Just returned from a trip with a group of girlfriends to DisneyWorld. 5 days, 4 nights. There were 7 of us in 2 rooms at the Boardwalk Villas.
I packed a backpack. A single, school-type, backpack.
We met at one house for our ride to the airport and as I walked up, everyone’s jaws just dropped. The conversation went something like this:
- Friend: Is that all you’re bringing?
- Me: Yep.
- Friend: I just don’t understand this.
As we stood waiting for the car, we talked about what we had packed. It quickly became apparent why they were just speechless at my minimalist packing. Of the 6 of them:
- Two friends had EACH packed a huge rolling suitcase to check, plus a small rolling suitcase and a large totebag as carry-ons.
- The rest had large rolling suitcases, plus a backpack/large bag carry-on
- Each had packed full-sized toiletries and beauty appliances (hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners, etc.).
- Weather conditions were sketchy: we flew from the COLD Midwest to SUNNY Florida in January. Packing for all possibilities was hard and everyone wanted to be prepared.
- Each wanted room to bring back any purchases.
As I stood there, I started questioning my decisions in what I packed. Had I forgotten something? I realized that, no. My priorities were not the same as theirs.
I had actually even packed more than I might have had I been traveling with my husband; I packed knowing I would not be doing laundry of any kind, even hand-washing. I had separate shirts, underwear and socks for every day. I had packed a separate pair of pants, just in case anything happened to my jeans. Etc. Etc. I am not picky regarding my toiletries; what the hotel offered was fine. And I am not high-maintenance with my hair; brush it and go. Everything I packed fit into the backpack with actually a bit of space to spare (The backpack even fit UNDER the seat in front of me on the plane).
It was so freeing to just walk through the airport with a backpack and nothing else. To know that everything I had with me was all that I needed. Once we reached the hotel, I put everything away in either the closet or a drawer and then had the backpack to use during the day.
Was I a scrooge and refused to buy souvenirs? Not at all. In fact I picked up something for my husband and kids (useful items), the in-laws (they sent money with me for something), plus something for myself. I knew I could purchase a bag/suitcase if I needed to, but knowing that I only had limited room guided my purchases.
Was there anything I wish I had packed? I only had to buy a pair of socks when all of mine were grimy/soaked from a downpour of rain, or sweaty from lots of walking. And that’s it. So: an extra pair of socks.
This was a personal challenge. I work for a company where I often travel to Europe and travel by train. That is an entirely different situation and packing light is the rule. Now that I have successfully managed this trip, I know that my next trip abroad will be even lighter.
Thanks to my trusty backpack.