How to Pack for Living Abroad
Sometimes in our lives we have the opportunity to travel and live abroad for an extended period of time. If you are brave enough to grab life by the horns and embrace the experience, you are probably panicking about how your entire life is going to fit into a couple small suitcases. Years of traveling has taught me less is more and I would like to show you now how I have managed to lighten my own pack to the point of carrying less, so I can do more. So here are 7 tips on fitting your life in a suitcase without breaking your back when you lift it.
1.) Don’t bring what you can borrow.
When I am packing there are a lot of things that I think I will need, come to find out I could have easily used or borrowed the same item. Things laundry soap, dish soap, insect repellant, etc. are always in abundance amongst travelers and people you will meet along the way. Get use to asking to borrow things while you are traveling there is no way around it, and it makes for wonderful conversation starters.
2.) Don’t bring things you are not sure you will need.
I like to say, when in doubt, leave it. In fact, I would really only bring something that has multiple uses that I know will get used on a daily basis. If you are unsure about anything you are bringing, then leave it. Traveling is about breaking out of old habits and patterns to experience new things, not to bring your old habits with you.
3.) Do learn the difference between NEED and afraid to be without.
People have lived where you are going a lot longer than you have lived where you are coming from, so chances are if you need something when you arrive, you can buy, borrow or have it shipped to you. So pack what you need, This mean the bare essentials. Clothes, shoes, wallet, Id. Basically, when you get dressed and leave in the morning, you have everything you need for the day. If you have everything you need for one day than you have enough for the week as each day is cyclical
4.) Packing light is important, but make sure to bring something small to remind you of home.
This could be a favorite recipe from your mom, your boyfriend’s cologne, or trinket your wife gave you. Either way, some days you’ll get homes sick, it is nice to have a small comfort item to take with you.
5.) Don’t bring more than one washing load of clothes.
Many people have a problem with this one. If you are traveling for a short time, you don’t need a lot of clothes. If you are traveling for a long time, you are going to want to adopt the fashion of where you are traveling to anyways. It maybe awful to wear a shirt a couple days in a row, but you usually won’t be away from a washer more than a week traveling. Instead of bringing a lot of clothes, see tip number four and bring high quality clothes you can use in several different social situations.
6.) Quality over quantity.
Because space is an issue quality counts for a lot in traveling. Many times, the few extra dollars will count for a lot in dependable gear. Dependability could mean the world when you don’t know where to find replacement for something you need on a daily basis. I gladly pay a few extra dollars for something comfortable, reliable, or irreplaceable.
7) Pack weeks before you leave.
Now that you have follows tips 1-6 in getting your pack ready, the final tip is to pack a long time before you actually leave. Use the above tips to pack your bags at least three or four weeks before you leave. Once packed only use the things in your suitcase. As you use each item in your suitcase put it in a “to take” pile. After the first week of living out of your suitcase, start thinking about anything that you haven’t used that week. Over the next two weeks before you depart see if you can’t find anything else in your suit case you haven’t used often.
So there you have it. If you follow these simple tips you should be on your way to less back ache, more adventure, a world of new possibilities. Always remember to pack light and enjoy the trip.