Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learn how to Lighten your Load!

Learn how to Lighten your Load!

Looking for a better option?There's no question: overpacking tops the list of biggest travel mistakes.
Thus this Web site, which offers exhaustive (some might say exhausting!) detail on the art and science of travelling light, going pretty much anywhere, for an indefinite length of time, with no more than a single carry-on-sized bag.
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Why Travel Light?

Of all the travel skills you might acquire, travelling light is the one most likely to result in enjoyable, productive, stress-free travel experiences. For two thousand years, seasoned travellers have written of its many profound benefits, including ...
SecurityWith a greatly reduced need to give your baggage over to the care of others, you are much less likely to lose your belongings to theft, damage, or misrouting. Similarly, you foil those who would enlist your unsuspecting aid as a conveyor of contraband goods. Achieving peace of mind is rarely this easy!
EconomyYou don't have to pay porters and others to carry and store stuff for you. You eliminate checked baggage fees. You are more able to take public transportation (even from airports, like airport personnel and flight crews), rather than limos and (often scam-prone) taxis. You can even walk. All of which also bring you into more intimate (hence rewarding) contact with the people and places that you have come to visit.
FlexibilityLess stuff means greater mobility, which gives you more travel options. With no checked luggage to limit your choices, you can more easily deal with delayed transportation and missed connections (you can even switch to earlier flights when space is available). You needn't arrive at airports as early, and you will be among the first to leave, while others wait for baggage delivery and long inspection queues. You can board trains, trams, and coaches with alacrity. You won't feel compelled to take the first hotel room offered: you can comfortably walk down the street should the ambience be unsuitable or the price unreasonable. You can sell your airplane seat (by volunteering to be "bumped") on full flights. You can even travel as an air courier.
SerenityIf there is a bottom line, it's that travelling light is simply a better, more hassle-free way to go. You have more time, because packing takes little. You waste less energy hauling stuff. You know what you have, and where everything is. We've all seen those hapless folks at the airport, with too much baggage and anxious expressions, worried that they have lost track of something, or left it behind. Foreign travel in particular can be challenging because it is unfamiliar and unpredictable, but the one-bag traveller copes by operating from a solid, familiar, well-considered foundation, with fewer unnecessary things to worry about.Tripbase Travel Award

EcologyAll of the above are concerned with short-term benefits to you. But travelling light also yields long-term benefits to the planet. Less stuff to manufacture. Less use of vehicles and other equipment to move you and your things about. Less fuel for the vehicles that domove you. Less greenhouse gas production. Less damage to our celestial home. Greater likelihood of upcoming generations being around and able to do some travelling of their own. (It's not often that the most convenient option is also the most environmentally responsible.)
O sancta simplicitas!

I'm Convinced!  How Can This Site Help Me?

He who would travel happily must travel light.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If there is a "trick" to travelling light, it's the understanding and proper use of a packing list. Apart from that, however, there's no particular magic, no specific secret. Travelling light is a skill comprised of a very large number of very small considerations. Individually, many of them might seem relatively unimportant; collectively, they make it possible to journey for extended periods of time carrying no more than will fit in a surprisingly small bag.
If you're a typical traveller, don't expect the transition to happen overnight (unless you are unusually diligent). The expert one-bag traveller will have learned a great deal about:
  1. What To Pack, avoiding the folly of lugging around too much stuff;
  2. What To Pack It In, understanding what to look for in efficient & effective luggage; and
  3. How To Pack It, particularly the management of clothing so that it doesn't get wrinkled.
But there's no need to become an instant expert. Feel free to meander through this site, taking inspiration where you find it. Every single topic detailed on these pages can help you become a better (thus happier) traveller, but it's unnecessary (and perhaps even counterproductive) to tackle them all at once. Start with those that most appeal to you, and leave the others for when you seek to further hone your skills.

Where To Begin?

start hereI strongly suggest starting with Using A Packing List, because that will yield the greatest benefit in the least amount of time. After you've begun creating your own personal list, continue as and where your interests lead you; you needn't assimilate everything immediately.
If you came here looking for luggage tips, you'll find much on that topic under the What To Pack It Inmenu. Appreciate, however, that merely acquiring a bag, no matter how "perfect", will no more turn you into a one-bag traveller than a superb violin will turn you into a concert soloist!
You'll also find a detailed analysis of every individual item on my personal packing list, along with a considerable variety of supplemental information, including:
  • a checklist of things to take care of prior to leaving on a trip
  • contact information for suppliers of harder-to-find items mentioned on these pages
  • a (very) few recommended books on related topics
  • a collection of links to some carefully-chosen sites that OneBag enthusiasts are likely to find interesting
  • my own compilation of travel industry links for airlines, hotels, and rental automobiles, plus the best metasearch engines, handy lists of country/airport/airline codes, and tools for checking real-time flight status, airport delay conditions, & aircraft seating arrangements  (a good page to bookmark)
And don't miss the TraveLetters page, featuring comments from people like you, who have put these ideas into action and reported on their experiences, thus offering reassurance that this site isn't merely (or at least, entirely!) the ravings of some geek with a packing fixation.
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