Since I started taking sailing trips, I have become much more effective at packing. It’s actually kind of a miracle, because I used to always be a ‘but what if I need this?’ person. When you have to pack to live in a small space, you learn to be brutal because you quite literally cannot take all that stuff with you.
The most surprising thing is that packing light has lots of unexpected benefits. Negotiating the airport is a breeze with just hand luggage but, even if you don’t go that far, a light hold bag is much easier to manhandle to bag drop. Plus, no excess baggage fees (or, as has happened to me before, unpacking and repacking to redistribute the weight in your bags AT the check in desk – not a good look). When you arrive at your destination and there isn’t someone to help with your bags or you don’t want to pay someone to, you can carry it easily yourself without looking like a packhorse. During your trip, it also means that getting ready takes half the time. ‘Which dress should I wear? Oh the only dress I brought with me that rolls up super tiny and doesn’t require an iron’. ‘Oh, this is a smart beach trip? Sorry I only have one pair of short shorts and I don’t care’.
This last point particularly appeals to my lazy, do-girls-really-have-to-spend-that-long-on-that nature. Of course, sometimes when baggage size is not restricted, the trip requires a variety of outfit choices from casual to super smart to modest semi-casual, and temperatures from 40 degrees to jeez this is freezing air conditioning, and I’m going for a few weeks (oh hey Dubai), I still overpack. In fact, overpack suggests I give it much consideration, I actually just chuck it all in and hope for the best.
However, for my most recent two-week trip to Mafia Island, I packed carefully with weight in mind. The impetus was my final flight. To get to Mafia Island from mainland Tanzania, you have to take an internal flight on a tiny propeller plane. The weight limit for hold baggage for these flights is 15kg. I don’t know if you’ve ever paid much attention to how much your luggage weighs, but that is not much. The aim of this particular trip was whale shark conservation and yoga, so I also needed to pack some more ‘specialist’ items, too.
Packing for whale shark conservation on Mafia Island, Tanzania
Hand luggage / cabin bag
Packed into an Aquapac 25L Waterproof Backpack – also used this on the whale shark tours to keep my day kit dry
And also in the hand luggage, in case my main bag was delayed:
Confession, as you can probably tell, I still packed far too much. I didn’t need my excess of yoga clothes. I mostly wore the same shorts. But there were three things that I wished I’d brought that I didn’t… antiseptic of some kind for cuts and grazes, a loose-fitting rash vest and swimming leggings. There were a lot of jellyfish in the water and about half of our group, including me, got stung.
However, my bag was light. I even got an enthusiastic thumbs up from the Coastal Aviation baggage guy when I handed him my bag and he weighed it before my propeller plane flight. I’m calling that a win, don't you agree?
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