[This article has been updated from the one originally posted on March 18, 2018]
Many of us tend to overpack when traveling, and then regret carrying around so. much. STUFF! Here at Dragon in Your Pocket, we frequently see our clients lugging huge cases, bags, and backpacks, and missing the sights for worry over big bags.
But help is here! Our seasoned travelers and guides have put together this handy series of 3 posts to show you how to pack sparingly but comprehensively for trips lasting from one night to a month.
Start with a good, sturdy, and unusually colored piece of luggage. We like the 38-liter Gregory backpack, because it allows quick travel from place to place. The backpack has pockets on the waist belt for easy-to-reach snacks or equipment, two fine-mesh large pockets on the base sides (large enough for bottles & umbrellas), two smaller pockets on the top (for toiletries and papers), a sleeve inside laptop, and a zipper opening mid-pack, perfect for finding something at the bottom of the bag without emptying it. A rain hood is included. Several rolling suitcases are excellent, including Nomatic’s line.
Inside your bag, in addition to clothing, shoes, and undergarments, we suggest following:
Start with the Go Clean bag set, which comes complete with:
two shoe bags (essential to keep dirt off your clean clothes)
a laundry bag (also great for keeping the clean and dirty separate)
two stuff sacks, for all your random items that can easily get lost (or your delicate lingerie)
DIY laundry items make it easier to pack lightly and cut costs. I love my Scrubba, and can use it in the shower to wash clothes when I’m washing, on the occasion I’m in a rush. Super simple, you fill the bag with a couple pieces of clothing, soap, and water, rub, empty, add fresh water to rinse, and you’re finished in a flash! A clothesline is useful though you can often drape your wash over radiators or bathroom rods for drying. Ad\s for detergent, I’ve had good results with Sea to Summit Travel Laundry Soap (comes in a 3 oz. bottle of highly concentrated liquid).
A good toiletries bag goes a long way in simplifying travel. My go-to bag is a TSA-approved Nalgene’s clear bag. Perfectly sized to use as your carry-on clear liquids bag, this transparent bag is also a great size to carry full-size items in your checked luggage and comes with a handy small carabiner to hook it wherever you need. Inside, I keep my Caudalie Premier Cru facial products, some sample size ampoules of perfumes or a larger small bottle (ugh!) from Sephora (current favorite: Juliet Has a Gun’s Not a Perfume), a good scrub (PeterThomasRoth’s FirmX Peeling Gel is the current favorite) as well as shampoo, conditioner, and lotion in travel bottles. The travel bottles from Go Toob are a real winner – they stay sealed completely, and have a suction cup to attach them to your shower/bath wall, and are easily squeezable. Note: if you are a big fan of facecloths, always carry one with you. Many hotels offer hand and body towels, but no facecloths. I carry a quick-dry cloth that is also a wonderful exfoliator from LUNATEC and it dries pretty much instantaneously.
If you’ll be taking long hikes, camping, or engaging in other activities outdoors, you may want items like an emergency blanket, sleeping bag, and more.