As a person who loves to travel, I am constantly refining what I bring, how I pack and what gear works best for me. And as we all know, it’s easier to travel as lightly as possible. In the last 12 months I have been to Italy, Belize and Thailand. So here are my tips for what to bring when you travel.
Only a Backpack. You don’t need anything bigger. It should be able to hold a weeks worth of clothes, your toiletry kit and any emergency gear you may need. I currently use a 26 Liter Marmot bag. I love this bag because of the way it zips. If you lay this bag down you can zip it all the way open from top to bottom just like a suitcase. My old backpack only opened at the top and I had to dig all the way to the bottom to reach things – no bueno. My Marmot also has 3 external expandable storage compartments and one zipper compartment. Inside there is also a laptop compartment and another zipper compartment.
Although this bag has gone with me to Italy, Belize and Thailand I do wish it was just a little bit bigger. Maybe about 36 Liters. But then, I am a girl and I do have trouble limiting my clothing choices sometimes! It’s a work in progress people!
My Favorite Yoga Mat. I love my Manduka Yoga Mat. I have had this mat for about 4 yeas now and it has no signs of wear at all. It has just the right amount of cushion and rolls up perfectly to fit in the storage straps on the side of my backpack! I know it’s extra weight to bring a yoga mat with you but I find that it’s worth it. I can roll my mat out in my hotel room, in a park or where ever I may be. It’s like bringing a little piece of home with me AND it reminds me to practice.
A Well Stocked Toiletries Bag. When I travel I want to make sure that I have everything I need. Of course, sometimes you will stay with friends and they have soap and shampoo but it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case. You never know when you or a fellow traveler might need a band-aid, or a bit of lotion. Of course bring the basics: deodorant, shampoo, a razor etc….but remember to keep the bag small because it’s going to take up room in your backpack. Keep makeup to a minimum.
Good Walking Shoes. I really learned my lesson here. when I went to Italy I wanted to have “cute” shoes. So right before I left on my trip I went out and bought a pair of black slip-on walking shoes. They were a famous brand known to all sports lovers so I thought I would good. About two days into the trip the shoes started cutting into my heels and made walking miserable! So my advice is to forget cute shoes – go for COMFORT! Especially if you are going to be touring and walking a lot! No one is going to remember your shoes but you will sure remember if your feet were killing you the whole time!
Versatile Clothing. The more function clothing has the better. I bring pants that can roll up into Capri length. Shirts that can be layered, Swimming shorts that can be worn for hiking etc. Consider fabrics as well. Denim jeans takes forever to dry if you are hand washing your own things. Opt for easy lightweight layers and a fleece jacket for warmth. Pay attention to the customs in the area you will be traveling. Shorts and tank tops are not acceptable in many places of worship so be sure to bring something modest (covering your shoulders and knees). Women may also need to bring a scarf to cover their head.
A Good Attitude. As a women who has travelled alone I find that a good attitude and a smile are great things to bring with you. Most people are friendly and want to help. A smile goes a long way. Learning a bit of the language is helpful also. On my recent trip to Italy I spent the day alone in Florence and wanted to get my hair cut. I went into a salon and was treated with great respect. The hair dresser spoke little English and I spoke very little Italian but I got the best cut and style I’ve ever had. In fact, when our tour leader saw me my hair was the first thing she noticed! She said even Italian women have a hard time getting what they wanted at the salon. I told her I just trusted him to take good care of me. It’s one of my favorite memories of Italy! Be kind, smile and ask for help, ask questions, be brave – you can do it!
That’s it for now. Up next will be a quick tutorial about what I actually pack in my backpack. Until then remember to Live Simply, Breathe Deeply & Travel Lightly!
This is Italy – those awful shoes!