I wish I knew to pack lighter, even for long-term travel.
When I decided to leave the US and travel full time, I sold my house, car, furniture, and a majority of my clothes. I did not pare down and put what was left in storage. Instead, I was left with just one 28-inch checked bag and a backpack and I filled every inch of each.
My first stop was Puerto Rico, where I spent six weeks. When I was ready to leave, I started to pack up what I had been using during my time on the island. When I went to add clothes and other items to my suitcase, I noticed I had only worn half of the clothes I packed. There were also pans, kitchen utensils, and electronics that were never touched.
I thought I would use all those items when I set out on my travels, but even with just one suitcase and a backpack, I realized I had more than I really needed.
When I later went to Rome, my overpacking was confirmed again. After one month, I had not used more than one-third of what I packed. I packed too many clothes I never wore and took two full pillows when I only needed one. I packed cooking pans, kitchen utensils, and business equipment, such as lights and microphones I never used.
Not only was this a waste of space in my bags, but it meant I had to drag heavy luggage through airports for no reason.
Now, I pack less and book Airbnbs with laundry so I can wash my clothes in each place. I also make sure Airbnbs have basic cooking utensils so I no longer have to bring my own.
If I find I don’t have something packed that I need, I just buy it. And when it’s time to move on, I sell what I bought if I don’t need to take it to the next destination to keep my load light.