I love to travel. I pride myself on sharing how many countries I’ve visited. I gave my sister a passport for Christmas to encourage her to experience the same excitement and adventure I have. This also gave me an opportunity to share tips with her on things I’ve learned over many years and many miles. One thing that causes great controversy, but I am adamant about is traveling light.
Keep Luggage Light
There are some ways to keep your luggage light and by doing so, you greatly improve your experience. Five excellent tips to travel light include using the right luggage, sharing luggage space with fellow travelers, pack light, bring the right clothes and the most efficient devices. All of these things can keep your packing needs low and this matters. When you are a novice traveler, it is normal to want to bring your whole house with you. There is a level of comfort that you are leaving behind and having your stuff provides comfort that you won’t do without.
Purchase Needed Items at Your Destination
However, a seasoned traveler learns that they can get stuff at their destination. And it isn’t a cost saving measure to bring stuff if you have to pay for more luggage on your flights. Know that you can get toothpaste, toothbrushes, underwear, socks, etc. wherever you go. It even makes sense at times to buy something that turns out to be disposable that you wouldn’t consider as such under different circumstances.
For example, on a recent trip to Mexico, I ran out of clean shirts and wasn’t in a position to do laundry. I bought a $2 shirt from a local store. Do I like this shirt? No. But it allowed me to sit in my seat in the airplane without worrying that my shirt’s stink was offending everyone within a few feet. Also, packing things like flip flops and sunglasses to a tropical destination is just a waste of space and an invitation to get your stuff lost or stolen. They sell flip flops and sunglasses for practically nothing in most sunny destinations.
Storage At Home
How you pack at home matters too. When I went on a lengthy trip, I stored my stuff. Instead of burdening my friend’s garage with my television, record collection and various personal items, I paid for a storage unit. One thing I learned was that I should have paid for climate controlled storage. Because I was gone long enough for my local weather to change from hot to cold, the contents of my storage unit were subjected to extreme conditions.
This caused me to lose technology and some records because they got too hot and too cold. These changes warped my records and caused condensation to ruin some of my electronics. If your things are valuable enough to pay for storage, they are valuable enough to store them properly.
Learn The Language
And finally, I advised my sister to learn some key phrases in whatever language is used where you travel. My experience is, you can’t learn every language, but you can learn to ask where the bathroom is. You can learn to ask for the check in a restaurant. You can learn to ask the questions: where, when, what, how and why.
When you do this, you will often discover locals speak English, and they are more willing to when you try to speak their language. Especially when you speak it poorly and they can help the situation by speaking English. You discover how well you innately pantomime and express yourself without language, when you try to communicate in a foreign language. This can be stressful, but also fun and part of why travel is enriching.
As my sister plots her first trip abroad, it has been fun conversing about travel. Little things that come up are often surprising, like using climate controlled storage and not packing flip flops to go to the beach, even though you will wear them often. What’s been the most fun is seeing my sister’s face light up as she considers different activities she can experience in different locations.
This creates the problem, where to? Should she go to Mexico and snorkel in underground caves or walk the Inca Trail in Peru? Should she eat guinea pig or try Lomo Saltado or stick to foods that are more familiar?
All of these things will be experienced as my sister begins her foreign travels. And as she goes, she will add to the wisdom acquired by travel. I’m excited for the opportunity for her to advise me on how to travel through a particular region where she has gone and I haven’t. Turning the tables in such a way would truly make this year’s Christmas present a home run.