Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Quick Tip: Take Half the Stuff You Think You Need

If you're like me you start optimistically thinking, Wow this suitcase is huge. I can fit all my stuff inside. Then after a bit, you end up sitting on the floor with so much piled up around you thinking, How am I going to fit all of this in?  I need all of it.  Then you beg your sister to sit on your suitcase while you mutter, It'll fit. Though it never does.

The first time I went to Europe I lugged a sheet that I had sown so that it was like a sleeping bag with me since I had read that in hostels you had to bring your own bedding. It went with me when I studied in Spain and then to Scotland where I ended up working.  I never used it, not even once. I travelled Europe by sleeping on the trains and then in the UK all the hostels I stayed at had bedding, for free.

Other times you may think that you need to bring all your clothes when chances are they'll have clothes in the country where you're going. Though if you're big or tall it might be hard to find. Still, there's international shipping and people can order stuff online. What gets me is when people bring toilitries like shampoo and soap. You can pretty much find these anywhere. Somethings like birth control, contact solution, sunblock, or condoms can be hard to find, expensive, or not as reliable, so people bring those with them.

Books and papers also take up a lot of space.  Readers like Kindle can help save space so you don't have to bring books. If you really want to bring a book, ask yourself if you can live without it, could buy it there, or online. Places like the Book Depository offer worldwide shipping to most countries. You also might be able to get it from a local library. DVDs and CDs used to take up a lot of space, but with technology what it is today, most people have a MP3, laptop, netbook, ipad, ipod, tablet, smart phone, or something that can save all your favourite movies, music, and books.

You really have to think if you need something or you want it. While some countries like the US allow people 2 checked bags, a carry-on, and a personal item, if you're flying from the UK, you only get 1 checked bag, a carry-on, and a personal item. Plan carefully and you'll see that there's lots you can live without and chances are if you need something, it's available in the country where you're going.  Try also reading, your life in a suitcase for more suggestions on what you should take and what you should leave behind.


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