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One of our tricks to being able to travel often is finding the best deals on flights. Sometimes we don’t even have a destination in mind, because anywhere we haven’t traveled to yet is on our list of where we want to go.
On our latest trip to Costa Rica, we booked our flights through Spirit because they were cheaper than other airlines by a couple hundred bucks. If you have flown with Spirit before, you know that they charge extra for basically everything. If your arms weren’t attached to your body, they would probably charge $12 for each arm one way. We didn’t want to pay the fee to bring a carry on, so we figured we would be able to fit everything we needed in a personal item sized backpack.
Let’s start there, with the backpacks we used. We both brought our Herschel Little America 25L backpacks on this trip, and they worked out great. We like these backpacks because they are both functional and stylish. They hold a good amount for their size and they are super comfortable to carry around.
During our travels, we have begun collecting some of the best secrets to packing efficiently. When you are on the move, you don’t want to be carrying around anything more than what you absolutely need. The secret to traveling efficiently – and on the cheap! – is being a practical and light packer.
- Think about what you will be doing during your trip. Are you planning on hiking, going to the beach, exploring the city by foot, dining out in fancy restaurants, going dancing?
- Research the weather, and remember to look into what season it will be while you're there because seasons can vary drastically from place to place. The great thing about traveling is creating friendships in the places you love, so you can ask around to see how the weather is and pack accordingly.
Let’s talk about what the inside of our backpacks looked like for our 2 week trip in Costa Rica.
Clothing wise we both brought: 2 bikinis, 2 pairs of shorts (I bought 1 more pair of shorts while we were there because they were super comfy and perfect for beach days – remember to leave some room for purchases on the road), 1 pair of lightweight pants, 7 pairs of underwear (I knew I would be mostly wearing a bathing suit so no need for 14 pairs of panties), 1 sports bra, 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 lightweight rain jacket, 2 pairs of sandals (1 for beachwear and 1 for going out), 1 pair of sneakers, 1 hat and 4 shirts that could be worn as beachwear as well as nightwear.
Another strategy to consider is if you're traveling with a partner, think about items that can be shared during your trip. As sisters, we basically share everything, so we will trade off outfits and pieces of clothes with each other so it’s basically like bringing twice as much!
What else did we pack? A hammock, of course!
I clipped my hammock to the outside of my backpack to save room inside. The hammock ended up being one of the most important things that we brought. It is super lightweight, so it was easy to tie to my backpack as well as carry around at the beach everyday. I ordered this hammock from Amazon before we went on our 20-Day Road Trip last summer. It comes with everything you need to tie it up: ropes and carabiners. We used it everyday while in Costa Rica. During the day, we would use it as a sheet to lay down on the sand on then in the afternoon tie it to a couple coconut trees to watch the sunset. I even slept in it on the beach one night. Highly recommend!
I packed the current book I’m reading, The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World by Torre Deroche. I actually didn’t even open it once while we were in Costa Rica because I was so caught up in living in the moment. But after recently finishing Deroche’s first novel Love with a Chance of Drowning and falling in love with her sense of adventure and love for travel, I thought it would be a good pick to bring along while wandering the beaches and jungle of Costa Rica.
We brought our Go Pro, which we also bought before our road trip last summer. We love it and bring it everywhere because it's small, easy to snap epic pictures and pretty much indestructible.
An item we always bring while traveling is our padlocks. We use them for locking valuable items in lockers while staying in hostels. They are easy to use and their small size makes them a breeze to pack.
We brought our iPad so we could work while on the road. While at home, we use our MacBooks to work and write, but we love to bring our iPad while traveling because it's slim, easy to pack and easy to tote with us to cafés or wherever we can find WiFi. We also have a keyboard we can connect via bluetooth that makes typing up long blog posts much more tolerable.
Toiletries are my most dreaded items to pack. I tend to either pack too much or not enough. Plus, it never fails that something explodes inside the Ziploc during transit and all my other toiletries end up drenched in tea tree oil. A tip to keep in mind when packing toiletries – you can always pick up toothpaste or shampoo on the road, so don't stress if you don't have the room to bring everything.
Bonus packing tip: wear as many of your bulkiest items of clothing as you can while traveling to your destination. For example, I wore my yoga pants, a tank top, a jacket, my sneakers and hat while traveling so I didn’t have to pack them. Attaching things to your backpack is also a good trick because it doesn’t take up space in your bag and you don’t have to hold on to it.