Packing. Light or everything-covered?

by Catalina Murariu

You have prepared and double-checked everything for your trip. The accomodation. Special events during your stay. The weather. The plane tickets.

You are calm and ready to go. Until … WHAT TO PACK?

Troller or backpack? Large or small? If it is too fancy it will attract thieves, if it is too modest you will look old-fashioned. Hairdryer – yes or no? Umbrella, raincoat or test your luck? Pills – what should I expect?

Something warm, something light, something confortable, something elegant, something for the day, something for the evening, a hat, a scarf, pyjamas …what if we go to the beach? …will they provide a towel?

All these questions require plenty of decision-making and consume much time and energy. This is why every traveller should find which style of packing suits him/her best.
Travellers usually fall into two broad categories: LIGHT packers and EVERYTHING-COVERED

EVERYTHING-COVERED means that one is prepared for any situation. The weather may change, a sudden head ache may strike, a surprise invitation to a party may come up – this traveller will have all necessary equipment in his/her bag. The bag is usually an elegant troller that can magically hold either a weekend’s or ten-days’ luggage.


  • Prepared for everything
  • Good companion – will always be able to lend a hairdryer or give away a band-aid
  • Confortable and relaxed


  • Heavy bag, takes a lot of space
  • No room for shopping
  • Uses only half of what is in the bag

LIGHT-packers are those who do not care about what they pack or at least, want to leave that impression. They prefer a backpack that is easy to carry around or a fit-inside-the-plane troller. They depend on local shops to  fulfill their ulterior needs (toothbrush, umbrella, socks, a smart little black dress for a dinner in a restaurant).

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  • Easy to move around
  • Little stress
  • Open to new possibilities and local products


  • Repetitive outfits
  • Might get wet during a sudden shower
  • Laundry can be a challenge

The author of this post is a light-packer (wannabe). I learned the importance of what hangs from my shoulders during an ULTIMATE PACKING EXPERIENCE: Camino de Santiago. This is a 900km trail across Spain where every gram matters. I spent 40 days with everything I could fit in a 45l backpack: 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, 1 extra pant, 1 fleecy, 1 light pyjama, 1 raincoat, 1 extra pair of sandals, 1 sleeping bag. And washing powder. In the evening I would wash the day’s clothes and let them dry. If they did not dry until morning, I would hang them over my backpack and go on.
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always fun. But I learned that:

  • There is little we really need
  • We are extremely adaptable and imaginative if we have to, or as the saying goes „Need is man’s best teacher”
  • What matters most is to enjoy the journey


catalina_murariuCatalina likes to walk to her office at Elevate where she handles the company’s communication. The same love for walking has lead her to her passion for the Camino de Santiago. And it is out of passion that she decided to share her experience with Romanian adventure-lovers. The result is a conference and an open invitation: Explore Camino.

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I’m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency – PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

3 thoughts on “Packing. Light or everything-covered?

  • 15 February, 2010 at 19:44

    Great article! The last comment reminded me of Up in the air. Seems like luggage is quite focused on lately as a metaphor for life. What’s great about the camino though, is that, the closer you are to the end, your luggage gets lighter both literally and figuratively.

  • 15 May, 2010 at 16:37

    Yes. It is the ultimate quiestions we all had,, right? But still I don’t know the answer.
    In my case, I always thought ‘I should pack light, I can get whatever whe I get there!’ and I ended up with this giant bag..
    What can I do? 😀

    • 19 May, 2010 at 15:07

      Keep up the good work – that would be my answer :)) I admit I’m more an everything covered traveler: maybe it will rain, or it will be sunny (perfect for sandals), maybe it will be cold, but what if will be hot? :))


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