Travel, Travels Tips

Travelling Light

This is what we do.  

We trundle behind us a suitcase as we make our way to various housesits.  Our clothing needs to be diverse to cope with temperatures that can range from -14C to 46C.  That was our the reality for 2016/17.

Hopefully, 2018 won’t be so dramatic.  To counteract that we decided the best plan of attack was to choose a warmer destination to spend our next winter.

We chose Spain.  We are fortunate to have a few resits for people we have housesat for before [in a different country] and some new people/animals to meet.


We are used to changing in the middle of one season to another.  In October, we headed back for a few weeks to see family and friends, due to being on the arse-end of the world, it was spring.  Which won’t be too much of a drastic change from London in Autumn.  Famous last words, as evidently, we are always proven wrong when it comes to working out what the temperature will be in the country of arrival.  The day we arrived last year it was freezing!

Going back to New Zealand always means the sorting out of suitcases, NOT to mention the storage unit [where all those unmatched socks are stored].  The reason, of course, is due to the location of our housesits, the whole year is usually never entirely organised, just a few, to plan flights and other transport that is required.

So how do we do it?

Before reassessing what goes into our suitcases, we have one important rule:

If we didn’t wear an item that year, out, it goes.

Our most used brands are Kathmandu and Icebreaker, mainly due to their wearability overlapping a few seasons. UPDATE October 2018:  We are now using these less and taking advance of sales in Europe for warmer clothing.

Here is what goes into our principal suitcases:

  • 4 pairs of trousers/jeans [lightweight] – thermal longjohns for those colder days
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 1 dress [Me not the Squire]
  • Socks – various colours, maybe the odd pattern up to 5 couples.
  • Underwear – more than 5 less than 15.  Remove any with holes.  An absolute standard needs to be upheld.
  • 5-6 tops/shirts
  • 2 Jackets
  • 3 cardigans [Me] 2 jumpers [Squire]
  • Swimwear – 1 item each
  • 3 Thermal and Merino tops
  • 3 pairs of comfortable shoes/boots – no jandals [are we Kiwis?]
  • Personal care items –  bare essentials- one small bag each
  • Travel hair dryer
  • A couple of non-fiction books and notebooks – time away from screens!

Some clothes [light summer clothing] are folded, and placed on the bottom of the suitcase, with our current clothing on the top.  This may seem obvious, though it is incredible how many people we know that mix their clothing up.  We are always able to find what we need very quickly without stress, any ways of reducing it, is still a good option in our lifestyle.

Simplicity, not complicated.  Comfort before Fashion! Or both if we get it right!

summer deals!_edited

Other points to consider are:

  • Be culturally sensitive by wearing appropriate clothing, churches/mosques all have rules that we think should be adhered to with respect.  Even walking around a country that is predominately Muslim, be conservative in your choice of clothing.
  • All valuables are placed in our carry-on bags and the odd purchased item.
  • A change of clothing in our carry on
  • Tops and pants are interchangeable – no purple with pink, thank you!
  • SCARVES are a must, though have not convinced the Squire of this fact!
  • Love the neutral colours, White/Grey/Black.  No, I am not a follower of Fashion.
  • Clothes for the plane are always BLACK – it hides the food stains!
  • Layers! I can’t mention this enough times as I found it reduces the amount of clothing needed.
  • Merino wool t-shirts are excellent for winter with other layers and usable in different seasons such as a UK summer/spring.  Usually, wool can be reused without washing more than most other fabrics.
  • Lightweight materials are easily washable and dry quickly [reducing the need to have so many clothes]
  • A small first aid box.
  • The computers we use are window 10 tablets, lightweight and robust.
  • We both have smartphones with a selection of sim cards
  • In our carry-on, we always have portable battery devices, various external hard-drives, power adapters [we each have our own, saves frustration when wanting to charge more than one device!]
  • Photocopies of all travel plans, insurance papers, valuable items, e.g. jewellery, computers
  • Have copies of your bank accounts to show immigration officers you do indeed have an income to support yourself.
  • IMPORTANT – check up on each individual EU country regulations via their Embassy websites to check on rules regarding entering as they do change regularly.  Breaking that 90-day rule will blow the budget.
  • Credit cards/Cash cards – more than one way of accessing funds.  Only have one account available through the money machines.  Access to other accounts through online banking
  • Our smartphones and computers run through a Virtual Private Network – best overall for 2017 – this is important when using them at airports and other public areas
  • A particular bag to hold an assortment of currencies.   This saves having to find a cash machine as soon as you arrive at your destination when tired from travelling.

Final Notes on Packing

The positive and the negative of packing light

Pros: Our life fits into one carry-on and a suitcase [on wheels], the larger one never going over 18kgs. It’s pretty simple, everything we need as a full-time traveller is right there, and we can pack up and go in minutes half an hour if the truth is to be told!.  We enjoy the sense of freedom that goes with having few possessions with us and having that ability to move around without having to think of what to do with excess luggage.

Cons: On the other hand, sometimes we wouldn’t mind some extra clothing. Like winter coats that are much warmer though are too bulky to pack, or another shirt or another pair of shoes, for example.  What is particularly tiresome more days is not having a large selection of clothes to choose from in our suitcases.  We do on occasion see something that we would like to purchase, something that would look great in our next home, I have to remind myself that we are full-time travellers that live out of suitcases and that there is no room in there for cool Moroccan lamps or a handwoven Turkish mat. Or the energy to carry the extra weight around for months on end.  Before you say it, posting it back is not always possible, and the expense can be eye-watering.  Though never say never, we might one day get carried away and buy something special.

Now getting back to the dilemma about whether I need to include another warmer jacket in my luggage.  Though as I have mentioned above, we hope not to repeat the -14C this northern winter.  We will be in Southern Spain where it doesn’t get too cold.

Yes, I can see the headlines now,

ELEVATE (1)_edited

On a side note, as I wrote this update in October 2018, Spain did have a cold spell which broke previous records!


56 thoughts on “Travelling Light”

  1. The art of packing light is an insanely under appreciated skill. It can never be over emphasized & is an absolute must for every globetrotter. Travelling light can make or break a holiday or a trip. I believe that every one of you will be able to pack light by the end of this article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, and it certainly does make travelling much more difficult than it needs to be when people take too much clothing on a trip!


  2. I had to laugh about your comment on underwear with holes (and standards). I guess I have no standards because I save said underwear specifically for travel… wear it once; wash it; wear it again; toss it. Lightens the load for the trip home.

    Of course, I’m usually away for 2 weeks, not numerous months, plus, I’m not staying in someone’s home.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting response Donna, not to sure I get your concept of wash and throw them away. Underwear is hardly going to weigh a lot. Seems a waste of money to me.


  3. Although I live on a sailboat (while my backyard changes often, my house remains the same) my wardrobe is about the same size and style as you describe above. Not a lot of room on a sailboat and I have a rule that I can only bring what I can carry. We sail in multiple weather systems so I need to be prepared with lots of layers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be honest we all have our favourite clothing even if we have a wardrobe full of clothing. It’s great to read so many of us are challenging ourselves with differing lifestyles!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m going to Barcelona on Friday but only for one night to meet up with my second daughter over from Malaysia. Oddly the idea of 24 hours in a city fills me with more anxiety for packing than a lengthy stay … your list is more useful than you realise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Are you sure you’re Kiwis? What happened to “Be Prepared” and “Four seasons in one day”? Ha ha 🙂 Actually your list looks like a jolly good one. Thanks very much for sharing. This will give us a good start for next year. And we better start stocking up at the Kathmandu sales.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks you two, the final destination is always worth it. Plus our travelling is spread out with weeks of not travelling only by walking 😀 It’s going to be great from now on as we have a few resits for people and animals we know. The majority of our travel and housesitting is in the countryside so we get to relax 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent advice! We were able to “survive” in Oaxaca for five weeks with what we had in a small suitcase, but the weather was pretty consistent. I hate being cold and, unfortunately, warm clothes tend to take up more room. You’ve listed some great tips to lighten the load!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We have been chasing warmer winters every year, and hope to finally not be cold this winter in San Diego, Southern California. That being said, I am already chilled certain times of the day. I had to laugh at your last statement. Very recognizable. We have been unlucky with the weather everywhere, the last year, with wetter, colder , and snowier seasons than usually. So, this might be the first time that San Diego will see snow. Just because we are here! 🙂

    Compared to us, you both are still quite fashionable!! Your packing list sounds great and has a lot of potential. Everything is covered. But, I do agree that a decent coat for icy winters is really, really nice. Avoiding those icy winters is the best remedy.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Loved your long list of what to pack!

    Truth be told, even after 30+ years of trampsing around our globe on numerous forms of transport, I still pack too many items of which many I don’t end up using – habit or security?

    When on the move, we both travel with backpacks and smaller daypacks, which typically means 30kgs for each person. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I have a bad back! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good points Nilla. Security and habit no doubt. If I get the combination wrong we can always correct it by buying a cheap top etc. Yes, you are certainly a well travelled traveller!!

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Ditto and we have been known to take an hour or more looking at all the variety in some supermarkets especially in the deli sections 😃

              Liked by 1 person

  9. I find your peripatetic lifestyle both fascinating and vaguely like a nightmare. Maybe it’s that winter coat! How do you source your sits? How do you deal with your permanent home? How do you make it work financially? Gosh Saturday morning and I’m as nosey as Kardashian at a plastic surgery convention.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, my main concern was working out what the heck peripatetic meant!! We go through TrustedHousesitters. You do make me laugh!! About to board our flight. If you are seriously wanting more info PM us and I shall answer some of your questions 😀 It’s definitely not a nightmare 😎


        1. I’m not sure what else to blog about the subject of how we do it that I haven’t already covered. We use TrustedHousesitters and we are retired. The rest is personal 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Entertaining and impressive! I wish I had your talent, I take far more than that for three weeks. I do try, but I justify it to myself because we move on every 2-3 days and it’s not always easy to do laundry. Where I do match you is in disdaining fashion for comfort. I have a summer vacation wardrobe in neutral colours which I pack up every year and rarely wear at home. It’s quite interesting to look at pictures from 10 years ago and recognise clothes I still have! The only thing that’s changes is my hair (greyer) and my size (bigger). My go to brand is Rohan, probably UK only, which is light, tough and washes and dries quickly without creasing. Good for winter jackets!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Anabel, I will look out for the Rohan clothing brand when we return to the UK. Thanks for the suggestion.


        1. I am finally on my computer to answer a few comments properly! Thanks for the added information Anabel. Will certainly check them out.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks, very useful info, we will be in Spain too next year, and expecting warmer weather than what we are currently experiencing for our NZ spring. 😢
    Interesting that you allow yourself a travel hair dryer, I am contemplating that item myself and wondered if it was too much of a luxury….
    Definitely agree about the Icebreaker and Kathmandu gear, so versatile and lasts well without breaking the bank.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hiya, pleased to hear that the info was useful. Being fulltime travellers it’s useful having my hairdryer. Though most times housesits have a hairdryer available for me to use. I have such fine hair I need the boost a dryer gives my hair 😊 My husband wears Kathmandu more than me as the trousers are such a good fit for tall men. Look forward to reading about your travel plans.


    1. Practice makes perfect! Believe me April, when moving around you soon tire of lots of luggage. Tend to have our favourite clothing. Quality over quantity 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We are heading back to Germany in June. Hopefully we have the time to head over in that direction. Really enjoy Art Galleries. The Squire more inclined to enjoy Museums.

          Liked by 1 person

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