Travelling Light


I have a pathological hatred of queuing and so whenever I find myself unreasonably held up I inevitably start looking for something on which to focus my attention. In supermarkets this is usually the contents of other people’s trolleys and at airports it tends to be other travellers’ luggage. This is actually a matter of some interest as it is truly incredible just how much many people see fit to take away with them.

Lessons Learnt

I invariably travel light. My habit is the product of experience, the desire to save money and a dislike of being overly encumbered. My first foray abroad whilst practising minimalism was an accident. I was flying to Florida and a combination of indecent haste and laziness resulted in me arriving at departures with no luggage at all. I figured that all I needed were shorts, a t shirt and a swimming costume and so I set off wearing them all and with a change of underwear stuffed in my pocket!

The Right Equipment

This incident brings me to the principle way of avoiding the need for much luggage. The solution is simply to book accommodation with a washing machine. Nobody cares what you are wearing and are unlikely to remember any of your outfits so a few mix and match pieces are all that are required if you have the means to wash them.

Saving Money

Travelling light means avoiding baggage charges on low cost airlines and the chance of falling foul of any size and weight restrictions. Ryanair and easyJet are not kind to transgressors, indeed Ryanair aren’t kind to anybody and so light luggage is the cheapest and safest way forward. This is particularly true if you happen to like winter sports. The additional charges for sports equipment are ridiculous and so I long ago decided that the way forward was to stuff a few clothes in with my skis and then wear the rest thus avoiding the cost of checking in another bag.

A Taste of Home

I often wonder what on earth is lurking in those enormous cases you see at the airports. Surely nobody can need that many clothes so the space must be taken up with other things. If the plethora of Border Control themed reality TV programmes are to be believed the most common reason for such bulk is food. Travellers are so keen to take a taste of home with them that they stuff their luggage full of meat, fish, sauces and god knows what. Understandable if you are travelling to the Mongolian Steppe or the farther reaches of the Gobi Desert but perhaps overkill for a week in Spain.

The Right Destination

At the end of the day all that is required for most trips is a few washable garments and a change of underwear. A good pair of jeans, a couple of t shirts, your swimming costume and a summer shirt or dress will suffice. I managed 3 weeks in Alaska with just a couple of outfits and it was a liberating experience. I figured that the bears and moose wouldn’t care what I was wearing and they didn’t. I was having so much fun that I didn’t care either and so here’s the thing. If your wardrobe is troubling you then your chosen holiday is the real problem.


Article by Sally Stacey