Traveling light can become a lifestyle once you give packing some thought. It actually makes the trip much easier on you when you no longer are hauling around oversized and heavy luggage.
Pick your wardrobe carefully. Check the weather where you are going to help determine what clothes to pack. Also try to determine any special events that may require dressing up or dressing down. With this information you will be able to determine what you will need but also what isn’t necessary.
Eliminate items that need special care. Don’t take clothes that wrinkle easily or need ironing. (You can pack a small spray bottle and use water to spritz out most wrinkles.) Avoid items, like silk, that are easily damaged in a laundry.
Stage clothes you’ve selected in one place so you can make an evaluation. Ask yourself questions like what combinations do I have and how many items work with each other. It’s important to be able to mix and match. Many environments also lend themselves to layering your outfits.
Select clothes designed to travel. Give priority to clothes that can be rinsed out and dried quickly. There are growing choices in miracle fabrics that are designed to keep you cool and dry fast. These items are generally lighter in weight so they take up less space when packing.
Pick shoes with a purpose. We travel with very lightweight tennis shoes (actually running shoes), a pair of sandals and we usually wear our everyday shoes. Pick a comfortable pair that will fit into your wardrobe choices. When packing, fill fold-top sandwich bags with socks and small items and put them in your shoes. This keeps things organized and also keeps the shoes from creasing.
Select the right suitcases. It is awkward to find yourself on a crowded train with an oversized suitcase that you can’t lift or will not fit in the overhead. In places like Italy, people will offer to lift the suitcases and place them in the overhead racks for you but then they will demand a substantial tip. On commuter trains, you cannot place suitcases on the seats without being lectured or, at best, glared at the entire journey.
We have gotten into the habit of traveling mostly with two carry-on size suitcases and a couple of backpacks. We have started using packing cubes to organize the suitcase contents and reduce items shifting around. We also usually carry a light- weight foldable backpack for holding things acquired along the way.
The following is a collection of links for light weight, easy dry clothing that can save you time and space while traveling:
32 Degrees – We’ve become very fond of this line of clothing. Available in thermal and sweat wicking shirts and other apparel. We both wear their T’s and thermals.
Exofficio – They offer a wide assortment of fast dry under garments for men and women along with interesting travel ideas.
Balanced Tech @ Amazon – another good collection of fast dry clothing.
Under Armour – This company was the first in the market with sweat wicking clothing and was originally marketed to the military and police.
UNIQLO – this is a Japanese clothing company that is expanding quickly worldwide. We believe they offer a premium line at reasonable price. We have bought and traveled with their moisture wicking polo shirts and while heavier than Columbia they still seem to rinse and dry quickly.
Columbia – has built its brand around cool travel clothing. I have had issues with their polo shirts developing pulls in the fabric and am beginning to rethink this shirt.