I'm coming back to the 30 Days of Indie Travel Challenge on BootsnAll. Prompt #16: BAGGAGE. Mental baggage can weigh us down as much as physical baggage when we travel. How do you travel lightly – either emotionally or physically?
Hrm... how do I travel lightly? I think I travel mediumly. I make pretty detailed lists that include how many pairs of socks and the number of pens I'm planning to bring. Then I can cross things off once they goes in the suitcase so I can have peace of mind that it's packed.
I will inevitably pack one outfit I will never wear for whatever reason. I will always bring more notebooks than I will ever need, but can't stop packing so many. What if I RUN OUT OF NOTEBOOKS? That would be the worst. I pack a lot of scarves because they make many outfits versatile. I pack nail polish and a bitty bottle of nail polish remover, because it's nice to feel feminine when you're on the road (and blow dryer/hair straightener/makeup bag are heavy). I like to bring gifts to friends I'm seeing, which usually makes my suitcase lighter on the way back.
(I moved that pancake mix to the front pocket last minute, which ended up being a good decision, because it exploded).
I don't bring books. I don't care how much you love the feel of getting papercuts when you turn the page, books are friggin heavy. My Kindle is great because it's light and can store lots of books, although I'm terrified of leaving it in the seat pocket. Donut pillows are dumb. I've lugged one to and back from my last two international trips, and it was a huge mistake. If you're flying economy for more than a few hours, you're going to mildly uncomfortable. That's just how it goes.
And I wasn't really pro iPad until this last trip. A lot of people have them, even in hostels. Laptops aren't the most portable computers anymore. Both computers and chargers are bulky and heavy. So that's the next travel necessity on my list.