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Less is more! Suggestions for offseason travelers

Charles Agar

In this muddy purgatory between summer and ski season, lots of Aspenites use up their vacation time and head somewhere exotic. Below are just a few suggested items for hitting the road, whether on a rugged backpack trip or out for sunbathing and soft adventure. “Less is more” goes the old traveler’s axiom, and my recommendation is to pack less so you can be light and fast. Carry only a few changes of clothing and be prepared to do laundry as you go. Bring one pair of sturdy shoes and a pair of sandals only. Limit books and heavy items. The following ideas might help as you pack.A.) A passport holder that you can tuck under your waistband (or beneath your shirt) is essential. My Eagle Creek passport holder becomes part of my person on a trip. I keep my passport and traveler’s checks with me at all times, as well as a second credit card. I also carry copies of essential info in a separate envelope in my bag and leave a copy with someone back home.

B.) A small plastic container is great for keeping journals, books, film or memory cards dry in your bag.C.) A basic laundry kit is the key to keeping your bag light. I bring a universal sink stopper – you can get one at any hardware store – and a small bag of detergent, a short laundry line and a few clips to hang clothes.If I’m staying somewhere a few days, I can wash some basics in the sink and hang them on a balcony. This saves having to lug around a bunch of dirty clothes or go find a Laundromat. D.) Ear plugs are key. Crying babies. Snoring neighbors in the youth hostel. Enough said.

E.) Water purification tablets. Just in case. In most exotic destinations you can buy bottled water, but carrying water purification tablets is not a bad idea.F.) Guidebook, phrase book, small journal and pens. This is the first place to cut down on weight. Books are heavy. Bring only the essentials: a guidebook for the area where you’re going (or photocopies of chapters on your planned destinations) and phrase book if needed. I bring a good novel, but not a massive tome; you can usually swap books with other travelers or at used-book stores as you go.G.) Compass. Great for getting your bearings when navigating big cities.H.) Mini Mag-Light with headband. Whether reading on an overnight train or trekking up a mountain before dawn, I love my Mag-Light headlamp.

I.) Duct tape. I bring the remnants of a roll or wrap a few swaths around a pen. The universal fix-all.J.) Dry-bag. I don’t know how many times I’ve been caught in a rainstorm and got soaked to the bone while important items like a passport holder and camera stayed high and dry in a dry-bag. I always carry one in my day pack. K.) Sunscreen, bug spray, lip balm and disinfectant hand sanitizer. All important items to have in a zipper pocket of your day pack.


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