As a writer and an avid traveler who enjoys exploring different cultures, Yasmin Malhotra is an expert on traveling light. She believes heavy packing will only weigh you down in more ways than one, and that the majority of vacationers take way too much with them, especially when traveling overseas. While a sense of security is important, she strives to share her light traveling secrets with those in need of a little packing direction.
Malhotra applauds a recent article in The Gleaner regarding light traveling tricks, surprisingly, for male travelers. Expert traveler, Tara Bradshaw, states, “Your female travel companion has packed a carry-on bag for two weeks, and you can’t allow her to show you up. So what are the best tips for packing light as a male traveler?” Whether male or female, Yasmin Malhotra recognizes the challenges vacationers face in packing. “There are so many unknowns when you head off to vacation, especially if it’s a place you’ve never been to and you are unfamiliar with the weather during your traveling season,” said Malhotra.
“Traveling light – and feeling good about it – can impact your whole trip. You don’t have to stress about having everything you need, especially if you adhere to a few light-packing rules.” Yasmin Malhotra also points out that traveling light, especially for those traveling by plane or moving from one city to the next, means fewer airline fees and a more convenient, comfortable travel experience.
“People have different comfort levels when it comes to going on vacation. Sometimes, a sense of assurance about weather and other factors will provide a higher level of comfort, allowing travelers to let go of some ‘must-have’ items,” she said. “Fight the urge to over-pack; it will definitely pay off.”
Bradshaw points out that versatility in clothing is ideal. “Jeans are your best friend,” she said. “Pack one pair and wear the other on the plane. A pair of dark wash jeans can be dressed up or down for most occasions. Alternatively, wear jeans on to the plane and pack one pair of dress pants, as jeans may not be acceptable under all circumstances.” Yasmin Malhotra adds, “Bring neutrals that you can mix and match. A pair of khaki pants will match with both brown and black tops, giving you two outfits that don’t take up as much room. As a woman, if you are visiting both cooler and warmer climates, try neutral skirts and tights so you can adjust your outfit to the changing weather.”
While some may find Bradshaw’s shoe solution stunning, she adds that “two pairs of shows are all you need.” She asserts that a pair of dress casual shoes that can go with virtually any outfit – day or evening – are perfect. “A pair of canvas walking shoes take up minimal space and is ideal for a lot of walking,” she said. Yasmin Malhotra adds, “If you don’t have versatile shoes that you can wear comfortably or dress up, you may want to do some shopping before your trip. Having comfortable shoes without packing your whole closet is well worth it.”
Malhotra implores travelers to do their research about the weather of their destination. “If the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s, you can rest assured that you do not need your coat. However, in some places, higher temperatures throughout the day does not guarantee a warm evening. It’s best to incorporate a few layers to adjust to the weather at various times of the day – especially if you don’t have time to head back to the hotel to change after dark.”
Yasmin Malhotra Encourages Travelers to Consider the Culture When Packing
One rule Yasmin Malhotra adopts for packing when traveling to far-off destinations is to consider the culture. “I always urge travelers to respect the customs of the locations they are traveling to. Respect is crucial, and without it, some areas may not let you into certain venues. Vatican City requires women to cover up more than they do in cities across the United States.”
Malhotra also advises travelers to pack for comfort, noting that while you want to pack fun, stylish outfits occasionally, you want to make sure what you pack allows you to feel comfortable, confident and at ease. If you are able to, Yasmin Malhotra recommends only packing what you cannot buy at your destination. “Purchase shampoo and conditioner when you land. There’s no reason to waste space and risk shampoo-covered clothes when you finally receive your luggage,” she said.
When striving to pack lightly, Malhotra encourages individuals to think about the nature of their trip and to only bring the essentials. “If you know you will be going out to dinner often, bring a few dresses and dress shirts,” she said. “However, if you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure and you won’t have a lot of opportunities to freshen up for a night out, don’t bother packing dressier outfits. Also, match your outfits so you can eliminate the possibility of packing shirts or shorts you won’t end up wearing.”
When it comes to packing clothes, Bradshaw is convinced there is not one fool-proof method. “Roll or fold your clothes? The jury is still out on this one. It all comes down to your packing style. Properly done, rolling can save a lot of space and even minimize wrinkles. It can also help to cushion any fragile items in your luggage.” Bradshaw also adds that the ultimate trick of traveling light is doing laundry.
“No one will notice if you’re wearing a shirt or pair of jeans more than once. Most large cities have full or self-service Laundromats at a reasonable cost,” she said. “Malhotra concurs with her statement. “If you’re staying with friends or relatives, it’s even easier to do laundry. If you and your travel partner are on your own, spend the time planning out your itinerary and last-minute dinner decisions at the Laundromat.” Yasmin Malhotra encourages travelers not to feel guilty about the accessories, as they generally do not take up packing space.
Yasmin Malhotra is a travel-enthusiast, writer and avid surfer. She is passionate about exploring new cultures and has written an abundance of articles on subjects like AIDS, art, immigration, globalization and much more. She is a passionate social worker and frequent nonprofit supporter