They say that the more stuff you have, the more it has you. In my more mature years (slightly past age 29), I’ve learned that this is true. I’ve found this especially true when people travel outside the U.S.
Americans LOVE to over pack. We for some reason like to drag around our stuff with us wherever we go. But, today while preparing for my next trip outside the US (OUS) soon*, I’ve reinforced yet again that a purge trip is in order.
What, pray tell, is a purge trip?
I’m so glad you asked!
It’s an opportunity to clean out your closet, get rid of stuff you don’t need (or should have donated or thrown in the rag bag a long time ago), and come home with a lighter load. Yes, I mean that you’re going to wear clothing and LEAVE IT BEHIND.
While I normally just go with a backpack, this time is tricky, because I’m getting on a cheap flight in the middle of the trip with crazy baggage restrictions, and yes, that would mean I’d have to check my backpack, believe it or not. Instead, I’ve decided to take along a roller board that is on its last leg, so it, too, can stay behind.
So, here’s how I roll on a purge trip:
1. Take every T-shirt with holes, grease, bleach and paint marks – You’re going to wear them one last time, then leave them behind in the hotel. Trust me, it seems like my closet collects T shirts that have these issues – here’s the big chance to take them on one last journey! Besides, you can cover them up in layers like jackets or with scarves – no one is going to know you when you travel abroad anyway!
2. Buy bottoms that can be easily washed on the trip – I rarely throw out bottoms on my purge trips – they’re tricky for me to find that fit. On this particular trip, I’m going to try out a Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt. It has a lot of secret compartments, and washes up/dries out on the road in a breeze. Literally. Ladies – skirts can be a good option for wash and rinse on the go. Needless to say – you’re going to wear a money belt when you travel OUS – right? It needs to hold your passport, credit cards, and wads of cash – they make them now with RFID blockers too.
3. Find dual purpose clothing – Pickpockets are all over the world – they prey on tourists. Don’t LOOK like a tourist. One way you can do that is avoid carrying the big American bag or backpack. I like the SholdIT brand of scarves, this brand of vests, and the ScotteVest line with RFID blockers (which I may need to ask Santa about this Christmas). The last thing, ladies, you want to be dragging around is some big American junk filled purse. Don’t do it.
4. If you return with empty luggage, you can stock up on souvenirs – Now I don’t typically buy a lot of junk when I go on an OUS trip. However, if you go on a purge trip and need to buy a bunch of trinkets for friends and family at home – guess what? You’ve now got an empty suitcase that you can stock up with your favorite goodies and check on the way home, rather than sweating out how to stuff everything back in that suitcase to begin with – yay!
That’s it. Just consider the next time you go for a serious week or more OUS trip, that you consider getting rid of some stuff that should have gone a long time ago, and that will free you from the burden of dragging it all over the world.
Your back will thank me.
*Where am I going, you might ask? Well, feel free to back the Kickstarter campaign and find out. Only the backers are going on the road trip with me this time. Note two hints: 1. It’s somewhere I’ve never been, ever and 2. The trip is going to have AMAZING weather.