Travel For a Year: How Much Clothing to BringJuly 10, 2015
Traveling for a year, I didn’t bring many clothes and I liked everything I brought. With few choices of clothes, everything was a good choice and a favorite, so it made no difference what I wore. There was something liberating about not having to decide what to wear each morning. I just put something on and left for the day—freedom from decisions. I loved it.
When I departed the USA, my first destination was Beijing and I arrived in the dead of winter with big winds and frigid temperatures. By July, my travels took me to the tropics of Laos and Thailand, followed by temperate Istanbul. August found me in northern Scotland with very cool temperatures, particularly while hiking what may have been a Munro—one of those Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet high.
When packing for extended travels, my advice is to bring as few clothes as possible, but be prepared for varied climates. Years ago, I traipsed around Indonesia with clothing only for heat and humidity. When I spent a cold night at the top of a volcano, I had to sleep wearing every t-shirt I’d brought and my only pair of long pants.
Strategies to reduce your baggage include giving away clothing as you no longer need it, buying clothing along the way, and shipping home items such as winter coats. Here’s what I brought:
Choose your favorite shirts, sweaters, jeans–you’ll be wearing them often. Make sure all of your shirts, pants, and sweaters can be combined in different looks. Bring little or no white clothing because it is more difficult to keep clean and will not remain white through your travels. For shoes, comfort is more important than appearance. Lay out the clothing you intend to take, then reduce it by half. Minimize, minimize, minimize. I once travelled around SE Asia and India for two months with only a small book bag and even then I thought I had too much.
Bottom Line: Bring less than half of what you think you need.
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