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The travel light phenomenon: Can it be done?

Packing light is possible and offers plenty of benefits. Picture: Pexels.

Packing light is possible and offers plenty of benefits. Picture: Pexels.

Published Nov 15, 2021


"Where's your suitcase?" I asked a fellow traveller during an overnight trip at a Cape Town hotel a few years ago.

"Here it is," she tapped her tiny shoulder bag.

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"I have everything I need right here," she smiled.

I stood there embarrassed for myself as I clutched onto a laptop bag and a mid-sized suitcase with outfit options that I would never use.

I've never been good at packing light. I am the type of traveller who tends to pack more rather than less. Of course, packing this way has many downsides, especially if you do not have people assisting you with your luggage.

Over the years, I found that packing light is possible and offers plenty of benefits. It wasn't easy to adjust to minimal packing at first. However, with practice, it became second nature.

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Whenever I pack for my trips now, I ask myself two questions: "Do you really need this?" and "Can you reuse clothes instead of packing more?"

Most travellers pack according to their destination and travel times.

For example, if it is for an overnight trip, pack a duffle bag that can store your sleepwear, a set of clothing for the next day and toiletries.

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If it is for a few days, a carry on suitcase, not exceeding more than 7 kilograms, is accepted. For longer than five days, pack a larger suitcase. Try not to over-pack if you want to shop at the destination.

Packing the essentials

Travelling light can come with its own challenges, and if you do not pack correctly, you may have to fork out extra for clothing at your destination. Light packers usually carry clothing items like a jacket (for when it gets cold), a pair of jeans or joggers, some T-shirts and hiking boots or sneakers, depending on the style of the trip.

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They also bring a travel wallet to store their passport, cash and other valuable documents.

Buy at the destination

If you want to travel light and avoid those excessive baggage costs, why not shop at your destination?

Thrift shopping is popular for travellers who want to go green and reduce waste. It also supports the locals, and you can bag stunning pieces at low prices. Travellers usually wear them at the destination and donate them afterwards.

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