Sorry gentlemen, this article is aimed at female backpackers, however, you probably will benefit by reading it, so go for it. You might have a greater respect for female backpackers encountered along your journey. Be warned, this article will not provide secret insight into the lives of women, so stop reading if you are looking for tips on picking up girls at the bar.
Now where was I... oh yes. Almost daily some sad girl walks up to me (at a hostel, on the street, at the airport) huffing and puffing and overburdened by a massive backpack.
She'll pause to catch her breath and then ask if my small blue backpack (only 33 liters) is my main pack. I respond, “yeah, this is it”, and immediately offer to help with a door or assist in some other practical way. I've even bent down to tie a girls shoe, because she simply couldn't. Her 80 liter bag prevented her from doing anything except staggering along like a drunk on their way home from New Years Eve party.
Let's end this cycle! You don't need all that crap, and your back will be thankful when you get home. A 40-50 liter pack should do the trick!
Top 10 ways to pack less and look sexy doing it:
Practice putting everything into, and taking everything out of, your backpack before departure. Does it all fit? Do you have room to bring anything back? Where will you put food items? Omit the dozen or so things you know you can live without. How often will you really wear that hat? Ditch it and grab a bandana. Work the 'Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider' look. You will look adventurous and ready to explore the world with a bandana.
Bring 2 pairs of panties, a bra, a pair of socks, a pair of pants, a swim suit, a towel... alright I think you've got the idea. One should be plenty. You can wash items in the sink as they get dirty. Drying your panties (or bra) in a public place brings a new element of mystery and excitement. Who might see them drying and wonder if you're going commando?
Don't bring jeans! I know, I don't like it either but they are heavy, take up too much space in your pack, and if you get caught in the rain they won't dry over night. Bring a pair of pants (trousers!) that can dry quickly or a fun flowing skirt. You won't have the denim hassle and you'll stand out from the tourist crowd and their jeans and t-shirts uniformity. You might even be mistaken as a fashionable local.
Since you only packed your tight red tube top, your favorite t-shirt and your sexy black tank top, make sure you bring a few accessories...or even better, don't bring any! Instead, buy them as souvenirs along your adventure. Return home with international items you just can't find at the mall. Why not show off that you're a world traveler? You have access to jewelry, bags, and sarongs that people have never seen before. Go home sporting your new sexy, sophisticated look.
Don't pack a hair dryer. It won't work (you'll need an adaptor, etc) and you can buy one 'in country' if needed. To help you out, some large hostels will have them on site. Also, you could ask nicely to borrow someone else's hair dryer as you make friends sharing a bathroom with more girls than your two sisters back home. While asking around in the ladies for that hair dryer, be sure to avoid the girl whose date you scandalously flirted with last night. She won't be inclined to assist you.
Don't bring unnecessary paperwork with you. The world is a lot smaller these days and you can scan all that paperwork (travel documents, insurance details etc) into your email. It's also wise to give your parents a copy of everything, like a photocopy of your passport just in case you lose it. Why carry a folder full of documents when you don't need to?
Go through your makeup stash and see if you have any samples or smaller compacts. You can probably get around with Chapstick and mascara on most days. But, remember to be selective with the other makeup. You know your most alluring features. Is it your eyes? Bring the liner and the sharpener. Is it your mouth? Gloss it up girl! Be selective and bring a handful of makeup that puts you into movie star mode.
You don't need a new outfit each day. This is not your typical lifestyle. Remember, you will travel to new places and meet new guys everyday. That strappy sundress will be brand new to them. Yes, it will be inconvenient to not have a closet full of clothes. But if you wanted that, you would have stayed at home. Staying in the same place for a few nights? You'll meet loads of girls along the way that you would feel comfortable sharing clothes with or even swapping clothes with them. It's part of the travel adventure. Be confident in any outfit you wear. Plus, you won't look back and care about what you wore, it's the experiences that you have that will make your trip.
Limit your shoes to 2 pairs. You should always have 2 pairs in case one pair gets wet. Don't try and strap 8 pairs of shoes to your backpack. You will look like a ridiculous traveling shoe store. Be smart, Google the current climate and weather and pack shoes that will function accordingly. Are you traveling to a great shopping destination? Wear your only pair of shoes on the plane, and, once you arrive, buy a new pair of shoes as a memento of your journey.
Know that you will impress the guys without even trying. Don't forget, once you travel to a far distant land, you become the hot exotic girl. But, exotic girl or not, you will just look stupid trying to walk around with a bag larger than you. And forget about going dancing. Your body will be too sore from all the shit in your bag to shake it much on the dance floor.
I promise that you don't need 75% of the stuff you put on the packing list. As you breeze through towns and cities, with your super light backpack, remember to have sympathy for the girl with the huge backpack. You could have been her. So, give her a smile and maybe, just maybe, help her tie her shoe because you're the one who lives by the rule of "Pack less and Look Sexy Doing It!"
Thanks to outdoors.webshots.com for the image