A Packless Male for 3+ Weeks
Here are Roger’s observations on how packless traveling is actually playing out. Bottom line: pretty well.
The decision to bring two nylon shoulder bags has worked well. Given the opportunity to buy sweaters at discount prices in Christchurch, we’ve been carrying them ever since. Ironically, we expected we might need them in Queenstown or Wanaka, but used them more in Christchurch and Dunedin than later. Given reports we’ve had about Wellington’s weather, we plan to keep them at least until we’re there.
The shoulder bags have also worked well for carrying groceries the half-hour walk up the hill from downtown Wanaka.
Daily laundry hasn’t really been a pain yet. As we anticipated, socks have presented the only drying challenge, so having two pair has been important, if not always necessary. An unanticipated convenience: pool towels provided in some places provide an extra set (and extra size) for drying laundry. Only once have I faced a damp towel (from the prior night’s laundry) after a morning shower.
A few places have also provided drying racks (wires strung on a folding stand) that have saved the need to string clotheslines. They also tend to dry clothes more quickly, at least because we can put them in areas with more air circulation.
To anyone thinking about traveling like this, I suggest trying it for a long weekend. You may find it easier than you anticipate, and you can see the potential for reducing the hassle of longer trips.
I’ve liked having options among a long-sleeved T-shirt, an overshirt, and a short-sleeved T. It’s been warm in Wanaka, so I’ve only worn the short-sleeved T and shorts (convertible pants with leggins off). Otherwise, I’ve mostly worn long pants and the overshirt over the short-sleeved T. I think I’ve carried the new sweater more than I’ve worn it, but it’s been nice to have the security.
On the toiletries side, I’ve come to believe that it’s not worth carrying travel -size shaving cream, even when not going packless. (Funny how traveling packless tends to reset what I think of as “normal.” Lots of things I’ve carried out of habit now seem a bother to keep & carry.) Indeed, I haven’t yet broken into the shaving cream “leaves” we brought. Face soap lathers up fairly well. Neither have we used shampoo leaves: our housing has supplied enough. (In the places that provide kitchens, we have used dish soap for laundry, so preserved the shampoo supply.)
Finally, a note from the Hawaii experience. A reader had written that she carries earplugs (good for babies on planes), so I bought some when the Kauai roosters were keeping me awake. They weren’t effective enough to block the crowing, but I guess I just got used to the noise after a couple of days. We’ll be in urban hostels later in the trip, so I’m hanging on to the earplugs, just in case. (Opps, “just in case” puts a packless traveler on a slippery slope.)