3 Money Saving Tips To Help You Pack Lighter And Make Life Easier

10-1-23 Dubrovnik, Croatia

If you’re packing for international travel, here are a few tips to think about.

No matter how much research you put into planning a long nomadic journey, you will make mistakes. You may get 90% of things right, but the stuff you get wrong will aggravate the crap out of you, especially when you’re lugging around a suitcase full of things you don’t use.

I traveled with a guy who would bring a full-size suitcase, a giant carry-on bag, and a large backpack. And each bag was bursting at the seams. You would think he was moving overseas. And that was just for a week-long trip.

I couldn’t imagine what he would take for a six-month journey. If you’re a pack rat or someone who has to ensure you have every contingency covered, you will plan your worst nightmare.

Because of my research, I knew packing light was essential. Because you have to carry everything everywhere, bringing a lot of junk is a hassle. Think about being in a crowded bus station and having to use the bathroom.

First, not everywhere is what we call” handicap accessible.” You may have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the bathroom. Most European bathrooms charge to get in, and many have turn styles.

So, after getting down a flight of stairs, you must maneuver through the turn styles and bring all your luggage. Have fun with that.

When I packed for a six-month trip, I got down to one carry-on bag and a personal bag. ( A backpack) And even though I did that, it took only three weeks to realize I packed too much stuff. 

Things I did wrong


I packed 3 pairs of blue jeans. However, I quickly learned they weigh a lot and are challenging to wash and dry. I got rid of two pair within three weeks, and the third will probably be history soon.

What I would do today

Camping pants. These pants have zippers on each leg that you can take off the bottom part and make into shorts. These are versatile and light and take up less space than jeans.

But more than that, when traveling for five months and living in hotels, you wash your clothes in the sink or shower. ( Good luck finding self-service laundromats). These pants are thin. So they are easy to clean and dry quickly.


I believed having a good pair of boots and walking shoes was the way to go. I went to camping stores and looked online. I found great hiking boots for about $200. I bought them and broke them in. The result, I needed more room for them. I left them behind.

What I would do today

Since I’m not doing camping adventures, walking shoes are my lifeblood. I would invest in a good pair of walking shoes and break them in before you go. About 15 years ago, I was running marathons and triathlons and even finished the 2013 Louisville Ironman. So I know the value of having good shoes.

And I’ll admit that I made a mistake in this department. Someone was being nice and did a lot of research about the best-rated shoes. And bought me a pair for me. Against my better judgment, I took them as the only shoes I had.

They were fine. They were comfortable, and I walked 45 miles a week with no problems. Unfortunately, after about six weeks, they started to sound like I had suction cups on the bottom of my shoes; they aggravated me and everyone else around me.

Within seven weeks, I spent $200 to replace them with the shoes I originally planned to bring. You live, you learn.


Traveling to 10 countries in six months, I wanted great pictures. And I decided to get an excellent digital camera. I threw away almost all the extra accessories and the carrying case. But I took the charger, bought a wonderful telephoto lens, and memory cards. It is the best camera I ever owned. But it takes up too much space and weighs too much.

What I would do today

I wish I would have bought a better phone and skipped the camera. Here’s why. The pictures are easier to download to the internet from a phone than to use a computer. And some internet connections are too weak to download from a computer.

I hope this helped. And it saves you the $200 on shoes, $800 on a camera and $75 for jeans it cost me.

Till next time, enjoy life’s journey.

Joe OBrien

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