Traveling Light

As soon as you start traveling full time, you gradually realize how little you need, no matter whether you are a lone backpacker or a family of five. Not having to schlep heavy suitcases or overthink your daily outfits, and quicker packing/unpacking are all good reasons to downsize your stuff to a bare minimum.

Once we decided to fit our family’s stuff into five backpacks, we had to do some research. You might ask why, but there are backpacks and there are BACKPACKS – and we were looking for the latter. We made a list of our criteria:

  • meets the strict limits for carry-on luggage;
  • light-weight;
  • durable;
  • at least 40 liters;
  • comfortable to carry;
  • easy access to what’s inside (suitcase-like opening);
  • pockets for laptops/iPads.

We read a lot of praise on the Osprey brand and decided to get the Farpoint 40 (1,350g) for Alex and Lilly, and Porter 46 (1,090g) for us. After a few months of real-life testing, we are convinced that we made the right choice. The kids are able to carry theirs (each weighs about 5 kilos) for a short period of time and we can fit quite a lot into our two. Maya got our old city backpack which we also use for our daily outings.

To organize our stuff, we bought Bago packing cubes. These things are so incredibly useful – I don’t know how people can live without them. 😀 We bought five different colors which makes it really easy for everyone to spot their things right away.

Here’s a list of the things we’ve packed. If you want to see the details, simply expand the below sections:

Merino tees – 4 short-sleeve, 1 long-sleeve
Swim trunks
2 shorts (1 merino, 1 cotton)
3 merino boxers
Zip hoodie
Keen sandals
Mouse + mouse pad
Camera + Canon 70-200mm telephoto lens + charger + extra battery
Action cam
2 iPad chargers
Spare phone
Memory card reader
3 iPhone/iPad cables
2 USB cables (micro/mini)
Kensington lock
2 in-ear headphones
2 flash drives
Sea to Summit Delta Spork / Knife (since we can’t bring a real knife, this little tool has been surprisingly useful especially for peeling and cutting various fruits on the road)
2 external HDDs for backing-up data (one always remains with us in case someone breaks into our room and steals all our stuff)
Folder with personal documents and passports
Ultra-compact 10L backpack
Keen sandals
6 undies
2 bras
Zip hoodie
6 tees
2 skirts
2 shorts
4 shorts
2 dresses
Zip hoodie
5 tees
7 undies
Stuffed Elsa
Keen sandals


iPad Mini 2
Stuffed Panda
4 shorts
5 tees
Swim trunks
7 boxers
Zip hoodie
Keen sandals

2 dresses
2 long pants
5 tees
3 shorts
Night gown
7 undies
Zip hoodie
Stuffed giraffe
Small inflatable gym ball
Keen sandals
The rest
Toy/School Packing Cube
Ypsilonie – board game
Math workbooks + tools
Pencil cases with crayons
3 collapsible frisbees
Uno cards
Chinese jumping rope

Small toothpaste
Menstrual cup
Personal thermometer
Tiny solid deodorants
Hair elastics
2 hand sanitizers
3 microfiber towels

Medical Cube
Meds for Alex and Maya
Band Aids
Antiseptic spray
Tea-tree oil
Blood sugar monitor and stuff
Activated carbon
Meds for diarrhea

Due to the medical issues of our two kids, we are carrying a lot of pills and some needles. We didn’t want to take any chances to get arrested for drugs smuggling so we asked our endocrinologist to write an official letter (template) explaining why and what we need for the children. Many times, our medical supplies raised the eyebrows of security people but once we showed them the letter, everyone was OK with it.

The total weight limit was 35 kilos and we exceeded it by 1 kilo. So far, it has not been a problem and if it ever happens to be, we’ll just stuff our pockets with the small but heavy things.

We are happy to report that after our first month in Southeast Asia, there is nothing we really miss and can’t get here – and that we even did not pack useless stuff we don’t need or want :-).

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3 Replies to “Traveling Light”

  1. […] for our trip (click here to find out how to fit a family of five into 5 […]

  2. Thank you for this post, it has given me a real idea of what we will need and what we should leave behind. The tip about the medical letter is particularly helpful as we will be travelling with meds.

    1. Karel Tatransky says: Reply

      Thank you, Katy, we are happy to hear that!

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