I recently read a Huffington Post article by Rick Steves on how he lived out of two carry on bags for two months and I was amazed. And then, I was resolved. I concluded that we are in no way alike. On average, I’m not someone who subscribes to packing light.
Steves remarks, “there are two kinds of people you meet on the road in Europe: those who pack light, and those who wish they’d packed light.” To be more of a generalist, I’d say that there are two types of travelers, ones who pack light and ones who don’t have a problem not packing light!
I. Don’t. Pack. Light. This is who I am.
I’m totally adept at packing light. I’ve done it before. Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the trip, I’ll most likely do it again. Like Steves says, I take a look at my itinerary to see how mobile I’m going to be. Steves notes, “if I’m going to be changing cities every couple of days and using public transportation (trains and buses) rather than a car, I get serious about mobility and packing light.”
I totally get that. Last November, when I traveled to London, I had to take the Tube to a bus to my accommodations, which were located in a neighborhood called Greenwich. It was on the complete opposite side of town from Heathrow airport. One-way cab fare would have cost me $100. With my luggage, a cab seemed like my only option and I almost kicked myself in the foot for not looking at the journey before I packed. And then, I got over it. My bags weren’t oppressively heavy, just a little cumbersome for public transportation. I wasn’t the only one on the train pulling check-in sized luggage pieces.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t like forgetting ish! It irks me to no end. I don’t like being on a vacation or a trip wishing that I had packed something that I talked myself out of taking. I’m cool with having extras. It makes me feel more secure – secure that I have everything that I need; secure that I don’t have to run to the store to spend extra money buying something that I already own.
I pack just enough to make weight at the airport (if I decide to check in my bags), but leave a little room in my luggage for things that I pick up along the way.
I never know what I want to wear because I don’t know what the journey is going to bring me. I can plan for the basics like walking, swimming, dancing, and dining – mind you, all of these events need totally different outfits – but I don’t know what adventures lay before me. It might rain – I need specific clothes for that. It might be hotter than I expected – I need to change clothes twice a day for that. I might meet some dignitary – I most certainly need a nice dress for that. Okay, okay, so maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch but hey, you never know. I travel with slight excess. I know it. I love it. And I don’t mind it.
If I’m traveling with my kids, forget about it! If I could fit their bathtub in my luggage, I’d take it. And to be honest, when they were babies, I always traveled with a blow-up tub to bathe them in while we stayed at hotels. Oddly enough, “bathing a baby while traveling” is a common search on my site.
When we traveled to the Cayman Islands as a family, I even used Space Bags To Go so that I could get more stuff in our suitcase. It was a great way to keep the boys’ clothes compartmentalized and allowed room for me to pack other items in the bag.
Even though I might take an outfit or two more than I may need, I don’t see myself as an over-packer. I count out my outfits for my days and pack miniature toiletries that I can finish up and throw away.
I’m so meticulous about my packing, that I created packing list cards for the family. There’s a card for baby, a card for mommy, a card for kiddo, and a card for daddy. I’m sure Rick Steves’ packing list looks nothing like the one I created for dads.
I get it. He’s a simple guy. His needs are minimal when he’s on the road and has to switch cities often. Even still, I’m not sure I’d be okay with only two pairs of shoes. Guess he’s not going out dancing while he’s in Europe.
Two types of travelers: the light packer and the leave-nothing-behind packer. There’s nothing wrong with either traveler – They’re just different.
So, what type of traveler are you?