You open your wardrobe and look at all your clothes, figuring out what to bring and what to leave behind. You are leaving for a solo trip to South East Asia to “rediscover” yourself and start stressing: what should I pack?? Don’t worry, I have been there too!
I usually pride myself for knowing how to pack and travel light. I remember before flying off to Malaysia in January, I just wanted to pack every single summer dress I had, dreaming about the warmth while it was pouring in British Columbia (read more about my adventures in Malaysia here!) However, after 3 months I know realise that my 16kg was actually more than I needed! Yes, 16 kg is too much for South East Asia!! Here are 8 reasons why I travel light and how to do it!
1. Luggage Charge!
This is one of the most frustrating things when traveling between countries in South East Asia. Many times, you will find yourself finding amazing cheap deals on budget airlines, like Air Asia, but be warned: the luggage charges might be the same price or more than the flight cost! I found myself having to pay twice as much when flying to Vietnam from Kuala Lumpur and wishing I just had a carry-on instead.
2. South East Asia is HOT
Because of how hot it is in South East Asia you will probably find yourself reaching out for your most comfy and airy outfits every time you leave the house. Just wash and reuse them. You will abhor jewelry because they will stick to your skin and suddenly feel very heavy. If you do not suffer from frizzy hair syndrome like me, you might even never use that hair straightener or curler since your hair will always be tied up high in a ponytail or messy bun! See! I just saved you so much extra space already.
3. Make Up and Hair Products is a Waste of Time!
Because South East Asia is hot so you will be feeling like a hundred showers a day. Is it really worth reapplying that expensive Dior foundation if it is just gonna melt in the next 10 minutes? Also, nobody cares! Everyone is hot and sweaty in South East Asia so just wearing powder and some waterproof mascara will go a long way.
4. You Will be Walking a Lot!
If, like me, you decided to go to travel to discover the world, then you will not be spending days relaxing by the infinity pool in a luxury resort (a few days of doing that cannot hurt though!). What you will be doing is walking, hiking, trekking and hiring cars that will drop you in the middle of a bustling city! So do you really need those 3 pairs of cute heels that look amazing on that summer dress you brought? Not really! When traveling focus on only 2 or 3 sets of footwear: sandals, walking/hiking shoes and comfy house slippers (optional).
5. You Think You Need It but You Don’t!
When packing for a long trip, you might find yourself grabbing many things that you do not actually need to bring: insect repellent, probiotics, gels and creams, a sewing kit (yes, I nearly grabbed mine!), a notebook (why??), 4 cute purses, and the list goes on! My advice is to do some research on the country (countries) you will be visiting and see if any of these “just-in-case” items are easily available there instead. Remember, you are trying to lighten your weight so you can travel easily between countries and not have to pay extra costs. In Malaysia, for instance, I bought my shampoo, sunscreen or hair oil at Watsons and it lasted me the entire month I was there.
6. Dragging Suitcases is Painful!
Remember that if you are planning a long trip with multiple destinations, you will be dragging your stuff to and from the airport, to and from the accommodation and most likely up a few flights of stairs. Now add the fact that you are probably tired from the flight, hungover from partying too hard the night before and sweating buckets from the heat in this tropical country…not a pleasant experience at all! Save yourself from this frustration and just pack light instead!
7. Less Worry when Laying Over
One of things that many travellers dread is losing their luggage in the multiple flights they are taking. With a carry-on, you avoid this risk. Also, if you are a pro at seeking cheap flights to your destination, you might find yourself in situations where you will have to pick up your luggage when laying over and check it in again in the next flight. Having a carry-on instead of a check-in luggage means you do not need to worry about picking up your belonging at the conveyor belt! That reduces the stress immensely if you have very time in between flights as well!
8. It is a Great Step Towards the Minimalist Life
Traveling light has allowed me to realise that I don’t actually need many material things to live happily. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I finally understood what minimalism was about and found out that it was definitely something that I can embrace in life too. Also, the same realisation applies to those who cannot become minimalists! If you find yourself curious about the minimalist lifestyle but are not quite sure if you can do it, try going on a trip with the bare minimum and see how it makes you feel!
So what do you think? Have I convinced you yet? Traveling was never meant to be stressful, it’s all in the mindset. Free yourself from unnecessary burdens and do what you are supposed to do: have fun and discover the world!
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Love from Da Nang!