A warning to family and friends, this post is a deep dive into packing for minimalist traveling. . You might find it rather dry. If you are still interested and have not read Finding the right bag for Travel, you might want to click the link and read that one first.
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I have used the app Packing Pro since it first came out. I would highly recommend the app for all kinds of travelers, whether you are traveling alone for long stretches of time or you are bundling the kids off on a road-trip to grandma’s. Click here for videos that do a better job than I could do telling you all about how to use this app. There are many things I like about the app, but one of the best is that you can sync it between phones and pads. It is highly customizable.
Before starting my new packing list, I read as many blogs about minimalist travel as I could. Here is a list of some of the ones I found useful:
You can find a lot more by searching for minimalist travel or one bag travel. Don’t think that you have to take everything that each writer lists. Just use the lists to stimulate your mind and make you think about the things you will need. (Note: I wrote “will need” not “may need”.) It always nice to go through someone else’s list and see just how many things you don’t need. If you are like me and don’t wear makeup, that will save a lot of space and weight. Of course you will find things that you need that are not mentioned by these writers. I take several pounds of dietary supplements with me, and I don’t remember seeing a list that addressed this issue.
A lot of the travel lists and tips I found were for short-term travelers. Often 30 days is referred to as long-term. In the last years of my seagoing career, my assignments tended to be 120 to 140 days. In the future, I would like to make each stay in a different country about that long, but it seems that if I want to just flit around the world on one tourist visa after another, I will have to limit my stays to 30 – 90 days in most countries. Mexico is an exception with very liberal visas for USA citizens. I want to maximize my stays since that will cut down on travel costs.
My method to build my packing list was to go through each of the lists I found online and note everything that thought I might use in my travels. Most of the things that I didn’t already own I found on Amazon.com. As I found them, I saved each one to an Amazon wish list, which I named “Travel”. Often the packing lists included Amazon links, so it wasn’t much work. If I couldn’t find the exact product on Amazon, I made a note of it, and placed a similar item from Amazon, which most closely matched one that had been recommended onto a wish list. Make sure that you make your Amazon list private. You don’t want to be buried at Christmas time with things, you were only considering buying.
When I finished my Amazon wish list, I had multiples of similar items. That way I could flip back and forth between the ones that were recommended by different bloggers, comparing the features before deciding which one was best for me. I also added things I would not be buying, because I already owned them. I did this so that I would not forget to place them on my packing list.
Once I had a roughed out a list in the handy Amazon wish list, I opened up the Packing Pro app, and started a new list. Since I am now retired, I no longer need the packing lists I had for business, I deleted all my previous packing list and start afresh with my nomad list. As time when by and I encountered even more recommended lists on the internet, I added and removed things the Nomad list, based on this new research.
I knew that my list was far to long. I had added too many things, thinking that I might need them or use them. Any time I had a spare moment, I went over the list again, removing things. somethings were put back on and taken off many times. Finally when it came time to leave Honolulu I had extensively cut down my Initial Nomad Packing List. This list does not have the links to products I bought. I will be addressing each section of the packing list in a separate post, which will be a deep dive into the whys and wherefores of what ended up making the cut, and what did not. Even in my packing list’s final form, it is very long. That is rather deceptive since many items are quite small. Everything on the list fitted into the two bags above, except what was on my person.