Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clearing out the suitcases

One of the secrets to stress-free travel (and living) is getting rid of stuff. As a traveler, the weight you carry is a constant concern. You have to pay per kilo when you do laundry in some countries and when you send luggage under the plane, not to mention the toll it can take on your back. We’re cleaning out our suitcases right now and I thought I’d showcase items that didn’t make the cut.



1. Heavy storage containers. The case can be as heavy or more than the contents. Plastic bags or bottles are a better alternative to glass or cardboard.




2. Clothes that wrinkle. Irons are a luxury we don’t have most of the time. I hate ironing anyway.


3. Items you never use, even if they seem like a good idea to have around. This one was surprisingly heavy for how small it was.


4. Clothes that no longer fit/don’t look good. If you only have a small wardrobe, make it a good-looking one. There’s no room to waste with items that aren’t worn, like this Ethiopian belt that won’t fit on my pregnant tummy.


5. While we were staying in hotels in Africa for several months, I got to Canada and thought it would be a good idea to have this burner. We’ve never used it. Most places we stay these days are apartments with stoves. Even hostels have kitchens with these in them already. It’s a rare occasion when you’d have need of one of these. In Africa, we might have…then again, we tended to eat out there since grocery stores weren’t that accessible.


6. Clothes that are heavy. When shopping, we always feel the material and debate how small it can get. Furthermore, heavy clothes take longer to dry. We don’t usually have a clothes dryer. In Mexico, we do. It’s pretty nice. Nevertheless, we don’t have room for bulky clothes.


7. Papers. It’s easy to accumulate receipts, contracts, insurance, cards, notes etc. You can take pictures or scan anything that you don’t have to have the actual copy of.


It is a relief any time we clear things out. One final tip: most things are replaceable wherever you are, so if you regret tossing something, you’ll probably be able to get it again. Clothes, toiletries, medicines are ubiquitous. Exceptions: technology, brand-specific makeup, and hair styling items are not easily found everywhere in the world.

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