There are many different types of people when it comes to traveling. There are those people who need to be fully prepared and pack for every situation, there are those who pack too little with the full intention of buying and throwing things out along the way. Then there is me.
When I first started traveling, I thought that I needed to bring along my whole life because I never knew the situation that I would be in. However, as the years went by I started realizing that I looked like an absolute moron with the amount of stuff that I brought so I downsized. I started giving things away or just leaving stuff at hostels along the way. First of all, I am not saying that there is a right or wrong way to pack, but there is definitely a more efficient one.
As a backpacker, you need to know how much weight you want to bring along with you and whether you are willing to pay for the overweight charge on your low-budget flight if you are going to fly. I decided that I was going to only pack a 30 L bag with an additional bag for electronics and supplies and that was absolutely sufficient because most hostels and places that you go to will have some sort of laundry service.
First of all, pack the essentials. Things that you may need that may not be available in the countries that you are going to. One of the few things that I knew were important for me to pack was my medication and an ample supply of it because I knew that there would be a possibility that I wouldn't be able to find them other places or I would have to get a doctor to prescribe them to me again. Along the medication road, I also packed a first-aid kit with all the important things just in case something happened along the way. Funnily enough, I don't think I have actually used it on myself but almost everything is gone because other people I have met have had to use it.
When it comes to clothes, it is important to pack light.
If you have traveled or are currently traveling Southeast Asia, you know how light you need to pack just because of the pure heat and humidity of the entire region. Another thing that is pretty abundant is the markets that sell tank-tops and those famous "elephant pants". A good thing about those type of items is that they are normally pretty inexpensive so even if they get damaged throughout the trip, you can just throw them out. Also, if you are going to be staying at party hostels, they will most likely be giving you a tank-top or shirt so if you do want something to collect, you should do that.
Another thing is that everywhere hostel that I have been to have a laundry service where they wash, dry, and fold within 24 hours. However, some hostels can be quite pricey, so there are also 24 hour laundromats in most places and you can do it yourself within a few hours.
When it comes to footwear, the two most important pairs to pack are sneakers and flip-flops. It is more than likely that you will use both of them regularly. If you want to pack more stuff, well that's just extra weight isn't it?
Obviously when you are traveling, one of the most important things to bring on your trip is your phone or an electronic device that you can capture memories on. But, if you are like me that writes and works from wherever I am in the world, you need way more than that. That is the one part of my packing that I didn't do so well on because I didn't realize how heavy a laptop, its charger, a tablet, etc would be. I actually think that my electronics bag is heavier than my actual backpack with just clothes. What I am trying to say I guess is, figure out what you really need depending on how long you will be traveling for.
Whether you are only traveling for a few weeks or a few years, packing the efficient way is important. Obviously, everyone has different priorities of what they need to bring, but you guys have to agree that there are just things that really don't need to be brought on a trip yes?
I used to be one to want everything, I needed something for every situation. I even packed make-up, books, etc. I mean I never used the makeup because it just melts off in this part of the world. The books? Well, I read them all within a week and just left them somewhere for someone else to read. Sometimes, it can be stressful just living out of a backpack, but then you look at all the bright sides of traveling and living out of a backpack doesn't even compare to everything you are going to see.
Liz Westwood from UK on September 13, 2019:
Your experiences give plenty of helpful information for others.