Travelling Light | Four People, Four Days

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So, with a couple of days notice we decided we would fly down to see some of Chris’s family during one of his weekends!

I love to travel light, if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen how I took just my slingback away for 2 nights last year. With an extra night and four people to cater for, that felt a little ambitious but we felt we could get by with just our standard backpack instead.

Firstly, why? I mean, when you have four seats booked on a plane you can generally take a whole lot of things so why not make use of that?

Cost. We were going budget, budget flights where it costs extra to check luggage. We definitely wanted to at least stick to carry on.

Convenience. When you have luggage to check, you need to arrive earlier and you are held up on the other end waiting for the bags to unload. It adds a whole lot of extra time and steps to travel.

Security. Much less chance of losing your bag when you’re the one solely responsible for it.

Simplicity. That freedom of having less to worry about, of having everything in one spot and of having only one bag to keep track of frees up precious mental space.

Why not? I think when people envision packing lighter, they’re thinking that means missing out and making sacrifices, choosing discomfort for the sake of being minimal. But we didn’t actually need anything more than we took. Why carry around more than we need?

But why a backpack? These days, the baggage allowance for on board is pretty generous. You can take a fairly large suitcase really and put it up in the overhead compartments.

Yeah, everybody is doing that. Travelling with only carry on is pretty popular now, particular on the shorter flights.

Have you ever seen how stuffed things become up there? And the chaos when everybody is trying to get their bag rivals that of the baggage conveyor belts? And having to divide your possession based on what you want on you vs stored above is just an extra step of consideration that I’d rather not.

When you have a backpack, it can fit under the seat in front of you and you escape a whole lot more hassle. Everything is with you at all times. And you carry it on your back leaving both hands free for anything else you need to do.

And I guess the main reason… everything we needed fit in a backpack.

So what was our everything?

I wore: jeans, tshirt, jumper, shoes

I packed: leggings, 2 spare tshirts, 3 pairs of underwear, 1 pair socks

Chris wore: shorts, tshirt, jumper, shoes

Chris packed: tracksuit pants, spare tshirt, 3 pairs of underwear

Immy wore: leggings, tshirt, jumper, shoes

Immy packed: tracksuit pants, pair of leggings, 2 spare tshirts, 3 pairs of underwear

Aubrey wore: leggings, tshirt, jumper, shoes

Aubrey packed: tracksuit pants, pair of leggings, 2 spare tshirts, 3 pairs of underwear

So you’ll notice, we didn’t even take clothes to correspond with all our days, outside of underwear. I think the biggest thing with packing light is not being tied to that whole one outfit, one day convention. We are all pretty comfortable re-wearing clothing, even at home. A day of wear doesn’t necessarily mean something is dirty enough to need washing.

We took our toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant; these are the items we use daily apart from soap which we expected to find where we were staying though if we needed to, a bar of soap would have easily fit. We also took sunscreen just in case.

We took a portable charger as well as wall chargers and hats. We also took our waterbottle.

And this is a video of how we packed it all in. There was really no specific science to it and on the way home we literally just chucked in scrunched clothing! All about that ease.

Immy took a pencil case with colours and other art supplies, her phone, her bowl and whisk plus her art journal.

Aubrey took two figures, two soft toys, her phone and her art journal.

I took a small black bag with my wallet, headphones and phone (using it to take this photo). Chris carried his phone, wallet and keys in his pockets.

So what do you think? Does it scare you a little to consider taking so little?

Travel can feel overwhelming, you’re generally out of your comfort zone in many ways that you don’t want to be unprepared with what you take.

This might seem okay, considering best case scenario but what about all those what ifs?

Well I find being prepared can mean something different to taking every little thing for every little scenario. It can be options.

What if we run out of things to do? That one seems unlikely! You can play games with nothing, you can chat, you can observe. And when you’re travelling there tends to be an abundance of possibilities.

The more likely what if is somebody running out of clothing. So what are the options beyond taking more clothes?

a) wear the clothing anyway despite whatever would normally dictate you change it; smell, stain, whatever. It’s only temporary.

b) wear somebody else’s clothing. The adults are more keen on option a than the kids can be but the kids could reasonably fit into each others clothing in a pinch. They could even wear shirts of ours if each other’s was not an option.

c) wash in a sink. Washing a single piece of clothing is very easy in a sink, depending on the reason you might not even need any soap! Simple fill the bottom of the sink with water and wiggle the item around and around concentrating on problem areas. Air dry or if available use a hair dryer (often an option in hotels) or hand dryer (think public bathrooms) or find some sun. This could be used in combination with option b.

d) buy something. If desperate, shops are pretty universally available, most places will even have second hand stores. This is not an option we would like to rely on being that we are wanting to save money and not make purchases that aren’t investments. But it works.

And you know what? We’ve only been caught in these sort of circumstances once. Just once. And that was really unexpected; we had travelled in the middle of summer, to somewhere where it was also the middle of summer and for obvious reasons, did not take jumpers of any kind. It ended up being unseasonably cold so we bought some jumpers that we then continued to use that following winter.

From this trip? There were clothing items that were not used.

So there you go! Do you think you’ll pack a little lighter next trip?

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  1. This is definitely easier in a warmer country! In Scotland it could be shorts and T shirt weather at this time of year, freezing cold or pouring with rain! I agree in principle though and am trying to slowly implement it! Out of interest, what were the whisk and bowl for?

    1. Just for playing! She enjoys making salads… mostly from nature collections but paper or whatever she can find also works.

  2. Hi there.

    Jessica, this is so inspiring.

    We are a family of six ‘wombles’ dreaming of minimalism (well, I am – the rest of the family are at various places along the spectrum of that desire!) This decluttering lark doesn’t come easy but your posts help to spur me on and keep plugging away.

    With a little holiday on the horizon, I’ll definitely be revisiting this post.

    I can’t help but keep coming back to the idea that all the physical stuff we have, it has it’s own emotional weight and cost too – feeling weighed down right now – wish me luck as I continue to scale my very own decluttering mountain!

    1. Oh thank you! I do wish you well and totally agree. Things are heavy! And they just get heavier; think how when you hold an item it seems manageable at first but as you tire well, you can’t hold it forever ❤️

  3. I’m definitely better at travelling light for myself but still worry about packing things for the kids that they might want when we are away from home – familiar books, toys etc. I think as they get older it gets easier as they get more involved with packing and deciding what they need. I would’ve definitely packed lots of snacks though 🙂

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