For my first big adventure of 2011, I'm taking a 12-day Winter trip to Japan. I have two personal goals in mind, packing light and sticking to a budget.
First and foremost, I want to travel light. Really light. My packing list is almost finalized, and it's by far the smallest amount of stuff I've taken on an international trip.
I've always thought of myself as being on the lighter side of the packing spectrum.
However, I've been noticing the minimalist travel bloggers around the interwebs, which has inspired me to challenge myself, at least for this trip.
To recap a few advantages to the “less is more” philosophy as it relates to international travel:
- No need to check your backpack on flights.
- Less physical stress from carrying the backpack.
- Your backpack takes up less space on trains and buses.
- If Couchsurfing, your stuff won't unintentionally take over your host's home (especially important in Japan where apartments are small).
- It's easier to account for your belongings.
Here's a breakdown of my ultralight packing list for Japan:
- 20-year old LL Bean backpack
- HP laptop w/AC cord
- 500 GB external hard drive (photo storage)
- Blackberry Curve cell phone
- Canon S90 camera w/soft case and battery charger
- 16 GB SanDisk SD card
- 2 GB SD card (back up)
- Flip UltraHD video camera
- Amazon Kindle w/leather case
- Creative Style 8 GB mp3 player w/earphones
- Casio Pathfinder watch
- Petzl Zipka LED headlamp
- 2 different types of USB cords
- GoLite jacket
- GoLite hoody
- Black cardigan sweater
- Mountain Hardwear short sleeve shirt
- REI long sleeve shirt
- Zombie Fest t-shirt
- Volcom board shorts
- 2 pairs of boxers (testing out a pair from Exofficio)
- 2 pairs of SmartWool socks
- Merrell sneakers
- Beanie hat
- Oakley sunglasses
- Custom earplugs
- Money belt w/passport, Japan Railpass, cash, business cards
- 2 Sea to Summit dry sacks
- MSR Packtowl
- 2000 Lonely Planet Japan (borrowed from a friend), and pen for scribbling
- Trial size toiletries in a 1-liter Ziploc bag (not pictured)
Originally the board shorts were for the spas, but I was recently told the guys go “au natural.” I'm going to bring them anyway as they're lightweight.
Even though it's Winter, I'm counting on several layers to keep me warm versus a heavy jacket. I hope I don't regret that once I land in Tokyo!
As much as I'd like to leave the giant paperback guidebook at home, flipping pages still seem faster and easier than navigating an ebook.