Monday, August 8, 2011

6 Reasons NOT to Travel Light

So I read travel blogs like priests read the Bible. Not being Catholic, I'm assuming that's a lot, right? If it is, then my analogy works quite well.
I have seen countless blogs that admonish travelers to "travel light" and pack just one pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. I rather enjoy the blogs that list out what they pack or show pictures. While cutting down the number of items you bring when you travel around the world for a year makes all the sense in the world, when you are traveling for just a few weeks, I think it actually makes less sense.
So, I'm calling BS on the pack light philosophy when it comes to short term travel.
Here's why I think you should pack more:
1. You can.
     With a shorter trip, you usually aren't lugging  your bags around too many places. On my last trip, we visited four cities. One of my traveling companions packed way too much and struggled each time we had move our bags; it actually became a real sore spot for her when people commented on the heaviness of her luggage, much to my amusement. I don't recommend traveling like a diva but one medium size piece of luggage, especially if it has wheels, is just right. I had zero issues bringing mine from place to place.
2. You will be taking lots of pictures.
     Ok, maybe this is vain and frivolous but it's also reality. On a shorter trip, where you are sightseeing most days, you are likely to get pictures of yourself in front of different landmarks each day. Aside from looking good in those pics, it's actually really handy to be able to remember what you did each day based on the outfit. Silly? Maybe, but it works! When you are seeing a number of sights in a short period of time, it can be really helpful to follow your timeline based on the outfit of the day.
3. You want to have the right outfit for each occassion.
    Again, if you are traveling for a year, it makes sense to make do with one dressy dress for assorted occasions. When you are traveling for 4 weeks or less, you can spare room for a couple dressier outfits. If playing dress up isn't your thing, you can also splurge by bringing your actual hiking boots instead of getting by in your sneakers.
4. You can be clean!
    Face it. We all know that tops get dirtier than bottoms. Your armpits touch your t-shirt but you have underwear on (hopefully!) to safeguard your jeans. Therefore, the key is to keep some things basic: just a couple of basic bottoms can be changed out with lots of fresh tops or just one pair of dressy shoes can be worn with both of your dressy outfits.Then you have plenty of room left for a different shirt every day!
5. You might not have a way or the time to clean and dry your clothes.
    When you travel for long durations, you are actually more likely to have time to wash out your skivvies and leave them to dry. When you are doing a shorter trip, you are likely trying to cram in more activity or to soak in the ambiance as much as possible. I think it's something about the impending return to work and stresses at home that makes you want to use up every inch of your vacation. For some people, that means as much time running around snapping photos, for some it's relaxing as much as possible. But ultimately, you are on the go.
6. To reiterate, BECAUSE YOU CAN.
    Laundry is what you do at home when you are wishing you were traveling.


  1. I completely agree with your views on packing for two week trips. I am a firm believer in bringing loads of tops because you can change your look so easily with a number of tops. I think the "one pair of underwear" people will probably always pack that way, but it never makes sense to me, because like you said, you can.

  2. Number two is totally true! I always remember the different days of my vacation by what I was wearing. I try not to over pack, but I prefer to have options, rather than be limited to what I have to wear.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.
    Sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet because I don't ever pack light. Reading this confirms there are others who are like-minded. I agree with Suzy and Danielle above :)

  4. I agree, I try to pack light enough that I'm not annoyed by my bag, but I also make sure that I bring accessories like sweaters or different other things so that I don't look the same all the time, etc. If I have the room for it, I'm bringing it! :)

  5. I never even thought about this but I totally pack heavier when I'm just travelling for a short time. Right now, I'm travelling for 3 months and it is the lightest I have ever packed. But for 3 weeks in Turkey last year I had tonnes more stuff... and I looked so much better :)

    I really enjoyed your post... an answer to the pack-lighterers of this world :)

  6. I'd like to feature this post as my Post of the Week tomorrow. Love the honest and practical opinion. Not shame in wanting to be comfortable and sensible.