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Traveling Light: Less is More

traveling light

In the comedy movie Four Rooms, a witch whose entire luggage consists of a single broom states that she “likes to travel light.” Now, your idea of traveling light doesn’t need to be nearly as extreme – you can still pack the essentials without bringing yourself down with a heavy backpack.

The basics of your luggage

Light or not, you’ll need to carry some sort of backpack with you. Its size should depend on your specific needs – even some who would call themselves light packers will still have a humongous backpack accompanying them, and that’s fine.

The duration and type of your trip determines how heavy your luggage should be. For example, will you have access to a washing machine? If not, you might need to double the amount of clothes you intend to bring along.

In terms of clothing, consider the conditions around the places you visit. If it’s something like a tropical forest, feel free to pack only light T-shirts and shorts. But if there’s chance of a sudden ice age coming about, don’t get caught freezing because you were too lazy to pack a jacket.

If you’re going to a place that isn’t exactly brimming with modern appliances, you’ll probably want to carry a week’s worth of clean clothes just to be on the safe side, as well as enough towels and similar accessories.

While it might not seem necessary as you’re packing, you could quickly realize that carrying an extra pair or two of quality shoes is a sensible idea. If the only shoes you’re bringing along are the ones you’re wearing, a simple misstep into a muddy puddle can easily ruin your trip and force you to walk around all native and barefoot. Shoes can also decide to break down anywhere and anytime, so be sure to have that extra pair around.

Accessories – documentation, money, useful products

Have all your documentation with you so you don’t end up lost in translation: your ID, passport, driver’s license – heck, even a birth certificate can’t hurt. Also, don’t rely on credit cards – always keep a modest amount of locally-accepted cash on you in case of an emergency. That way, you won’t end up having to pawn your $500 watch for $20.

Aside from that, here are 4 ExOfficio products you should consider bringing with you to make the trip more pleasant, regardless of the destination:

  • Ziwa Insect Shield Pants: These will protect you from ticks and similar critters without forcing you to spray anything on yourself, and they’ll also help you look fashionable.
  • Sun Protective Clothing: The sun is nice and all, but too much of it can burn you and even cause cancer later on in life. While all clothing offers some degree of sun protection, ExOfficio’s line does a much better job of it.
  • Sol Cool Clothing: If you’d like to go a step further, these clothes will make you feel cooler in the sun on top of protecting you from harmful rays.
  • Pocket System Clothes: These use ‘smart’ icons on clothing to help you store your items of importance more efficiently.

Special thanks to my friend Steve Cloud who lives and works in the Texas Hill Country.

Best Travel Gear for European Backpacking Trip

best travel gear

We’re not gonna lie – it takes some guts to decide you’ll gonna go on a European backpack trip, and even more guts to actually go through with it. This type of journey will probably take you through many different countries, some of which can seem exotic and strange. To make things more difficult, you’ll only have a single backpack to fall back on when making pit stops. This means you’ll have to pack smart, including the best travel gear possible.

It’s probably going to be a big pack, though, so there’s no reason not to fill it with everything you could need. A trip across several new countries is no joke – it’s best to prepare yourself for an Indiana Jones-like expedition, even if you’ll mostly drive around and explore sights. Here is the best travel gear for a European backpack trip – take as much of it as possible, but not enough to weigh you down.

Best Travel Gear to Pack

The right backpack: The ‘pack you’re carrying should be comfortable to wear, large enough to carry all the necessities and, preferrably, resistant to the elements. You’re probably going to be doing your version of „Singing In the Rain“ at some point, so you don’t want your stuff getting soaked.

Umbrella: If you’re not one to sing in the rain, you can make great use of a sturdy umbrella. These things come in all sizes; you can carry one without even noticing. Also, if you find yourself in a rain storm, seek out a wooded area covered with trees to help stay dry.

A sleeping bag: While it does add a bit of bulk to any backpack, you’ll probably be glad you had the foresight to carry one. There’s no guarantee you’ll always be near a B&B by nighttime, nor is there a guarantee that the beds will be sanitary. The sleeping bag should also be warm enough to protect you from bouts of cold weather; this is especially true if you’re making the trip during autumn or winter, as European weather can be harsh.

Compression sacks: These novelty items are actually a blessing for those who like to travel light, especially when only a single backpack is involved. They’ll let you carry more stuff in less space by opening up a portal to another dimension(or just compressing the stuff).

Small Gear

Hygiene-related accessories: Getting adventurous is no excuse to get smelly. Soap, deodorant, shaving razors, a soapy water mixture, paper tissues, wet tissues with alcohol… These are just some of the things that you should have on you to avoid giving your countrymen a bad rep.

A first-aid kit: Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but in the case of an accident, it could end up saving your life(or someone else’s).

A flashlight and some tough rope: These are pretty self-explanatory. Neither takes up a lot of space, and both can be incredibly useful to those traveling a bit on the grubby side.

Something to read: Now we’re getting to the fun bits. Since you’ll be lacking space, you could make much greater use of an eBook reader than a book or few. However, you’ll need a waterproof casing for it, and you’ll also depend on a power source to charge it. Should your backpack fall into the wrong hands, an e-reader is also a lot more likely to get stolen than a copy of “The Da Vinci Code”…


Music player: Like the eBook reader, an audio player will also depend on electricity and will need to be charged even more often, but will prove to be invaluable for those long and potentially lonesome walks. The reason we don’t just suggest you listen to music on your phone is simple: two batteries are better than one, especially when power sources are scarce.

A plug converter: This mini-gizmo could easily mean the difference between charging your devices and traveling Stone Age-style, so make sure not to lose sight of it.

A working mobile phone with GPS and roaming: Your regular phone service probably won’t work in another country. Before setting out on your trip, talk to your mobile service provider and have them enable roaming so that you can call, text and use the internet from abroad. As for GPS or a lack of it, we already mentioned Stone Age travel is no fun, right?

Something to take pictures with: While not exactly a necessity, how else are people going to know how much fun you had on the trip? Taking a quality camera with you to capture all of those sights and marvels of architecture is a worthy consideration. A tripod and selfie stick are optional, depending on backpack space and the traveler’s love of selfies.

Top 3 Tips to Travel on a Budget

Wanna travel to the best of exotic places? What is stopping you? Is it the fear of the bills you are going to rack up? Well fear not because we have come up a with a list of things to do, if you want to travel on a budget.

  1. Making a plan

We cannot begin to stress the importance of having a good plan to take things forward. We are not talking about a formal blueprint of everything you are going to be doing, but a general idea of what it is you want to do and how long you will be staying in a particular location. The thing is that plans change and those changes can cost you a lot more than anything else. So it is good to have a plan and stay on top of it to ensure that you stay within the boundaries of your budget.

  1. Seasons

If you want to go to an exotic location, but you don’t want to spend that much or deal with crowds? Then we suggest that you travel in the off-season. During the off-season, most places offer great prices and discounted deals. You will experience everything that you would generally experience in the place, except for maybe the climate. It would be surprising for many to know how much people pay for the climate more than anything else. We are not asking you to go to a beachside location during the rainy season or anything, but instead of going in the summer months when the demand would be at its peak. We are asking you to consider going during the months of autumn or winter to beat the crowd and get the best deals; if you think about it, it is a win-win situation.

  1. Stay

If you want to travel on a low budget then we suggest that you reconsider your accommodation strategies. Most great locations have budget hostels that are popping up; these are like regular hostels, but are a lot more tourist friendly than anything else. When we backpacked to Goa; we stayed in a hippy hostel and was by far the best decision made. Firstly, we were pleasantly surprised by how well equipped and clean the whole place was and secondly, we got to meet some great people as well. We are sure that we wouldn’t have gotten a similar experience if we had booked a pricey hotel. If a hostel is still something your sceptical about then we suggest that you take a look at some AirBnB alternatives to cut down on the expenses of booking a hotel.

Top 10 Cheap Backpacking Tips

For the traveller’s soul, backpacking is an adventure unlike anything elsethat helps them experience the unexpected, broaden horizons and simply breathe away from the complexities of an urban lifestyle. Backpacking is both liberating and terrifying. Terrifying because it’s usually a solo effort where you’re mostly just on your own. Liberating because, the best part of backpacking is that you make the rules! You pick the destinations, the budgets, the modes of travel and any little detours in between. Besides, like the title proclaims, you also travel light, with just a backpack stuffed with only the barest of bare essentials.
A lot of people look at backpacking despite the light load, as an expensive, luxurious affair not meant for everyone, but this not necessarily true. Here we bring to you the top 10 tips for cheap backpacking around the globe!

1: Travel light:
Backpacking is all about travelling with just a backpack.
The lighter you travel, the easier it is to get from one place to another and make detours. Lugging around suitcases will simply restrict you and make the whole experience pricier and more complicated.
Your backpack should just include the essentials, some clean t-shirts or shirts, a pair or two of jeans or shorts, a sturdy pair of sneakers, navigation, sunscreen, a first aid kit and plenty of water, just to mention a few.

2: Choose your destinations wisely:
Avoid choosing pricy, luxurious destinations if you’re trying to save a pretty penny. As an Indian, I would advise my fellow Indians to travel and explore the nooks and crannies of our own country before a trip around the globe. Take trains for they are the cheapest mode of travel in India.

3: Try to snooze while travel:
Try to fix your schedule in such a way that you travel in the nights, allowing you to sleep aboard buses or trains and hence cut costs that come with booking hotel rooms and hostels.

4: Camp out:
During the times that you simply can’t travel overnight, try to find places to camp out instead of again booking hotel rooms. This will save you quite a lot of money!

5: Carry multipurpose tools:
Carry things in your bag that can serve more than just a singular purpose like a Swiss army knife, Lighters that also act as flashlights (excellent for camping out!), hair ties for both your hair and even compressing packages, socks that also serve as a safe spot to store important things like cash, or a camera lens, disposable plastic zip lock bags etc.

6: Avoid tourist traps:
Don’t go only where the tourists go for a lot of times places that act as simply tourist destinations and pricy and tacky. Watch where the locals go, where they eat, where they shop etc.  It is especially useful to have a localite friend or acquaintance that can show you around and stop you from being engulfed by the tourist traps and wasting more money than necessary.

7: Bring your own snacks or eat with the locals:
You can save quite some money if you bring your own chips and energy bars as opposed to buying them off the streets for the local vendors always tend to quote a higher price to tourists. If you can’t manage to arrange snacks, try to eat at local joints as opposed to expensive restaurants. India is especially known for its wide range of street food.

8: Walk more:
Try to walk as much as possible and take cabs or ricks only when strictly necessary. This will both prove a way to get in some exercise and keep yourself fit, and also help you save some money.

9: Carry less hard cash:
While it is important to stock up some emergency cash at the bottom of your bag, make sure not to carry too much for all cities have some form of pick pockets or scam artists that can take advantage of you.

10: PLAN:
Plan an itinerary and an estimated budget before you travel. This will help you avoid confusion and also spending more than you had planned.

Finally, have fun! Backpacking is quite the experience of a lifestyle so make sure to relax and enjoy yourselves and soak in all the different cultures and activities and visuals you see. Also, make sure to take a lot of photos so you never forget.

How to Pack & Stay Light when Traveling

Traveling light is a magic trick that most people cannot pull off. The reason why we call it a magic trick is because there is a secret to doing it and once you learn that secret, you can be a magician as well. Jokes apart, here in this article, you will find tips to travel light. Also, we would like to mention that we have been traveling for well over a decade now and we come with ample amount of experience when it comes to this particular topic. What we learned the hard way is now compiled into a two to three-minute read, so sit back and learn the ways of the force.

  1. Small is better

The major reason why people end up carrying a lot of things is that their bags are big. People have this tendency to try filling up all the space that is available in the bag. So our solution is so simple that it works. We have a designated bag that is to be used only for traveling. The back is much smaller than your usual bags or suitcases and only fits just the right amount of clothes. If you are starting out, we suggest that you check out the Outbreaker bag.

  1. Just in Case

Don’t pack things with the mindset of “Just in Case”; remember that you are not preparing for war and the trip is not going to get as messy as you think it is going to become. Just make sure to pack things that are essential for the trip and not for the million permutation and combinations that you have thought off. We were recently on this trip to Maui and the island generally has tropical weather; one of our friends thought it would be a good idea to pack two sweaters and the reason she gave was “Just in Case”. Do you see the point we are trying to make?

  1. Walk on Air

We cannot begin to stress the importance of carrying shoes that are light; the best decision you could make is to ditch those fashionable clunky boots for light shoes that will take all the pain away from your body when you wear them. The essential thing to remember is that a vacation is meant to be enjoyed and should be used as a time to get some much needed R&R, not a time for you to think of yourself as a fashion model who requires over-the-top shoes to match each outfit.

Top 4 Common Travel Mistakes

There is something about traveling that makes everyone happy. It might be the destination that is making one happy or the kind of company they are going to be having or it could just be that a vacation is long overdue. Regardless of why you are traveling, there are certain things to keep in mind before traveling. We have compiled a list of common mistakes that people make while traveling and how to avoid them. So before you sit back and sip Long Island Iced Tea at the beach, make sure to give this article a good read.

  1. Passport

Most people don’t realise that certain places require your passport to be valid for a significant period of time before entering that country. What most people do is that they look at the expiration date, think they are in the clear and book tickets and apply for visa. Remember to look over the visa application to ensure that you are not left in a spot of bother at the last moment.

  1. Reviews

With the age of the internet, almost every place on the internet which has had visitors has been reviewed. Most places flourish because of the positive reviews that they have had. Recently we had visited London as a part of our Euro trip and we found this small little place that sold the best fish and chips we have ever had; if it wasn’t for the power of the internet, we would have likely skipped this small joint for something that had better advertisement.

  1. Overpacking

We can’t begin to stress the importance of packing light and only essentials. Almost everyone overpacks and tries to plan for every occasion possible on a trip, but the fact of the matter is that you end up not using most of the stuff that you carry. If that alone was the issue, it won’t be that big of a deal, but the problem arises when your luggage hampers your overall experience. Going back to our trip across Europe, we had a rule that a person has to bring only one luggage, but one of our friends packed so much that she actually needed help from us to carry her things. What this did was that it completely soured our whole experience.

  1. Photos

We get it, you want to take pictures to capture the occasion and the trip. But we have noticed that some people only go on trips to take photos. The essence of traveling is lost and you end up at times annoying other people who just want to enjoy the scenery or the place by constantly moving around to take the perfect picture.

Top 3 Myths About Travelling

Experience is lot better ways to learn things than listening to someone tell you what to do. We have travelled the world and don’t for a second think are experts at traveling, but we have come to some myths about traveling. Here in this article, we have listed some of those myths and state why they don’t hold weight to the argument.

  1. Months in Advance

People keep saying that you should book tickets for your trip months in advance to ensure that you get the best deals. The notion held weight in the early 2000s and has since died off. The argument was that the earlier you book, the better the deals were and the more money you saved in the process. Studies have shown that it doesn’t make a difference if you book flight tickets 6 months in advance or 6 weeks in advance and that booking six to seven weeks in advance gets you the best deals. The simple reason being that airlines are trying to fill the seats and will offer the best deals possible, thus making it the best period to book flight tickets. The fact of the matter is that there is enough supply to match the demand and thus it makes sense to book late than to book early at standard prices.

  1. Locals

The age-old belief that you know the back of your hand better than anyone else is sadly a myth that needs to be thrown out the window. If you want to find a cool joint to hang out or find the best hotel to stay it; it doesn’t make sense anymore to ask a local. Think of it like this, do you know every great place in your hometown, you possibly won’t know all the places to visit nor the best prices at the top of your mind. The best way to get information on the best deals is to ask other tourists or refer to the internet for any sort of help. If you still think locals do know more, then ask your hotel concierge or a local tour guide for more information. But a random person on the street is going to be as clueless as you about what place to go next.

  1. Crowds

People have this misconception that reaching a spot early means you beat the crowd. What they don’t take into consideration is that almost everyone is going to think of that as well. So we suggest that you take your time and reach a location. What we are trying to say is that the Eye of London is always going to be crowded, regardless of when you arrive. Thus making no sense as to why you want to arrive early.

Here is why you need to Travel more:

People travel for various reasons. Some are born with wanderlust and want to explore the world, while others seek after new experiences in life, and yet few others love spending the weekends with friends and families in another location. We have gathered up some of the best reasons for why you need to travel more.

Travelling allows you to become an adventurous person:

When you travel, you will come across things which you haven’t seen before in your life. When you are not in your comfort zone, you will tend to take up every new thing as a challenge and try to solve it most efficiently. Travelling enables you to put yourself in such challenging situations, and you will learn how to be more confident when you are put in a situation where you are entirely lost.

Helps you appreciate the things you don’t have:

We only miss our homes when we hit the road. In life, we understand things better when don’t have something. Till the time we have something we hardly appreciate its value, but when it is gone, we miss its absence and understand its real value. When you travel, you will appreciate the comforts of your home. Even if you are in the most luxurious hotels in the world, you will always want to come back home. When you travel for business, you will know that at the end of the day that family is all that matters and will look forward to talking to your loved ones.

Helps you discover yourself:

Most of us live a routine life, and we hardly get the time to understand who we truly are. When you travel, you are putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation, and you are providing yourself with a chance to discover yourself. You also tend to identify skills you never knew you had.

Travel helps you to learn new cultures and languages:

It is always fun to learn new things. When you travel, you have the opportunity to learn about the culture of the locality and learn about their lifestyle. It is also fun to learn new words in other languages and improve your knowledge.

Travelling gives you stories to remember for a lifetime:

As we travel, we will come across many adventures and daring situations which we will never forget in our entire life. We all would remember something which happened when we were on a trip a year ago much better than what happened at work last week.

Provides you with a sense of achievement:

When you complete a trip, you get this satisfaction that you were able to achieve something. Especially when you travel alone, you become more confident and feel a lot better as you will have a sense of achievement after each trip.

Advantages of Travelling alone

Traveling itself is a brilliant thing to do as it expands our horizons and makes us understand the true meaning of living. But when you decide to travel alone, you will get the chance to explore yourself besides exploring other things around you. Traveling alone has a lot of perks, and it can even change the way you view life. Though it is often considered as lonely and unsafe, there are several other advantages of traveling alone, and we have listed down some of the top perks of traveling alone.

Utter freedom to anything:

Traveling alone gives you the freedom to do anything you want. You don’t have to consider the opinion of the people who are traveling with you or adjust your plans based on others needs. Traveling alone lets you spend time at the place you love the most, and you don’t have to compromise with anyone.

Make new friends:

If you have traveled with your friends, you would have had so much fun and would have explored many things together, but you wouldn’t have gone out of your comfort zone to talk to the locals out there. When we travel as a group, we tend to stick to that group and hardly mingle with other travelers or localities. But when we travel alone, we don’t hesitate to interact with other tourists and the localities. Such interactions will make you very confident and also help you make new friends.

Spend as much as you want:

When you travel alone, you don’t have to worry about the budgets of the other people. When you travel in a group, you will be worried about how much to spend on food, hotels and other things. But when you travel alone, you can avoid many awkward situations.

You can reflect on yourself:

If you ever feel that you are stressed in life or if you are confused on what to do with your life, you need to take time off your daily schedule and go on a trip all by yourself. When you go on a trip all by yourself, you will get so much time to ponder upon your life, and you will also be able to reflect on yourself. Meeting new people and going to new places will make your mind very fresh and you will be able to think clearly. When you travel alone, you will be able to discover your hidden talents and characters.

Learn to be responsible and independent:

When you travel alone, you are out on your own. There is no one to guide you or tell you what to do, and you will have to figure out everything out on your own. When you do such things, you will be more independent and learn many things. Even after coming back from the trip you will have the confidence to do many things.


2 Must do things before booking a hotel

We have all been there; checking into a hotel and realising that it is clearly not worth all that money you have spent. The worst part is that that hotel is most likely to set the tone for the whole trip that you have planned out. The biggest red flag should be raised when you don’t want to return to your hotel room to crash; dreading go back is a sign that you didn’t put enough effort to book the right hotel. To spare you the blushes and to make sure you don’t make that cardinal sin; we have compiled a list of things to do before booking a hotel room.

  1. Reviews

Reviews are your biggest trump card, so play it well. Before you even consider booking a place, make sure that the online reviews of the place are good and generally positive. If there is overwhelming negative opinion coupled with amazing discounts, then we are sure that the place you are looking for is going to be nothing like those pictures that they have put up. There are a lot of travel blogs these days that you can check out to make sure that the place you are booking is at least internet certified. Word of caution though, we suggest that you take the reviews with a grain of salt because reviews can sometimes be based on singular experience during an off period, so to make sure to read the latest ones before forming an opinion.

  1. Location

Location has got to be one of the essential factors that you need to look into before planning on booking a hotel. Make sure that the hotel you are booking is either at the heart of the city or closest to the place you are looking to visit. Because it makes no sense to book a hotel that is far away from the city. You have got to realise that the only reason you are getting such great deals on hotels in obscure locations is because they are in obscure locations. And remember that what you save by booking a hotel that is so far away is actually used up in cab fares. So in the end you are in a lose-lose situation and end up spending almost the same amount.

We can go on and on pointing out other things that we think you need to look into. But if you get the basics right, then everything else should fall into place.

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