The obvious answer is the less the better! I know quite a lot of full time travellers out there only carry hand luggage, which saves a lot of money and hassle. However, it's mystery to me how they manage it travelling through four seasons. Unless they only follow warm weather around the globe and only wear one pair of shoes?!
Honestly I have to confess that we have way too much luggage! As you can see from the photo, we have one large suitcase each, plus a carry-on hardshell suitcase, plus a backpack, plus a hand bag. It's costly to fly around with this "baggage" and also very troublesome as a lot of airlines (especially budget airlines) set a 20kg weight limit per luggage piece, not to mention trying to fit it into a small taxi.
Considering we have been living through four seasons and have been very physically active (hiking, running, swimming), we use most of the stuff in the suitcases including hiking shoes, running shoes, Converse and sandals. Also considering we don't have a home base and can't just leave some stuff behind for one season and then swap them out for another, we have no choice but carry everything with us wherever we go.
Although our philosophy is to remain minimal, we also prefer to maintain a bit of style, dressing for the occasion. Full time travel doesn't mean throwing your personal dress style out of the window even though "casual occasions"dominates our life now. One faded T-shirt, one pair of baggy shorts and a pair of fake crocs are just not our style. We strive to keep a balance between practicality and elegance.
On the other hand, we know that the longer we travel, the burden of luggage will become obvious. So far we have been staying at places for one month or longer, it hasn't been a great issue dragging the luggage. But if we were to travel in Southeast Asia for example and would like to cover more ground in shorter time using less sophisticated and less spacious transport forms, we would definitely have to find a lighter solution - either reducing luggage dramatically or find a storage place.
Although it hasn't been that long since we started full time travel, it has made us further realise that we really don't need a lot of things - we pride ourselves on being non-material type preferring "doing" rather than "having". Take makeup as an example, in the last 10 months or so, I hardly used any makeup although I still carry a few eye shadows, mascara etc. They only got taken out to see the daylight a few times for those special occasions. My hair straightener has also lost its primary role in my life, being ignored for a long time; yet it is still part of the luggage, taking quite some space and weight quota.
So our guilt of not being able to get rid of non-essential items is on-going. On one hand, we enjoy the little luxury and convenience of carrying those favourite pieces when they are needed occasionally; on the other hand, we are getting tired of worrying about the weight of overpacked suitcases and struggling to fit things into carry-ons. After all, our ultimate intention and goal is to enjoy the freedom of full time travel, rather than to be burdened down by the load we carry!
One thing is certain - we would never become hand luggage only type of full time travellers. But we are working towards getting rid of one large suitcase and only keep one between us, plus a couple of backpacks.
This is our confession in the luggage department as a full time traveller. Do you have similar issues or have you completely mastered this seemingly impossible task?
Feel free to share your stories and leave any comments.