Many people correspond the length of a trip to the amount of stuff they have to pack in their luggage. The truth is that you can’t efficiently pack more things than you can use over a 1-2 week period. Whether you’re headed for a week-long holiday or visiting family for several months, you don’t need to carry much more than you can use over 10 days.


Over-packing Takes Away From Your Travels Before You Arrive

Over-packing so you’ll be prepared for a trip wastes the time you have at home – spending hours trying to get every single thing ready before you leave. Despite how much prepare, you’re bound to need something you forgot and won’t use many of the little travel goodies you’ve spent money on.

  • The World Is Small – You can buy just about anything from the larger towns and cities in most countries around the world.
  • Lighter – Don’t neglect the weight of your suitcase or backpack, which won’t look too heavy sitting on your bedroom floor. Aside from the strain on your back, you might end up paying a number of fees for going over luggage limits so put your backpack on a diet.
  • Cost Of Time Over Money – It might be well within your budget to purchase every type of clothing for any kind of weather, but you can’t buy time. That’s time spent researching every possible contingency, searching for the absolute best deals online, or going back and forth to every store under the sun.
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over-packed group

The physical weight of all the items you carry isn’t nearly as big of a burden as the mental stress of trying to remember it all. Not to mention you’ll also spend quite a bit of time re-packing once you’re ready to leave. You’re travels are better spent doing the things you love – traveling, eating danishes in Denmark, climbing volcanoes…whatever it may be. (I bet you wouldn’t put packing on that list.)

one week written on finger1-2 Weeks Is The Sweet Spot

Traveling (for most people) isn’t equivalent to moving to a new house. You’re taking a temporary supply of the clothes, electronics, and books you want to use and enjoy while away from home. What you pack before you leave on a trip isn’t absolute – it’s not like you’ve only got one chance to get it right or face catastrophe. People wear clothes and use toothpaste all over the world, you’ll find any essential items at stores no matter where your flight happens to land.

  • Do Laundry – Washing your clothes (or having someone do it for you at a hotel) once every 10 days isn’t torture. Facilities can be found just about everywhere and you can even wash your clothes in the shower or bathtub.
  • Take Only What You Need – It seems basic, but what are the things you’ll use more than once on a 1 week trip? Start narrowing down from there and stick to a single carry-on.
  • Mix And Match Outfits – A few pants, shirts, accessories, plus plenty of socks and underwear can still do wonders for your wardrobe.
  • You Are Not Packing For The Rest Of Your Life – We tend to use things in a cyclical fashion, think about your daily routine at home. Do you wear every single outfit in your closet, or do you have some favorites?
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I’m willing to bet that you’d need to replenish essential supplies in your house within 2 weeks, but could probably last an entire season or two with a jacket, 5 shirts, and 3 pair of pants, plus 10 pair of underwear and socks.

Missing The Destination By Packing Your Home

Most of the most memorable events and culturally insightful anecdotes you’ll come across traveling happen during the ordinary. Going to a local market to find a necklace, stopping by a small shop to get toothpaste, or washing your clothes like the locals do is similar, but not the same as it is back home. Each culture takes human-common things and crafts them under their own lens.

Yes, people around the world wash clothes, go to grocery stores, and drink Coca-Cola, but how they do so reflects their culture and perhaps yours. If you’re packing to bring home with you, it’s possible you could be missing out on seeing anything else, and carrying more baggage than you think.

[photos by: Cayusa (over-packing), downtownBLUE (over-packed group), ohmann alianne (one week written on finger)]