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Five Mistakes I Made Before I Learned to Pack Even Lighter

Five Mistakes I Made Before I Learned to Pack Even Lighter

Christar Mobilization Mentor Laura has logged a lot of travel miles and along the way she’s learned some secrets to make the journey a little less difficult. Below, she shares five mistakes she used to make and ways to lighten your load.

1. I thought only about the weight of the contents, not the bag itself.

Wheels, material and bag layout all play a part to keep your bag and burden light in your travels. Consider investing in a high quality, lightweight carry-on and consider the additional benefits of using only a carry-on to avoid the fear, hassle (and major inconvenience) of loosing your checked luggage.

2. I was vain!

Could you get by with just a few pieces of jewelry? Could you skip some of your daily products for the trip? Could you get by with a sample size of perfume (or none at all)? Men and women could both benefit from streamlining product and routines.

Go a step further and get your hair cut (or grow it out) to a low-maintenance style pre-departure. If you can ditch some of your hair products and tools, that will save you the headache of dragging them around with you. Think about your routine, and consider what you can simplify. All the miles I’ve logged traveling have actually resulted in simplifying my routine at home as well.

3. I had shoes that only served one role.

There are so many shoes out there, but you don’t need them all on your trip. It depends a lot on where you are headed and what you are doing, but if you can pull off the trip with just one pair, you will love yourself for that. If you can bring only a pair boots or shoes that you can dress up or down and a pair of running shoes (preferably ones you can wear even if you’re not exercising), that’s great. If you’ll be in a warm climate, add a pair of good-quality, comfortable sandals. I challenge you to not bring more than those three pairs at the absolute maximum.

4. I brought the wrong color and kind of clothing.

Solid, dark colors and wrinkle-free materials are your friend! These wardrobe workhorses will hide stains and allow you to wear the same clothes more than once. Also, it’s best to avoid shirts with messages on them that broadcast your views on the world.

5. I thought I might need everything.

Do you even need a towel or will one be available for you to use everywhere you go? (There are some great travel towels on the market too.) Will you use a whole bottle of lotion? You could always buy one once you arrive if you really need it. Laundry facilities and services are available almost everywhere, so bring clothing for only seven days. You could also bring a tiny bottle of laundry detergent and do some laundry in the sink when necessary. After washing clothes, roll them in a towel to remove excess water and hang to dry overnight.

If you can’t make a strong case for why you need an item, consider leaving it at home. Remember, you’ll be lugging this stuff around for the duration of your trip, which means every ounce matters! (For 10 items that are definitely worth their weight, check out these suggestions.)

These travel habits have helped reduce the stress of trips over the years for me. Hopefully, a few of these pointers can help you have a smoother journey as well. There’s enough on your mind when you’re traveling as it is!

Traveling with you,

Laura lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she freelances in various capacities, leads worship at her church and hangs with her adorably photogenic dog named Kimchi. She’s well acquainted with the chaos of trying to determine what to do in life.

Laura went to Bible college, where she explored cross-cultural ministry through classes, conferences and lots of practical application. After college she went to grad school, taught, went to South Korea for a year, worked for Christar, then spent a good chunk of the last decade working with international students in high school and college in the U.S.

She would love to journey with you as you consider missions—because she’s been there. Because reaching the nations is going to look different than it did in centuries past. And she wants you to be a part of it.

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