How To Travel Long Term With Only Hand Luggage
As airlines continue to raise the prices of additional options such as checked baggage, it can be more expensive than ever to travel long term. By packing light, you not only save on costs, but you can also avoid being separated from your valuables on coaches and trains and can avoid muscle soreness from carrying heavy luggage around. Many people will panic at the idea of taking only hand luggage away with them, but there are some tricks that make it very possible, and it can be very liberating when you manage it. Read on for some helpful tips.
Take lightweight clothing
Clothing and footwear take up a lot of space in your luggage and being clever about the outfits you choose can make an enormous difference to this. Light sportswear and similar clothing such as leggings can be extremely light in your bag, and if you choose clothes that are quick-drying then it can also mean you can bring fewer changes with you, as you will be able turn around laundry faster. When it comes to shoes, there are only two that are essential: a good pair of walking shoes for when you are exploring; and a pair of flip flops for when you are relaxing (and for hostel showers) – all others are luxury items. Many people also invest in packing cubes to compress down the space the clothes take up, but rolling clothes up tight and pushing them down works well, too.
Printing documents can take up a lot of time and space in your bag, and they are also bad for the planet. It is always a clever idea to take a photocopy of your passport and travel insurance schedule in case of emergency, but outside of this, everything else can normally be used digitally. It is worth checking that no visa or entry documents must be presented on paper only, but most services are run by barcode scanning now, and most tour operators will not even ask for your printable voucher – they will simply check your name on their register. Google Drive is an example of one of many useful cloud services that you can use to store all your tickets and important documents, and access them anywhere in the world.
It is not obvious, but the packaging of all your bits and pieces (including medicines) can take up a lot of space in your baggage, and simply removing the packaging could make a significant difference. Just make sure that you don’t need to show the packaging in order to comply with check-in rules at customs. For example, it is best to wait to remove medical packaging until you are already in your destination.
Give up luxury toiletries
Toiletries are not only likely to be the heaviest part of your bag, but you also have restrictions on how much liquid you can take through the airport anyway. When you carefully consider your toiletries, what is actually essential? It could be argued that soap, toothpaste, sun protection, and perhaps deodorant are the only essentials – the fancy moisturizers, make-up, and serums are not needed for a good travel experience, and even shampoo can be swapped out for a standard bar of soap. If you are staying in some of the best long term stay hotels, soaps and shampoo will be there for you so don’t waste space in your bag on that. If you get desperate, you can always buy some at your destination, or wait until you spend a night in a hotel where you will get it in a smaller bottle. It will be a treat to look forward to.
It is certain that long-term travel with only hand luggage can be achieved, but it comes down to what sacrifices you are willing to make.