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Pack Light, Travel Well: 5 Tips for Pain-Free Travel

Posted by Jesse Flores on

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The time has come. It’s here. You’ve been planning for months (or longer). Yup, Vacaaation!

Whether you’re planning a trip to Disney World or a walking tour of Europe, you’ve invested a lot of time and money to create an experience you’ll never forget. However, with the wrong luggage and the wrong support, the trip can go from ‘awesome!’ to ‘awful!’ pretty quickly.

Here are some packing tips to help you make the trip memorable for the right reasons.

Tip #1: Pack Right, Pack Light

For most trips, the last thing you want is to be encumbered with lots of luggage. You’re going to be on your feet for a lot of the trip and, for many people, you will walk way more in a day than you do in a typical week. Or maybe even a typical month.

That can be a lot of strain on a body that’s used to it. Especially if you don’t know how to walk right.

So, for a vacation with a lot of time on the go, you want to make sure that you travel light. Otherwise, that added weight will make the trip a lot hotter, a lot sweatier, and a lot more stressful on your body than it needs to be.

Tip #2: Take lightweight, fresh clothing

It pays to pay close attention to what you’re wearing. All day on your feet in “any old gear” and you can end up drenched in sweat. Dress too light, however, and the evenings can end up too chilly. Rather than switching outfits several times, it’s best to stock a few items that can see you through the whole day.

For light travelers, merino wool is a fiber that can do it all. This isn’t your grandad’s wool. It’s a much finer fiber, different from the low-grade variety you’ll find in scratchy, rough carpets. Because merino sheep are naturally found in climates that get very hot in the summer, yet very cold in the winter, their wool is a highly breathable material that’s well suited for both kinds of climates.

What’s more, this natural fiber doesn’t allow bacteria to attach itself to it. This effectively means that it does not hold odor, to the point that you can wear it multiple days without washing it. There’s no need to launder merino wool after wearing it, and you can find socks, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and more made of this fiber.

To be fair, high-grade merino isn’t cheap, but it is a worthwhile investment for a fabric so versatile and long-lasting. Considering the investment you’re already making in your vacation, it’s worth the extra expense.

Polyester microfiber clothing, like Dri-Fit shirts, are also light, breathable, and don’t take much room in your luggage at all. Both they and Gore-Tex clothing allow water vapor from the skin to pass through and evaporate into the air, keeping you comfortable, cool, and dry. If you’re expecting a little rain, Gore-Tex is also waterproof.

However, neither option is odor-proof quite like merino, so you have to weigh the pros vs. the costs.

Tip #3: A good, versatile bag

When it comes to a trip that sees you on your feet a lot, you need a bag that can hold everything you need, but without weighing you down too much. For instance, there are good Patagonia travel bags that come in single-strap or backpack form that can carry a lot more volume than the standard roll bag, yet are light enough to not stress your shoulders and back too much on your journey.

A good, light, versatile bag can be especially valuable if you suffer from hip pain or back pain.

That versatility should extend to how practically you can pack the bag as well. You may not need to stop and access the main storage compartment too often, but other items like your camera, lip balm, water bottle, or even gum should be much easier to reach.

Rather than holding everything in your pockets, using a bag with accessible side pockets can keep you moving without having to stop to fish out what you need.

If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll also be tasked with carrying, well, all their things. So, the lighter and more voluminous, the better.

Tip #4: Great support for your feet

When you’re packing light for a trip to Europe or Disney World, it’s likely that you’re going to spend a lot more time on your feet than you usually do. However, when you’re walking a lot more than you’re used to, relying on the same old footwear can get pretty sore not only on your feet, but also your hips and back.

For that reason, it’s worth considering what footwear you’re using. For starters, make sure you have a well-constructed shoe that is right for your foot. You want to make sure it has good arch support and solid heel support.

Wear good running or walking shoes and make sure you break the shoes in before the trip, too. That way, you aren’t getting blisters or aggravating heel pain on your trip. That said, don’t wear worn out shoes. They’re liable to hurt, more than help.

If you aren’t used to walking a lot, you may want to consider a pair of insoles. Well-made insoles can help distribute the pressure of each step more evenly, provide shock absorption, and support the arch, heel, and even your toes. All of this stops your feet from feeling the aches and pains of a long day’s walking and standing. Not only do they offer some foot relief, but insoles also stop you from wearing through your shoes at the points where you might tend to put the most pressure with each step.

Tip #5: Make memories & enjoy yourself!

With a little preparation and the right equipment, you can make this vacation one to remember. After all, it’s not every day that you get to take these trips and you want them to count. So, pack well, pack light, protect your body, and have fun! Then, snap us a pic on Instagram and let us live vicariously through you!


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