How to pack light

Leaving Managua for San José I expected a one-week-stay in a city, so I filled my small backpack with the most essential things only. But it turned out to be four weeks, with me working in the fields. And I missed nothing. Here is how to travel  light!! 

Usually I am the person who packs the extra pants and fleece-jacket even for the tropics – just in case… I never manage to make my backpack weigh less than 17 kilos – and moreover I occupy a daypack. My way of traveling has to cover a lot of different activities and seasons. Not only do I visit tourist sites, relax at the beach or explore cities, but I also love to enter the jungle for hiking, work on plantations with the natives, climb volcanoes or horseback-ride for hours off-the-beaten-track, just to name some, whether in the hot dry season or the muddy rainy season. Thus I need a lot of different types of clothes, from robust workwear and hiking clothes to city and dancing outfit. At least this is what I thought until now!

IMG_0018By chance did I discover that I don’t really need a lot. For going to San José for one week (as I thought), I packed the following items:

  • a pair of jeans
  • 2x lycra (long & short)
  • short pants
  • 7 shirts (different material & length)
  • pyjamas
  • a bikini
  • 4 panties
  • 2 bras
  • a towel
  • a sponge bag (toothbrush, paste, shampoo, multipurpose lotion, deodorant, comb, shaver)
  • basecap
  • sunscreen
  • repellent
  • washing soap (for clothes)
  • pocket knife
  • flip flops
  • shoes
  • phone charger & phone

That’s it. Everything fitted in my daypack! Surprisingly I found myself touring Costa Rica and Nicaragua for four weeks. I explored the capital, manufactured chocolate in the mountains, worked on a cacao plantation, went on horseback to rural villages in Nicaragua, had a diverting dancing night and even entered the jungle. Believe it or not, I did not need more equipment! Back in Managua I even wondered what my big bagpack contained – I couldn’t even remember anymore! More jeans, shirts, the extra packs of panties and bikinis… nail polish, body lotions, soap… Which, indeed, are very helpful and convenient, but not really necessary.

When you like to travel basic, let me recommend two more things to improve the light pack: basic medicine, containing antibiotics, pain reliever and disinfection, and a rain jacket, if you are traveling in the rainy season.

Happy travels!