No matter what type of travelling you are doing around Australia, carrying a lighter load makes it far better for many reasons, including increased comfort, mobility and flexibility. If you are planning a trip Down Under and you are a classic over-packer, the following tips will help you reduce the burden and get more enjoyment out of your travels.
Make a packing list
If you’ve never been much of a list-maker, then it’s time to start. If you’re serious about reducing weight by travelling with as little as possible, then making a list is perhaps the most useful thing you can do. Having a list makes it far easier for you to evaluate each item and decide whether or not it’s that important. Then, once you have the list completed, you’ll be less likely to throw in extra stuff you don’t need “just in case”.
Leave anything you can behind when you travel
Especially if you’re backpacking, little things add up in weight really fast. Most importantly, don’t take things that you think you might need. Instead, take only those things you know you’ll need. Go through your packing list again and ask yourself: “Can I do without this? What is the worst that could happen if I don’t have it?”
For instance, you may not need that spare jumper in Australia, but having a good pair of walking shoes is a must if you plan on doing any bushwalking or winery tours that involve a lot of standing. Similarly, do you need that heavy guidebook? Or can you make photocopies of important pages and bring those instead?
Substitute items for lighter alternatives
Now that you have items narrowed down to only those you need, determine whether or not you can substitute items with something similar that weighs less. Many common travel items have a lightweight equivalent, such as Lexan plastic cutlery instead of stainless steel. Small, quick-dry towels are much better than large, bulky towels you would use at home. Instead of taking five books, you could take your e-reader instead. Do you really need that big umbrella, or will a travel pocket-sized one do the trick?
If you can’t omit something, and there isn’t a lighter version, can you simply take less of it? Instead of taking full-sized containers of supplies, think about whether or not some things can be transferred into smaller containers. For instance, instead of taking a full 200ml bottle of shampoo, transfer it to a 50ml travel-sized container instead. Do this with your conditioner or, better yet, take an all-in-one!
Similarly, take a partially used tube of toothpaste rather than a full one. Perhaps you could even cut the amount of clothes you need in half simply by resolving to do laundry more often. It may sound like nitpicking, but you can significantly reduce the weight you carry by considering these small details.
Consider material for your travels
Especially if you’re travelling to the hotter parts of Australia, such as on a Kakadu tour, you can generally get away with taking clothes made from a lighter, quick-drying material. These clothes can easily be rinsed in a sink or tub and hung to dry overnight, which minimises how much you have to take. Similarly, when travelling to cooler parts you can wear more wool (such as wool socks or base layers), which is a material that doesn’t absorb odours and so doesn’t need to be washed as often.