Sunday, May 15, 2011

Travel Light: How to Pack Below 15kg

If you’re travelling on the cheap via budget airlines, you should know by now that one MAJOR concern you have is baggage allowance. You are allowed a hand carry item of 7kg and a check-in item of 15kg.

Here, I’ll teach you how to keep your baggage within the 15kg allowance or below.

Ruck Sack. You may think that any backpack will do, as long as it serves its purpose of keeping all your stuff intact, and that you can swing it on your back. That’s what I thought too. But when I discovered this backpack, it made all the difference! It takes in consideration women’s body shape, and it claims to give you the “perfect anatomical fit”. That, and the “oh so light!” factor which sheds off the extra pounds from the standard packs we’re used to.

Clothes. This is where the bulk of the bulge comes in. It may vary per person and you may disagree with me at some point, but as a guideline, here’s what I usually bring with me:

a.     2 Convertible pants: If the weather gets warmer, you can just unzip and it automatically turns into short pants. They’re not as bulky as jeans, and they can look a bit formal when paired with a nicer shirt.

b.     5 Shirts:  2 dri-fit (which dries easily when I need to wash them), 3 plain colored wrinkle-free shirts.

c.      5 pairs of undies: thin cotton or those silk lace (which also dries fast) you can easily buy in Divisoria; and some bras

d.     Thermal underwear (during winter or heading to nippier destinations)

e.     Lightweight jacket (which acts as a wind-breaker or to fend off the full-blast air conditioned buses in SEAsia)

f.      Hat. Protect yourself from the sun, please! If you can find wide-brimmed hats made of local materials that can be tucked in your pack, those are perfect.

g.     Sarong / Malong. Acts as a skirt, or a blanket, or a towel.

h.     Scarf. Self-explanatory but I will have to write a different post for this.  

Footwear. This depends where you’re headed to, and what type of activities you’ll be doing. If your itinerary is adventure-filled and you’ll be doing a lot of trekking, then a pair of hiking boots is a must. If you’ll just be trotting along street market stalls in SouthEast Asia, then flip-flops will do. For poshier scenarios, pack a lightweight girly shoes .

 Toiletries. I usually transfer liquids or gels in smaller plastic jars (less than 100mL).
a.     Towel. This is the one I super LIKE. Lightweight. Absorbent. No synthetics. And it’s PHILIPPINE-made!
b.     2-in-1 shampoo and bodywash. It’s organic!
c.      Facial care. Cotton, toner, moisturizer, + sunblock!
d.     Sanitizer. For just about anything!
e.     Feminine products

Rid yourself of worry about having to pay excess baggage. Stick to this short list, and you’ll be surprised that it won’t even reach 10kg! That ‘ll give you enough space for your souvenirs to bring home from the trip J. Your mom will love you for it.

In the next article, I’ll give you the lowdown on what’s in my carry-on


  1. Great article Shawi! For longer trips I actually take 10 pairs of underwear - they're small and that way you're never caught out if you're moving every night. Don't forget insect repellant (for night I take light up mosquito coils). I also find it good to take a pair of nice(ish) jeans & black flip flops as you can wear them for days on end and can look dressy if put with the one good top you have. A filter bottle to put water in - saves having to spend loads on bottled water. It always help to remember that you need so much less than you think.

  2. ladylovescake, you are the traveling guru! thanks for the tips. very useful. hope you don't mind if i feature you in one of my posts? :)

    and wow, you're getting married! how's dan? aren't u going back to NZ? thinking of going there during their summer. ;P

  3. Very nice Shawi!This is Bianca. From my travel experience, I prefer places where I can go hiking, so I always bring with me an insect repellant pad that I can stick on my clothes rather than sprays or lotions and no more hassles passing through airport security. A water bottle is a must, my travel philosophy is to lessen my garbage in places I visit. I can get refills from the restaurant I visited and I save money too. I have long hair so I bring with me 2 small towels. A turban (smurflike towel)if only I have to wash my hair and 1 small highly absorbent towel I bought from a sportshop.The most important things are copies of my travel documents that I leave with my family or closest friend and 1 to my host/travel buddy for security purposes and emergency cases. Happy travelling!

  4. Good job, Shawi! I will add the following to the the list: insect repellant, toothbrush and toothpaste, an emergency kit with some medication, a small flashlight, a camera, an iPhone (for emergency phone calls, music, WIFI, ebooks, and many more), and a good book. Tracy


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