Top Tips: How to Pack Light for Long-Term Travel

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A few months weeks ago, I would have laughed square in your face if you’d have told me I’d only be taking hand-luggage away with me for 6+ months.

PAH! What? Me? The girl who less-than-elegantly dragged a 20kg wheelie-case around the rugged streets of Bangkok?

…that I’d somehow manage to choose a small selection of clothes, cram my junk into a lowly rucksack and trek around with the remnants of my life strapped to my back.

HAHA! That’s hilarious! Geez Louise! Don’t make me chuckle.

Well check me and my snazzy GIF. I’ve actually mastered it, this wee beauty weighs in at just under 9kg and is within my hand baggage allowance! No cheats, tricks or undetectable extension charms required.

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Here’s how.


1. Let’s start with the ‘basics’ 

Remember my last trying-to-be-fashion but-not-fashion post, aka. What I wore in Thailand? I mentioned the relativity of ‘basics’… but without trying to sound like an astrophysics theorist (Stevey Hawking ain’t got nothin’ on me) it’s simply packing a few staple items which all compliment each other.

Take this green jumper (Gryffindor scarf, totes neccessary). I’ve pretty much been wearing it for the past 3 weeks straight, my long-suffering friends can confirm. Gross, I know… but also hugely practical for packing light.

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*Disclaimer: I have washed it, once a couple of times.

It’s ideal for wearing to the airport (spring not quite having sprung yet in the UK), using as a pillow on the plane, covering up in the evenings and it goes with everything in my travel wardrobe, so this green knit will be my little lifesaver.

2. The ‘two’ rule

The two rule; is basically what it says on the tin. I’ve tried to stick to maximum of two of each item of clothing (apart from underwear, because I’m not an utter hobo) and if I go over that limit, I have to forfeit something else.

Simple really.

Think of it like Noah’s Ark, for my rucksack. I’m choosing the cream of the crop and in the event of a giant flood which covers the earth, I’ll be able to pro-create every item in my wardrobe from scratch… obvs.

Bible analogies aside, I’ve managed to stick to it, more or less…

OK, OK, my only downfall was t-shirts – *cough* I have 6. But I did give up my gorgeous floral Urban Outfitters dress and Zara skirt in penance. So let’s call it quits, shall we?

3. The thrifty girl’s equivalent of travel cubes… a laptop case!

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Way back when, this leopard print number housed my retro Sony Vaio. It was an absolute steal from a Primark sale, about £1 if I remember rightly, so it’s safe to say that leopard print + bargain ahoy, didn’t take much any persuading.

My ol’ buddy Viao may have joined my PS1 and dance mat in techno-heaven, but I clung on to this little guy in the hope that we’d be able to come to some sort of arrangement, which didn’t involve chunky lego laptops. IMG_0155 Loe and behold, I’ve condensed 3 pairs of trousers, 6 x tops, 2 x shorts, 1 dress, 1 skirt and a pair of pyjamas into just a third of the size of my backpack – and at a 20th of the price of buying a packing cube.

You do the maths. Pfft, travel cubes, ssschmavel cubes.

Using a laptop case = less agro and more pennies/yuan/yen for sushi and noodles, plus it matches my backpack!

High fives all round!

4. Fill your boots brogues!

Don’t forget about the fresh spare air in your shoes! You can cram all sorts of things in there! From travel plugs to socks (duly demonstrated below, if it wasn’t already obvious how to pack shoes…).

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5. Bare necessities

Say hello to my minimalist in-flight / makeshift first-aid kit.

In that deceptively small Emirates case which, you guessed it, I nabbed as a freebie from another flight – holds an oracle of stuff that could save me from illness, sleepless nights and overall insanity.

And it’s the perfect travel size for popping in my bag and taking on my everyday adventures.

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The Essentials List:

Earphones (for blocking out kids, noisy eating, screaming babies)

Earphone adapter (for every variety of those pesky plane plugs)

2 x Padlocks (cos thieves can piss off)

Eyemask (for sleepless hostel nights or people I don’t want to see)

Plasters (for paper cuts, grazed knees, blisters – basically every kind of cut)

Echinacea (illness, be gone!)

Diarrea tablets (errr…)

Comb (keeping my untameable mane in check)

Bobbles (when the comb fails, and you just gotta whap it back)

Kirby grips (when you’ve lost all hope of a good hair day)

Tweasers (cos monobrows aren’t sexy, even on Katy Perry)

Mirror (for when I have nobody else to talk to)

…And that adorable panda – is actually a rape alarm

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