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5 Ways To Pack Light On Your Backpacking Adventure

5 Ways To Pack Light On Your Backpacking Adventure

Choosing what to bring on your first backpacking trip can be tough. It’s almost too easy bring an excessive amount of belongings, which inevitably end up getting left behind after a bag reshuffle or a souvenir purchases means there’s no longer room for everything. Travelling light is essential, making it easier to make the train on time on an InterRailing trip or squeezing onto a packed bus. Read on to discover the five best ways to stop your bag bursting at it’s seams.

The power of three

With space at a premium, It’s important you only pack the essentials. Packing light on clothing can be especially tough for any roving fashionista – naturally you’ll want to rock up in an new city in your finest threads.

Clothes are probably the bulkiest of things you’ll bring with you, however, so this is an important area to limit yourself. The fact is that no matter how long you’ll be travelling for, you’ll only really ever need up to three of each item of clothing. Regardless of where you go, you should be able to access a launderette or at least a sink at some point every three days – if you’re really heading out into the sticks then clean clothes are probably not going to be a priority.

Most people will only need three of everything – three tops, three pairs of underwear, three pairs of shorts, and so on.

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Buy travel detergent

Travel D

    Travel laundry detergent is ideal for any backpacker, allowing them to hand wash their clothes with little more than a bucket of cold water. Many brands even work with sea water!

    Travel detergent usually comes in 100ml containers too, so they’ll get through security in your hand luggage with no problem, taking up minimal space. It’s ideal for anyone looking to save money, as you’ll be able to avoid local laundrettes.

    The only other things you’ll need is a universal sink plug and a travel laundry line.

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    Leave the laptop and paper map at home

    If you’re travelling for a long time, you’ll want some gadgets with you for entertainment in your downtime. If you’re blogging about your travels, you’ll also want something to write your posts on.

    As internet cafes are gradually being phased out in favour of wifi hotspots, it’s best to bring along your own device, however even small laptops can add some considerable bulk and weight to your backpack.

    Consider what you’ll actually need to do while your away. Can a small 7-8 inch tablet suffice? An iPad mini can do almost everything a laptop can do, yet weighs under 300 grams. Add an external bluetooth keyboard, and you’ve got the perfect combo to write your blog en-route.

    Similarly, leave the paper maps, magazines and guide books at home, replacing them with apps.

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    Google maps now has an offline maps function, allowing you to download maps over WiFi and track your position using GPS. Similarly, booking.com also offers offline maps, and if you book accommodation through them, you’ll get a free local guide to the area that you can download to your device.

    Use the space you’ve saved to pack a portable battery pack to keep your devices juiced up. You’ll be glad you did if you have to spend more than a couple of days without access to mains electricity!

    Store your things in freezer bags

    Clothes in bags

      See-through freezer bags or zip-lock are an ideal way to categorize your things while taking up minimal space in your backpack. Ever tried to dig out something at the bottom of your bag, having to take everything else out first? Freezer bags mean its much easier to keep related items together, so it’s easier to find what you’re after.

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      If you’re especially organised, you can even label bags by category so you’ll have no problems finding whatever you need.

      Fold and roll your clothes

      How to fold and roll your clothes

        Clothes can take up a lot of space thanks to having a large amount of air pockets. The image conscious traveller will also want to avoid getting their garments too creased.

        The best way to pack in clothes as tightly as possible in your bag is to first fold them, then roll them up. This helps to squeeze out any air pockets and can help keep clothes crease-free.

        Better still, try wrapping larger pieces of clothing around smaller ones, which will keep your clothes packed tightly without air pockets.

        Featured photo credit: Aaron Alvarado via unsplash.com

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        Last Updated on October 16, 2018

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

        It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

        If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

        One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

        Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

        In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

        Why you can’t sleep through the night

        The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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        Stress

        If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

        Exposure to blue light before sleep time

        We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

        While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

        Eating close to bedtime

        Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

        Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

        Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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        Medical conditions

        In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

        The vicious sleep cycle

        The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

        Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

        You get a bad night’s sleep
        –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
        –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
        –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

          You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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          How to sleep better (throughout the night)

          To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

          1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

          What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

          Here are a few suggestions:

          • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
          • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
          • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
          • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
          • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

          2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

          What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

          • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
          • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
          • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
          • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

          3. Adjust your sleep temperature

          Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

          Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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          Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

          Sleep better form now on

          Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

          I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

          As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

          Reference

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