How I travel for 2 weeks with just hand luggage

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in About Jane, Inspiring Women, Solo Travel, Travel tips | 3 comments

How I travel for 2 weeks with just hand luggage


When I travel around the world and see glamorous women in Versace outfits and teetering heels am I jealous? Actually no – I’m sorry for them and all the gear they have to carry! Of course I might be just a little jealous if they have some yummy guy to carry it for them, but I’m happy to travel independently and even happier to travel light.

There are some advantages to wearing comfy shoes and carrying a small daypack:
1. I don’t have to wait at the baggage carousel for half an hour. I just dart straight through customs.
2. The airlines can’t lose my luggage.
3. I don’t have to manoeuvre a heavy trolley around the airport or find foreign coins for the trolley.
4. When I need to go to the loo, I don’t have to worry about what to do with my bags.
5. I don’t have to tip some poor little man to struggle with my hefty bags.
6. If I want to ride an elephant or a motor scooter, I don’t need a trailer for my stuff.
7. If a gorgeous hunk invites me to..(fill in the blank), it doesn’t take me two or three hours to pack my suitcase. I’ll be ready in a flash.
8. I don’t need to use “Google Translate” to find a chiropractor in a foreign country.

I normally try to travel with only hand luggage and I’ve been asked about how I do that, so I made this short video for you to show you what’s in my bag. Recently I travelled to Thailand and was away from home for about 2 weeks. I carry a smallish day pack. I think this one is 30 litres – not really the best travel pack as it’s specifically designed for skiing, but it’s what I took for this trip.

Daypack only

I usually take 3 changes of clothes and make sure that they all mix and match. In this case I took 2 skirts and one pair of lightweight jeans and 3 tops. One white skirt, one red/pink skirt and same colour jeans, 2 patterned tops, one plain blue top and one simple, comfortable pair of shoes. For this trip I decided to throw in a very lightweight dress as well. I also carried swimming costume, one large scarf/sarong one necklace as well as the few sundries which I’ll list later.

My trick for travelling light might not be your ‘cup of tea’, but it requires washing out my clothes each night. I’m not particularly fussy about this – I just wash them either in the shower or the hand basin and hang them on a small clothes-line which I carry with me. I show this in the video (but it’s rolled up and not very easy to see, so I’ll add a separate photo). I’ve got used to this over the years and for me, the small inconvenience of rinsing out my things each day is minimal compared to lugging a heavy bag.  I didn’t take any on this trip, but I actually love travelling with silk clothes or at least a silk scarf.  It’s super light-weight, dries really fast and if you drip dry and don’t squeeze it, you can get away without ironing.  Silk comes in vibrant colours and being a natural fibre, is warm when the weather is cool and cool when the weather is hot.

The shoes I prefer to wear are Keen brand which are particularly comfortable for walking and perfectly good for more active outdoor stuff like hiking, zip-lining, kayaking etc and fine if they get wet.

I always carry a digital SLR camera, a blow-up neck pillow so I can sleep (relatively) comfortably on long flights, a book (that I can discard or swap). Don’t forget power adaptors. I carry a couple of zip-lock plastic bags and 2 or 3 twist ties or rubber bands for sealing bags of food along the way, and always 2 or 3 pens.



    Love your approach – wise and practical. I am drawn to travel as it frees me from “stuff”. Your limited “stuff” sure saves in so many ways, but curious-what do you sleep in? How do you deal with bad weather?

    • Hi Mari,
      Thank you. Yes, I agree about travel freeing me from stuff. It’s such a burden carrying too much when you’re travelling, especially alone. When I was travelling on my motorbike, I took the approach that if it wouldn’t fit on the bike, then I could probably live without it (forever…LOL!). I don’t wear anything to bed – if I’m sharing a room or staying with someone I’ll pop a top and undies on. I would suggest a lightweight pair of shorts (perhaps silk) and just a singlet or t-shirt that you can also wear during the day. Bad (or cold) weather wasn’t a consideration on the trip I videoed, but I will often carry a small folding umbrella. That video showed just a fairly short trip to a warm destination (Thailand), although I would take the same things for a very much longer trip to a warm destination. For cooler weather, just add a warm jacket and scarf and boots/socks. It’s nearly always overheated indoors anyway. More adventurous or outdoor travel will require different packing. I’m happy to answer any specific questions and I’ll cover it in another post later. Thanks so much for asking.

  2. I’m glad you found this post useful and have shared it. Best wishes for your future travels.

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