Monday, October 27, 2014

Packing Light

We decided to try something new and kinda iffy during our Japan trip - minimal luggage.  That way it'd be easier to get around from city to city, and I'd have more space to bring stuff back home.  I'm typically what I'd consider a medium-packer. I take the minimum stuff, then add a couple "extra" of things in case I change my mind on what to wear, or something like that. So packing super-light was a big change for me.  I think I packed less for this trip than what I usually bring for a weekend trip to my parents, just an hour and a half away.

I read a lot of websites/forums for guidance, but eventually decided on a "three outfits" rule of thumb.  For the 20 day trip, here were our clothes packing lists:

- 3 under shirts
- 3 pullover overshirts
- 3 pants
- 3 underwear
- 3 socks
- 1 jacket
- 1 shorts for sleeping in

- 2 dresses
- 2 shirts
- 1 light sweater
- 1 jacket
- 2 leggings
- 1 pant
- 3 underwear
- 1 pajama

Really not a lot of things for three weeks!  Many of the clothes we picked were made of poly-blend materials (i.e. no cotton!), so they dried quickly.  (Just a note - but quick-dry clothes made for travelers/backpackers can get really pricey, so you might be better off checking thrift stores or regular stores first.  Just look for polyester, spandex, etc. in the label.)  And so that the re-use of clothes would not lead to two stinky foreigners, we also brought a bar of laundry soap and a bungee-type clothesline (from REI).  I had forgotten to buy a sink drain stopper, so we ended up doing our laundry in the shower/tub area, which worked out fine.
Socks were still cotton though. Poly-blend socks sound..sweaty!
We brought two travel-on sized rolling suitcases, two standard sized backpacks, and my purse.  Since we flew international, we checked both of the small suitcases.

We did laundry every night, washing what we wore that day, hanging it up to dry overnight and during the day while we were out.  Keeping the window opened seemed to work well for drying the clothes - the only time we had trouble was in Marugame, where the hotel window wouldn't open and the bathroom vent wasn't very strong.

When we came home that particular day..well, the smell was very unpleasant! We re-washed everything which was annoying, but better than having a putrid-wet-dog odor.

Was it worth it?  Perhaps.  Traveling light made going from plane to train to bus a breeze, and I did fill every last inch up with souvenirs on the way home, so I was grateful to have a fairly empty suitcase to start with.  But laundry every day?  A PAIN. We only had in-hotel washing machines twice, which meant a lot of hand washing.  It got old pretty quickly.

But I'd probably do it again, I think! Not anytime soon, but someday far off in the future when we have vacation again! hahaha.

1 comment:

  1. Oooo good to know! I usually travel with one rollyboard and one backpack with a purse tucked/folded away. But my suitcase is usually full... :oP (This time for Hawaii, I packed a duffle for the souvenirs!)


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