Recently I traveled to London. As light as I could, considering I get cold very easily. Packed a medium suitcase and found myself stressed, lost and rumbling in my luggage for passport and papers.
There’s many posts out there written about effective traveling. But none written by someone who actually had to carry around a 3 kg binder of materials, laptop and 3 chargers.
Learn from my mistakes.
What do you have to bring with you?
OK, if you’re going on business, laptop is a must. Try to make it minimalistic. Carry a lightweight laptop (if you can choose) and put your charger in the luggage. There now, you only need to carry a slim laptop sleeve, such as the ones over here. However, laptop sleeves keep your hands occupied, and there are times when you need to carry your coat, papers, or passport in one hand.
Never, never carry a laptop tote, or something that hangs to your shoulder.
A duo pack of troller and laptop bag (the kind of bag that fits on top of the troller) work well. However, if you (like me) extend your travel, a laptop shoulder bag proves useles in city breaks. That’s why I prefer a backpack.
2. Paper wallet.
One of the best investments I ever made was a larger wallet, where I can fit my passport and flight/hotel details. I keep it in my hand during checkin and boarding, so I don’t have to rummage through my bag.
If you’re carrying a laptop bag or backpack, no need for this one.
If not, make sure you have either a cross-over shoulder bag (for women) that leaves your hands empty, or a light backpack. Stay away from your everyday handbag. You’ll have the tendency to stuff everything in there.
All you need: a bottle of water, something to read, music to listen to, chapstick, and paper wallet.
Aah, this brings me to the best part of the article.
How many clothes to pack?
Always have with you a polar sweater, or if you’re going on business, a thicker jacket.
(I can’t believe these people in Western countries, they always set their air conditioner to 16 degrees and think that’s normal temperature!)
For ladies – if you must, pack skirts. Otherwise, stick with trousers, since they’re comfier and cause less complications (oh those high heels shoes match that skirt but not the other one) and so on.
Make your list from home – what will you wear each day? Don’t prepare a separate set for each day. Pack matching items that you can combine in various ways.
A simple example would be : white shirt, black jacket, green jacket, grey long-sleeved blouse, black trousers. And that’s outfits for 3 days.
Additionally, pack one extra outfit for going out (even for business occasions, there might be formal dinners) by adding an extra sparkle to the above. If you’re traveling light, even a simple accessory can do.
Keep your important stuff (money, wallet, cards, passport, phone) always in the same place. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me. “Where’s my phone? did I put it in the bag? or in the inner pocket? or in the handbag? or in the coat?”
Distribute your valuables carefully (if you must keep them all in one place) and guard that item all the time.
Make a plan of what you want to see – e.g. morning walk through the park, afternoon shopping. Or a list of sights you want to “cross from the list”. But keep a buffer for things that might pop up, such as traffic jams, getting lost, or bad weather.
I generally don’t make travel plans in detail, precisely for that reason. Fortunately weather in London was exceptionally sunny, so my smirk in the picture is very authentic.