removed or added depending on the climate. This concept is explained in a previous column.

4. Invest in high performance clothing. Technical apparel has the advantage of being light, reliable and aesthetic, while having the particularity of drying quickly. This is an important point if you get caught in the rain or want to do some laundry.

Travelling light means compromise!

The biggest challenge when travelling light is knowing what to bring and what to leave at home. This dilemma is inevitable: you want to be prepared for anything and for every occasion, while remaining as light as possible.

To inspire you, we drafted a list of items for men and women of what could be included in your suitcase or backpack on your next trip. Note that some of the recommended items could be useless to you, depending on the destination and the time of year. The recommended quantity for each item is in brackets. Feel free to add some pieces based on the length of your trip and the intention/possibility of doing laundry along the way. But remember this: the more clothes you add, the less you are "travelling light." It's all about compromise!

For her and him

  • Long stockings/socks (2 or 3 pairs) - Preferably made of merino or synthetic wool.
  • Short stockings/socks (2 or 3 pairs) - Here too, prefer models made of merino or synthetic wool. Depending on the destination, the quantity of long and short socks will vary.
  • T-shirts (2) - For her, perfect to wear under a sweater, with a skirt or jeans. For him, t-shirts can be worn alone or under a dress shirt. Opt for synthetic materials so that your t-shirts dry quickly. If travelling in cold regions, your t-shits should ideally be made of merino wool and you should at least carry one with long sleeves.
  • Hoodie - Perfect in cool and windy weather, it will give you a relaxed and casual look, and its hood will keep you warm. A classic when worn with jeans. However, just like jeans, they are often bulky and heavy. Choose a very light model, made of merino wool and equipped with a zipper or a dressier sweater that will be a little more versatile. A polar fleece jacket could also be a good option.
  • Waterproof coat or windbreaker - In order to choose your windbreaker, please refer to our article about the multilayer system when it comes to the outer layer (also known as the shell). To travel light, make sure that it is compactible so that it takes as little space as possible.
  • Ultra-light and thin jacket - Self-inflating synthetic insulators are to be preferred because they can be compressed without losing their insulating characteristics.
  • Poncho - For cases of torrential rain. It must be very light and compact.
  • Shoes (1 pair) - To travel light, you can bring only one pair of shoes. Walking shoes will be the most practical, especially if you travel on foot a lot. Ideally, they should be supportive and waterproof, or at least water resistant. Depending on the climate, you can choose to bring boots instead of walking shoes. For her, the Blundstone boot looks good with a dress, tights or jeans and will add a touch of style. For him, the Bushacre 2 boot from Clarks or the Blundstone 585 are both essentials for all adventurers.
  • Sandals (1 pair) - They are essential for showers, to go to the beach or even for sightseeing. Invest in trekking-type pair. Toe thongs are cheaper but less versatile since they are less comfortable and not really designed for long walks.
  • Cap or hat (1 or 2) - Highly recommended for sunburn protection.
  • Buff scarf (1 or 2) - There is a dozen different ways to wear this accessory. Multifunctional, practical and lightweight, it is an essential item for travellers. Whether used as a scarf around your neck, on your head as a headband, or as a mask to protect yourself from dust, this tubular accessory will add a punch of style to your look.
  • Sunglasses - In addition to protecting your eyes from the sun's rays and improving your vision, they will be very useful if you are riding a scooter or motorcycle. Remember to keep them in a rigid case.
  • Waterproof pants (1)
  • Beanie/light toque (1)
  • Neck tube/scarf (1)

Gloves (1 pair)

For her

  • Bras (2 or 3) - Two sports bras and one prettier model!
  • Panties/underwear (3 or 4 pairs)
  • Tights/leggings (1 or 2) - Worn under pants in cold weather, you will be glad you brought them. Being a versatile item, leggings can also be used as sports apparel when working out or as pajamas for cooler nights.
  • Dress (1) - For fancier or dressier outings.
  • Short sleeve shirt (1)
  • Long sleeve shirt (1) - It will protect you from the sun or serve as an intermediate layer, perfect in case of cooler temperatures.
  • Shorts (1 or 2) - Can be worn with a t-shirt for sleeping.
  • Trousers (1) - Light and wide. Choose your pants based on the activities planned. It will also be used for mosquito protection.
  • Jeans (1) - For a style that suits both casual and dressy contexts. Note: Jeans are heavy, bulky and take a long time to dry. You will have to choose between style and look, and weight and volume.
  • Swimsuit (1)
  • Scarf or tagelmust (1) - To wear as a regular scarf or as a shawl, it can also be used as a pillow, a blanket, a skirt, or to protect your head from the sun's rays.

For him

  • Boxers/underwear (3 or 4 pairs) - Choose merino wool underwear that dries relatively quickly, as you will wash them regularly. Note: Merino wool is known to fight odours (antibacterial) and to keep warm or cool depending on the temperature.
  • Long trousers (1 or 2 pairs) - Choose pants that are a little chicer and wrinkle resistant, which will prove very useful in occasions where a more formal dress code applies. In warm regions, a single pair will be sufficient and will serve as protection against mosquitoes. Note: Jeans are comfortable and very sleek, but come with several disadvantages. You'll have to make a compromise.
  • Light belt (1)
  • Shorts (1 or 2) - Tip: For your second pair of pants choose a convertible canvas or nylon model. That way, you'll only need one pair of shorts.
  • Swimsuit (1) - Tip: Get a swimsuit that can also be used as shorts and choose a model that has at least one pocket.
  • Polos (2) - Choose synthetic fabrics for quick drying.
  • Long sleeved shirt (1 or 2) - A long sleeved shirt will protect you from the sun and it will keep you warm in cooler temperatures. When combined with dressier pants, it can be worn for a dinner or a night out in a club or a bar.
About Salut Ciao Bye Travel, outdoors and camping enthusiasts

Shirley is a reporter, a communications specialist and a photography fanatic. Photographer, videographer and graphic artist, Vincent is an image creator. Travel, outdoors and camping enthusiasts, they live their passion on board their RV.

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