Interesting Travel: Backpacking vs. “Suitcasing”

I constantly hear people boast about how lightly they travel.  The say how they never check luggage and some people will go away for weeks with just a backpack full of the bare minimum to get by.  “Backpacking” or travelling around with just a backpack and no other luggage may be great for some people, but not for me.

When I go to a foreign country I like to see all of the local sites, temples, buildings, monuments, churches, etc.  I also like to trek in jungles, ruins, bungee, hang glide, and do whatever else I can do in the day…

… at night time though, I like to party!

If all that you have packed are two pairs of shorts and three t-shirts then you probably aren’t prepared to take advantage of the nightlife in some of the world’s major cities.  I would be embarrassed to attempt to get into a top club in Tokyo, Paris, Cairo, Shanghai, Sydney, Rio De Janeiro, or one of many other hip cities dressed like some homeless hippy.  I would be equally embarrassed looking to make some new friends while stinking in two day old clothes.

For this reason I tend to pack heavy.

I find out what the maximum allowed checked luggage is, and I usually pack close to that.  I try to leave a little room for souvenirs.  If I bring magazines or even liquor then sometimes I come back home a little lighter. (In some countries they haven’t yet experienced a liquor such as Fireball so I may bring a bottle in my suitcase)

I tend to sweat a lot when it’s hot so it’s not uncommon for me to go through three outfits a day.  My first will be to explore exciting things, then I may get home in the afternoon, shower and get changed into clean clothes.  Finally if I go out at night I may get changed again into something dressier.

If I’m looking to put my best foot forward in a new country I want to look and feel my best.  I want all of the toiletries that I’m used to, my favorite shampoo, soap, moisturizers, etc; basically the things that I have found work best for me.  I may also pack a travel iron if my hotel doesn’t have one available (always call first to see if you prefer to wear unwrinkled clothing).  There are various natural supplements that I like to use and take along (this will be another article in the future).  I pack dress shoes, sandals, trail-worthy outdoor shoes, trendy sneakers, and possibly others depending on what’s planned.  I don’t think any more than one type of shoe should be packed; just one of each.

Pack right

Every time I pack I refer to the same master-packing list that I developed over time.  I plan to write a book on travelling and other adventures soon and will enclose my personal list in there, but basically it’s everything I would need and have found to have missed when travelling.

When you’re out in a foreign country on vacation you often have a limited amount of time to enjoy yourself.  Some people say packing light makes it easier, but I think hunting around for stuff that you should have packed is a waste of time.  The main things I do pickup upon arrival though are some beers for my hotel room, bottled water, and some snacks for the room in case I get hungry late at night or between excursions.

Every traveler must figure out what works best for them and master their own way of doing things.  What I described above is what works best for me since I like to do a variety of things.  I like to be ready to get extreme with nature or hike around a city in the daytime and be presentable enough to enjoy the best of nightlife in the evening.

Interesting adventures require the right preparation.  The right gear for me takes more than just a backpack.

Happy travels,


PS.  Feel free to share some travel tips of your own in the comments section

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