How to Travel the World with 10 Pounds or Less (Plus: How to Negotiate Convertibles and Luxury Treehouses)


The incredible Sony VAIO VGN-TXN27N laptop. This beauty is less than 2″ thick and weighs 2.8 lbs. If I add a few ounces of weight with the extended battery (on the right) and trick it out, I can get 15 hours of battery life. [Update: I now use a MacBook Air]

The name of the game in world travel is being “fashionably light.”

Practice in 30-plus countries has taught me that packing minimalism can be an art.

I returned from Costa Rica last Wednesday, and have since landed in Maui, where I’ll stay for one week. What did I pack and why? Check out the video…


I practice what I’ll label the BIT method of travel: Buy It There.

If you pack for every contingency — better bring the hiking books in case we go hiking, better bring an umbrella in case it rains, better bring dress shoes and slacks in case we go to a nice restaurant, etc. — carrying a mule-worthy load is inevitable. I’ve learned to instead allocate $50-200 per trip to a “settling fund,” which I use to buy needed items once they’re 100% needed. This includes cumbersome and hassle items like umbrellas and bottles of sunscreen that love to explode. Also, never buy if you can borrow. If you’re going on a bird watching trip in Costa Rica, you don’t need to bring binoculars — someone else will have them.

Here’s the Maui list, listed from top-to-bottom, left-to-right:


-1 featherweight Marmot Ion jacket (3 oz.!)

-1 breathable Coolibar long-sleeve shirt. This saved me in Panama.

-1 pair of polyester pants. Polyester is light, wrinkle-resistant, and dries quickly. Disco dancers and flashpackers dig it.

-1 Kensington laptop lock, also used to secure all bags to stationary objects.

-1 single Under Armour sock, used to store sunglasses

-2 nylon tanktops

-1 large MSR quick-dry microfiber towel, absorbs up to 7 times its weight in water

-1 Ziploc bag containing toothbrush, travel toothpaste, and disposable razor

-1 Fly Clear biometric travel card, which cuts down my airport wait time about 95%

-2 pairs of Exofficio lightweight underwear. Their tagline is “17 countries. 6 weeks. And one pair of underwear.” I think I’ll opt for two, considering they weigh about as much as a handful of Kleenex. One other nice side-effect of their weight: they’re much more comfortable than normal cotton underwear.

-2 pairs of shorts/swimsuits

-2 books: Lonely Planet Hawaii and The Entrepreneurial Imperative (the latter comes highly recommended. Check it out)

-1 sleeping mask and earplugs

-1 pair of Reef sandals. Best to get a pair with removable straps that go around the heel.

-1 Canon PowerShot SD300 digital camera with extra 2GB SD memory card. God, I love this camera more than words can describe. It is the best designed piece of electronics I have ever owned. I now use it not only for all of my photos and videos, but also as a replacement for my scanner. I’m considering testing the newer and cheaper SD1000.

-1 coffee harvesting hat to prevent my pale skin from burning off.

-1 Kiva keychain expandable duffel bag

-1 Chapstick, 1 Mag-Lite Solitaire flashlight, and 1 roll of athletic tape. The last is a lifesaver. It’s as useful as duct tape for repairing objects but gentle enough to use on injuries, which I am fond of inflicting on myself.

-1 Lewis and Clark flex lock (for luggage, lockers, zippers, or whatever I need to lock down/shut/together). Standard mini-padlocks are often too cumbersome to thread through holes on lockers, etc.

-1 Radio Shack kitchen timer, which I’ve been using to wake up for about five years. The problem with using a cell phone alarm to wake up is simple: the phone needs to be on, and even if you use vibrate, people can call and wake you up before you want to wake up. The second benefit to using a kitchen timer if that you know exactly how much sleep you are — or aren’t — getting, and you can experiment with things like caffeine power naps of different durations… but that’s another post 😉

What are your favorite must-pack items, multi-purpose tools, and lightweight winners?


How to Negotiate Convertibles and Luxury Treehouses… and Videos from Costa Rica:

The secret to getting what you want is first asking for what you want, then negotiating if you don’t get it. The first part is the most neglected.

Most people never learn to ask for something properly, so they always get push-back and end up negotiating. I cover dealmaking and negotiating exhaustively in The 4-Hour Workweek, as well as in the bonus chapter,“How to Get $700,000 in Advertising for $10,000.” Let’s look at how to win the fight before it starts.

I wanted this trip to Maui, my first to Hawai’i, to be an experience of personal firsts.

Here are a few: driving a convertible sports car on the Hana Highway, flying in a helicopter, sleeping in a full-size treehouse, and scuba diving the back wall of Molokini crater. I fulfilled all of them in the first 72 hours.

How I got a Mustang turbo convertible for $278 (gas included) instead of $542 (gas not included):

I bought my plane ticket to Maui about 24 hours before I left, so I landed in luau land with no reservations of any kind. There was only one rental company, so I had to get my convertible from them. Here are the pointers that got me from $542 to $278:

1. The first representative at the desk wouldn’t play ball with discounts, so I told her that I need to take a phone call outside, took a 5-minute walk, and came back to test another rep. Choosing the person on the other side of the table — just like choosing a slot machine vs. playing slots well — is more important than negotiating technique.

2. People who get what they want, just like good negotiators or PR folk, are good conversationalists. Here’s what I said:

“Hey, man. How goes it? I’m so excited to be here. [After giving him my license and info] If you have any discounts I can use — AAA, student, magic elf, or anything at all — I’d really, really appreciate it. I’m on a budget, so whatever you can do would be awesome.”

Notice that I’m asking for what I want without asking at all. The result: $278 with gas included instead of $542 without gas.

How I got a sold-out luxury treehouse for free:

This one is even better. It’s the high tourist season in Maui. It’s so popular to drive from Kahalui to Hana for coastline and waterfalls that my local helicopter pilot said: “Thinking of staying over in Hana? Forget about it. You’ll never get a room.”

Well, I had thought about it, and I wanted nothing more than to stay in one of the famous full-size treehouses in the rain forest. Doing this in the high season is something like showing up for the last game of the World Series and asking for box seats at the door. So I called the treehouse gods and here’s how it went down:

Me: “Hi. I’m really, really hoping that you have vacancies for tonight. Please say yes.”

Goddess of the Treehouses: “Nope. Totally booked.”

Me: “Oh, no. My dream is crushed. Are you sure? Do you have anything at all? Even a dilapidated and unsafe one? [I pause while she first takes me seriously, then laughs] Hmmm… Is there anything at all I can do?”

Goddess: [long pause] “Well… how about a work trade?”

Me: “Sounds like fun. What do you mean?”

Goddess: “Moving some dirt.”

Me: “For sure! I love it. How long would it take?” [Note: I actually do love hard manual labor. It demands full attention, and the repetitive motion is like repeating a mantra. Call me crazy.]

Goddess: “About an hour.”

We talk for another 20 minutes, and she decides that she would feel guilty if she forced me to shovel while on vacation. I was secretly disappointed, but no matter: she and I met up at the treehouse, and after a trip to a small alcove beach together and much conversation, my stay ended up being free. Not only that, but I was adopted by a wild dog — the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen — who then played companion for the entire time. Dig it.

Be a joker when you can, be pitiful when needed, and learn to get a laugh as you field test the most valuable skill in the world: asking for what you want. If all else fails in Hawai’i, just tell them “Kama aina,” which means you’re a local. It should get you an automatic 15-20% off in most places. Don’t tell them I told you 😉

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Here are some clips from my recent trip to Costa Rica:



The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

360 Replies to “How to Travel the World with 10 Pounds or Less (Plus: How to Negotiate Convertibles and Luxury Treehouses)”

  1. Thanks for the travel tips, I’m not sure if my wife is willing to jump on the minimalist wagon. But at least I’ll have more free hands to carry her excess luggage. We are flying out to Colorado Springs next weekend and I am certainly hoping to use some humor to upgrade our geo metroesque car to something more roomy!

  2. Hey Tim,

    I notice that one of your must-have items is Chapstick. My company makes a lip balm that uses 50% Emu Oil and no petroleum or chemicals. Emu Oil is an anti-inflammatory as well as a highly moisturizing ingredient, so it’s great for taking the sting out of bug bites, or a spot treatment if you burn yourself or get a scratch. That’s much more benefit, but in the same small package.

    Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you a bunch. It’s the least I can do for how much you’re book has impacted my life.



    1. I can see it now – the chapstick companies will come out with advertising kind of like the Chik-Fil-A fast food folks (you’ve no doubt seen the billboards with cows painting slogans encouraging you to eat more chicken & less beef). This one will be with emus encouraging folks to save the emus by using chapstick instead of emu oil products. (no argument on your claimed benefits – but the emus won’t buy it)

  3. Don’t think you got a Mustang Turbo, unless you are actually writing from 1984 or so. Actually Could have been a GT (with a V-8), though!

  4. Tim,

    On the note of cameras you should ditch the Canon Powershot and get the Samsung NV10 10 megapixel. I just received mine from Amazon a week ago. A dream to use and it’s small, sleak, but still durable. Very suitable for travel, and the menu system is a dream. I have my Canon EOS 30D for professional photos, although now I find myself simply using the Samsung because the convenience is awesome and the quality extraordinary.

    Keep the great posts coming,


  5. “she and I met up at the treehouse, and after a trip to a small alcove beach together and much conversation, my stay ended up being free.”

    Taking a trip to a small alcove beach with a lady sure is a way to get a free stay! 😉

  6. Since i usually travel to places where i like to go underwater, i always bring my small waterproof camera case made by pelican. my canon powershot sd600 (i agree, the BEST point and shoot ever made) fits nicely even with a small cellphone, ipod or keys. it protects things from getting crushed in luggage and from myself, as i’m usually pretty hard on my stuff. beaches, boats, and bars… they can be unforgiving on electronics 🙂

  7. Tim, ha ha, right on, LOVE the story on negotiating 🙂

    I just bought your book for MY landlord, who rents me the warehouse for my gym – he owns a gym, a supplement company and a hair product company –

    he spoke to me about his marketing, etc. and I said to him, “Dude, let me buy you this book, you’re gonna love it!”

    I saw him 2 days later and he can’t stop thanking me, he said after rdng. the first chapter he decided to bypass all middlemen and go straight to The Vitamin Shoppe.

    That’s what I call making an impact!

    Now, i still wanna hear about your gym in Thailand that was closed down by the Thai Mob!

    Come on, make that your next post and let’s see some surfing videos from hawaii!

    Next time you’re in NJ for a presentation, I’m gonna find my way to your “class” and become a Princeton student for the day 🙂

    Kick a** bruddah,


    –zach 🙂

  8. Hello Tim,

    Loved the book. Just finished it. I have already begun the low-information diet. (Except for RSS obviously)


    Your video code is showing…

    Not the videos.

  9. I can set the alarm on my Nokia 6030, at least, even when the phone is off. So it plays ‘Baby Got Back’ – yeah, I’m a bad person – until I hit a button, then asks ‘Turn phone on now?’

    Option Two: if it’s in silent mode it doesn’t ring for incoming but the alarm still works.

    Gotta love Nokia.

  10. Tim, I just wrote a blog post like this a few weeks ago, complete with photos of everything I packed laid out on my hotel room bed. Now granted, I wasn’t traveling the world, but I was gone for a whole week with just one carryon bag. Quite the feat for a woman, if I do say so myself! Keep up the great work!


  11. Tim, I saw your book on the Amazon bestsellers list, read your personal profile and bought it without even reading what the book was about…and you didn’t let me down- it’s by far the best book I’ve read this year…I’m down to checking email twice per week, finished a major project that I’ve put off all month, and am taking steps towards automation. So thank you.

    Great post, a few quick comments:

    What was the name of the treehouse that you stayed at?

    The Canon SD1000 is a great camera- it’s a high-quality 7.1 megapixels, and I got it brand new on eBay for $280. Highly recommended.

    Any plans on coming to Ontario/Canada for a presentation?

    I gotta know- you seem to travel on your own a lot…do you need some help finding a wife or what?



  12. Hi All,

    Greetings from Makena! I just saw my first grey reef shark this morning. Happy, happy Tim. I wanted to be a marine biologist for almost a decade.

    A few answers to your questions:

    1. I sometimes don’t bring iPods, etc. if I truly want to experience nature. I find that music is a convenient and tempting crutch for avoiding conversation and other more unique interactions with the outside world. When I unplug, I really like to unplug.

    2. Nokia phones do rock. IMHO, the best phones in the world.

    3. Thanks to all who commented that the Costa Rica videos weren’t displaying properly. I can’t seem to duplicate the error, as I’m using Firefox 2 on PC and can see them just fine. Are you using macs? Please let me know the details and I’ll do what I can.

    4. Help finding a wife? Sure. I’m always open to suggestions. Athletic and smart with a sense of humor, if you please 🙂

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  14. Tim, this type of technique can also be applied to hotels, if your staying in a typical city that you know is a busy business district. Hit them up for the best offer during the weekends they may well need the business. Don’t be afraid to play one hotel off against another, if your taking a walk in approach night Audit will often do a super deal before they close the books for the night, they can’t sell a room once the books a closed for the nights. The right hand is not talking to the left, call the central reservations desk get the best rate and then approach the desk and negotiate a better price using your technique as outlined in the Mustang example. Great work on the 4 hour workweek, have heard so much about it yet to pick up my own copy.

  15. Hi Tim,

    Well, I’m hooked. I want out of the rat race. I want to recapture the true meaning of life – I know it can’t be found in my grey cubicle walls. But I can see it in my kids’ eyes. They get that there is nothing better than playing hard all day long. And when they do stop and rest – it’s to look carefully at a small blade of grass, a lightning bug, stars in the sky. It’s awesome. Except…I’m working 10-12 hour days to keep us afloat, and I’m just barely doing it, and I barely have time to spend with them.

    So…what do you suggest for a single mom with 2 kids (3 and 2 yrs) who won’t be in school for a few more years?I was thinking of looking to my company’s parent company for an opp to move to Europe where they seem to have a slightly better grasp of work/life balance. I’m also thinking of selling the ranch house and getting an RV or a camper – something mobile so I can live life on the road, head to lots of great places (Grand Canyon, Beaches, Mountains, anywhere but the !#$%%^ grey cubicle walls) where I can just breathe. But there’s all these concerns – like health care, stability, making sure the kids don’t go hungry. Would appreciate your thoughts.

    I’m loving everything you’re sharing. Thank you so much for keeping the rest of us “sheep” in the loop.



  16. Hi Tim, yes using firefox on a mac. If you copy the web address from the code and paste it into another browser window it works fine. here are the addresses for those of you on macs

    Would be interesting to see what people pack when they are going to somewhere really cold…

    also if you roll your tshirts, pants etc you fit a lot more into smaller bag.

    Enjoy the reef sharks!

  17. Hey Tim!

    I love your how to pack video…now I know what to bring to Costa Rica when I go in September.

    A few months ago I purchased the SD-630 with the extra 2 gigs and it’s nothing but awesome.

    A great blog entry, as always 🙂


  18. I’ve never used a cell phone alarm that required the phone to be on. I’m actually using my Sony Ericsson phone to wake me up every Monday-Friday with the MacGyver theme song. It’s excellent! 🙂

  19. Hi All!

    Erica, thanks for the post and kind words. For a single mother, I recommend checking out some of the family groups at (just search “4hww”), and I also recommend checking out the awesome 4HWW for families blog at Check out the flow charts! Niiiiice.

    Dan, I agree. Micki is a hottie and smart to boot. I can say that because she’s the friend of a friend. How nuts that we both took photos of our luggage — weirdos belong together.

    Mahalo from Maui,


  20. Hey Tim –

    I developed the plugin you’re using to post the videos on your site, and I don’t see the videos either. Yes, I’m on a Mac, but I don’t think that’s the problem – there are other places on your site where I see the videos posted correctly (just search your site for “kml_flashembed” – they’ll appear on the search results page).

    The version of the plugin you’re using is not the most recent, and showed some of the issues you’re having. I suggest you try upgrading to the most recent version, Kimili Flash Embed, v. 1.3.1. It should take care of the problem for you.

    You can get it at

    Feel free to email me directly if you need any more help.

    Cheers –


  21. The link “problem” others are reporting also occurs on IE7 running on Microsoft Vista. Not a biggie, as I can just copy and paste the link into a new browser window.

    I like the “idea” of minimal packing. But I am one of those people that has to pack for every eventuality, so an overnight trip to the beach requires me to fill up my vehicle with all my gear, running shoes, bikes, dog, dog crate, etc…

    Not so good…

    I think I’m going add fastpacking the Appalachian Trail (AT) to my dreamline. That’ll make me pack light!

  22. Tim, a quick thought on your blogging and productivity. It seems to me that a lot of your blog posts, like this one, are actually two posts in one (1 on your packing, the other on your vacation). Why not split them? You could have future posted the second part of this post for a couple of days time, and freed up more time for yourself by doing two posts for the price of one. Just a thought. And thanks for the book, great changes already underway 🙂

  23. My most fun trip ever was just out of high school, got my learners license and my dad and I rode 2-up on a 500cc Honda from Vancouver to Detroit. We washed our clothes in lakes then tied them on the back of the rack to air dry in about 15 minutes at 100km/h. We cooked our food in tinfoil packs strapped on the exhaust headers. Highly recommend the AEROSTITCH motorcycle suit for protection/convenience (met the inventor Andy Goldfine in Minnesota). The bike was only worth $500 so if it broke down we were just going to buy another one, but it made it there and back. Like Tim said, I love my music, but without it, I have to go find something else to do, which is the point of taking the trip. ~Victory

  24. Tim,

    Great article, love those microfiber towels they’re great aren’t they? I’d bring along a multi-tool like a leatherman or gerber, just have to make sure it goes in the checked luggage these days (which is really stupid, in my opinion, but anyway I digress).

    From your book, p. 198 talking about ‘how to look fortune 500’:

    “4. Do not provide home addresses. Do not use your home address or you will get visitors.”

    Ok, I’m really thinking that sounds like you learned that the hard way–there has GOT to be a good story behind that, come on, eh?? 😀



  25. Hi Tim. Your blog is one I always check for updates. Keep on posting!

    I am guilty as an overpacker…try as I might to pack light. With me, it’s the ol’ Boy Scout “Be Prepared” motto in action. So, your article gave me another perspective for being prepared. Reserving some funds to “buy as needed” is a great idea, because I usually never end up using what I pack to begin with. You know, the dress shoes in case I go out to a nice dinner, etc.

    I will also check out alot of the links from your packing list, because your items look really useful. In addition, someone posted about an MP3 player, and I would have to agree…definitely a necessity.

  26. For the record I only see code as well at work (IE6 on a PC) and at home (Safari on Mac).

    Sigh. Why do I have to be married? 😉

  27. A couple people have wondered why you don’t have a wife…I guess they forgot that you were traveling with as little baggage as possible


  28. Longtime friend and fellow GTD devotee told me about your book today, so I thought I would check out the site while I waited for the book to get here. Love it, but it is difficult not to see your experience as an anomaly. While it doesn’t seem all that difficult for a young, attractive, single man to pull off, it isn’t something I see as a potential reality as the married breadwinner of the family with 3 kids under 5, which takes some of the fun out of it for me. I’m thrilled for you though. I know I will enjoy the book.

  29. So I’m going to Switzerland tomorrow. I’m taking just a backpack and I’m going to sleep now so I won’t have more time than 25 minutes in the morning to pack all the stuff I’ll need:) I love how you advocate minimalism, it relates to everything, even music😉 Less is almost always much more.

  30. Hey Tim,

    great book and great travel tips! From your writings one gets a stronge sense that you are a person who knows how to focus on what goals are important and the fastest/cheapest/most economical/least stressful way to realize them. I would be interested to read a post based on your thought processes of how you accomplish your goals.

  31. I have my mom to thank for teaching me to travel light. When I was growing up she would often say, “Hey, do you wanna go to… [insert some place people always talk about going]?” She would tell me to grab a toothbrush and we would just wing it the entire time.

    I took my first trip out of the country this past March. I’m happy to say that I’ve seen Japan and Thailand. People thought I was crazy when I said that I was only taking 3 days worth of clothes.

    I can’t wait for my next trip. My plans are in motion. Not sure when I’ll come back exactly, but it will probably be to visit my family.

  32. My favorite must-haves for a long-term trip:

    –World Traveler medical kit from with sterile needles and sutres for peace of mind in fourth world countries. Also, a bottle of Cipro has come in quite handy once or twice.

    –A Defcon 1 bag alarm from Targus. This thing is great for sleeping comfortably knowing that if anyone touches your bag an alarm will sound.

    –Sony Vaio TR-3 laptop. Mine’s a few years old but was worth the risk of hauling around. It was so small, I used to carry it in my day bag a lot in safer countries.

    –Lonely Planet phrase books when learning the language would have taken way too long i.e. China.

  33. Wow, Tim…very good.

    This traveling light stuff is Gold, especially since my last traveling experience included me being accused by the ticketing agent that I had a larger suitcase than my girlfriend. I felt like I was in a Southwest Airlines commercial, “Wanna get away?”

    Also, one tidbit of info. When traveling, I use a sort of “travel insider” ID card that gets me to 1st class ticketing, security, I get upgraded for free (when available) and, as far as car rentals are concerned, entitles me to discounts and free upgrades.

    Let me know if that interests you.

    Anything I can do to help, my friend.

  34. Hi Tim,

    First off, I was born & raised on Maui so I hope you are enjoying your trip (are you still there?) and if you get a chance, try to get to the upcountry area. It’s so beautiful. Not all THAT much to see/do, but if you can find a local to give you a few tips, it’s really amazing – very different from the “touristy” beach areas. Always nice to get off the beaten path, right? I’d show you around myself, but I’m over on Oahu now, so if you happen to head this way, let me know! haha.

    Second, I have to say that your book really has changed my life. I think I’ve always identified with a lot of the things that you wrote about, but seeing it in print somehow gave me the courage to really take my first mini-retirement (at the ripe old age of 27!) I convinced a friend to do the same and we’re currently planning a round the world trip starting in Jan ’07. I loved that you recommended Vagabonding, it’s one of my favorite books for inspiration when it comes to long-term travel.

    So thank you for the inspiration, and good luck on your travels. Life is just too short to NOT follow your dreams when you have the chance. I’ve seen so many people open their minds to a fresh perspective after reading your book. I really think it’s long overdue. Kudos!


    Malia =)

    1. Hi I’m Lee! I was reading this blog, and getting ready to travel to Maui. It’s pretty much living the dream as I’m sure to be surfing every waking hour, if possible…but, I know I’m going there to work. I’ll be living in the upper country close to around Haiku through the WWOOF organization, which stands for world wide opportunities on organic farms. It just so happens I’m bringing my surfboard, bike, and stuff like that–I feel good about my mini-Maui vacation and enjoyed reading your comment/post, too!

  35. Hi All!

    You guys rock. I just finished a night of Maui mojitos with some brilliant folks under the stars. Life is good.

    I have to hit the sack, but here are a few responses (sorry I can’t hit them all!):

    -Michael Bester, your plug-in rocks, and I was thrilled to see you write in. I have someone working on the video issue right now, so please hold tight, folks. I’m on it.

    -Ben, splitting posts is a good idea. The reason I’m giving 2-for-1 is that I have so much I want to tell you guys! I have notebooks full of hundreds of topics and tricks I couldn’t get in the book. We’ll see…

    -The coffee harvester hat? Check out They might have them. Otherwise, any lightweight hat with a wide 360-degree rim and some form of holes for ventilation will work just dandy.

    -Kevin, I’ll put up something soon on my learning process. It will be specific to languages, but the principles can be applied anywhere.

    -Andrew, I do have a few great stories about getting home visits, but I’m saving that for a podcast or group call of some type. They’re much better when told live 😉

    Mahalo to all, and to all a good night,


  36. Thanks, Tim.

    It was very cool for me to find out you are using the plugin on this site – a nice surprise! It looks like your team has gotten it updated already and now all is well land of FHWW video posts.

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  38. I’d also throw in the following as essentials:

    –REI 55 degree travel sleep sack. Not quite a traditional sleep sack, not quite a sleeping bag. Kind of a sleeping bag without the filling. Very useful on dirty beds or when the AC is cranked to subzero temperatures or when it’s just cold.

    –If bringing a backpack, I really think a PacSafe wire mesh pack lock and slash protector is worth it. Even though someone could cut through the wire, they’d have to have fairly strong wire cutters with them. Those extra minutes when they’re hacking through the wire could make the difference.

    In the end, it’s best not to attach to any material items too much including your $2,000 lightweight travel laptop. A good recovery plan is key if you get all your stuff stolen.

  39. Hello Tim,

    I couldn’t see the videos, but I can now. I am using Firefox on Ubuntu Linux 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). The problem seems to be fixed.

    Again, thanks for writing such a kick-ass book.

  40. I’m all for packing light, but if I’m going to Costa Rica to go bird watching, I’m not going to mooch off of someone else for binoculars.

  41. I’m also a language lover. I studied Thai for about 9 months before going to Thailand. However, 3 weeks of immersion in Thailand taught me far more than 9 months of self study. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot about effective language learning skills as a result. I look forward to learning some Portuguese in Brazil in my future adventures around the world.

    Knowing the local language, even a little bit, really helps make travel even more rewarding.

    I’d like to recommend a few resources for other travelers and language lovers, namely the FSI Language Courses. You’ll find them advertised all over the web for outrageous prices, but the material is in the “public domain”.

    The currently supported languages include: Amharic,

    Arabic, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Lao, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Yoruba.

    You can get 100% free access to these courses at this address. I have a private mirror of the site just to make sure the information remains available in the future.

    Another free resource is a program called jMemorize. It’s a , “free open-source Java application that manages your learning processes by using flashcards and the famous Leitner system.” It will work on any OS that supports the Java Runtime Environment. You can find jMemorize at this address or at this address. Oh, it’s also small enough to carry on a flash drive.

    I have extensive linguistics resources that I’ve collected, including numerous sites which provide hard to find fonts. Anybody that needs a little help is free to contact me. Eventually I’ll get a language blog going, but my semi-permanent move out of the US is more of a priority.

  42. Nice Article.

    Just one point, I find that on a lot of phones (certainly my most recent motorola and old nokia) the alarm functions even if you turn it off, so you can use it to wake up without risking being woken early by calls.

  43. Tim: I’m glad you liked Carl Schramm’s book, The Entrepreneurial Imperative. I’m with the Kauffman Foundation – we’d love to talk to you! Please get in touch with me via email.

    Congratulations on the success of your book!

  44. Great stuff – I’m a big fan of travelling light and am often the only one in the group with only hand luggage (waiting for everyone else to collect theirs from the conveyor is a tad tedious though :D).

    I would pack a head torch too as they are just as small and can also be used hand held but make doing anything in the dark so much easier.

  45. Matthew,

    I too studied Thai (in Chiang Mai) for a few weeks and, due to my spending several hours a day on it, was able to converse fairly well over the 3 months I was in the country.

    As for Brazilian Portuguese, I can tell you alot about that because I’ve studied it for over two years now. It’s one of my great passions. I first studied it at a school in Rio for a few months but it was only after I returned back to the US that I really began to focus on it like I have with no other langauge before.

    To be sure, the FSI course is good, especially for pronunciation which many gringoes have a tough time with. But despite it’s 12 tapes, it won’t make you fluent by any measure. It’s very short on vocabulary expansion due to its attempts to explain the difficult concepts of the language, mainly verbs. The hardest part of Portuguese (or most of the other Romance languages) are the verbs and their assorted tenses and endings.

    To really develop a massive vocabulary, I use SuperMemory ( which I feel is simply the best system (even better than the Leitner). It was written by a guy in Poland and makes learning a large amount of vocabulary as painless as possible. Basically, you create your own collections as you would a flash card with words and phrases and then the program does the work of asking you the question. You provide some basic feedback and the program automatically knows when to ask you the question again. As you know, continual repitition is the only way to make anything really stick. I use SuperMemo everyday for nouns, verbs in all conjugations, and phrases from a very good Brazilian Portuguese phrase book called “How To Say Anything in Portuguese” by Ron Martinez.

    I also do translation from news stories and articles I find on the web. I have this cool program called Babylon ( that has a dictionary and machine translation feature that will translate any text by simply highlighting it. Translation is super important if you want to develop true fluency.

    Last (sorry for the long post), I take a class every week in San Francisco near where I live and try to speak with native Brazilians as much as I can. I think going to the actual country is important if you want to develop true fluency, but sometimes it can keep you making bad mistakes over and over until you have to unlearn them. When you need to speak a language to survive, you have to say whatever you know to get the job done and this is very often not the correct way to say it. Mastering a lot of the basic grammatical structures and words will take you a long way once you finally do visit the country.


    Other Tim

  46. Hi.

    All in all, great tips. One suggestion I’m going to counter is your pitch to just borrow someone’s binoculars if you go on a birding trip – don’t go assuming that you’ll be able to. You may be able to borrow or rent a pair from the guide/company leading the trip, but assuming that another birder on the trip will lend you theirs is obnoxious. A lot of birders go to places like Costa Rica and bring their $1100 binos, and they’re not going to be willing to lend them out to someone in your situation – I certainly wouldn’t; after all, if I lend mine to you, what the hell am I supposed to use? Someone might have a spare pair, but then you’re stuck with an 8×32 pair of binos and you won’t see much.

  47. Hello Mr. Ferris.

    I have the utmost respect and admiration for your life and work.

    However, I have an important question to ask you that’s not covered in the book.

    I’m currently a sophomore at the UW and I’m wondering what’s a good major to go into. My mom tells me i should choose a major that isn’t very popular among other students so that it’s easy to get to the 1% who makes 99% of the money. What is your opinion on this one?

    I’m grateful for your time and instruction. Thanks for your fastest reply!


    Longfei Jiang.

  48. If you’re going on a bird watching trip in Costa Rica, you don’t need to bring binoculars — someone else will have them.

    Wouldn’t it be fun if everybody going bird watching to Costa Rica read this and acted on your tip? I will, when I go there next time. 🙂 I like your “BIT method of travel”.

  49. Hi All!

    Longfei, I recommend you major in what interests you most. Don’t worry about the job that will follow. When in doubt, I recommend either a science or English. Both will help you develop clear and concise thinking, which is number one and can later be applied to anything. Writing is just thought on paper.

    To all the birdwatchers… I’m sorry!

    I didn’t realize my recommendation to borrow binoculars would set off such civil unrest 😉 Replace “binoculars” with “sunscreen” and you’re all set. I only used the first example because on wildlife tours I’ve taken in Panama, Costa Rica, and Brazil, we usually only spot two or three highlight birds on a 3-4-hr. tour, and asking to take a 10-second peek hasn’t bothered anyone thus far. I’m not advocating you hog someone’s $1,000 camera on their trip of a lifetime while they miss great opportunities. I’m just saying: borrow instead of buy when it won’t cause grief for others. M’kay? I should have made that clear — my apologies.

    Have a great weekend! There are some great opportunities coming next week…

    Pura vida,


  50. Great advice on packing light, Tim. I also swear by the solid tips at, Doug Dyment’s excellent resource for those dedicated to using carry-on luggage only. Includes sections on What To Pack, What To Pack It In and How To Pack It.

  51. Tim,

    What’s up! I just recently started reading your book and your website. I find your ideas and perspective very interesting. I live on Maui and if you are still here on July 16th, hit me up! Keep up the goodness.



  52. A month ago I relocated back to South Korea after leaving 6 years ago. I love living in Asia. Using my personal philosophy of “Possess Less Exist More”, I eliminated all my possessions to fit into one suitcase. Mind you this is for a 1 year relocation, but my top 5 must-haves:

    1. VOIP phone router

    2. copy of the Four-hour Work Week

    3. Sony Cybershot Camcorder

    4. Laptop (similar to Tim’s setup)

    5. All my music conveniently stored on a 300GB external hard drive.

  53. Eh, I think borrowing binoculars–or anything else that you would only use once or twice for a limited amount of time– is fine. Offer to buy anyone willing to share dinner or drinks or something in return. Good way to break the ice with other travelers, IMO, and not a big huge deal.

  54. Shana said Tim’s lifestyle “isn’t a potential reality as the married breadwinner of the family with 3 kids under 5.” Here’s how our family manages to do it.

    1. Home school your kids. This allows us to travel without pulling our kids out of school or waiting for summer break. The biggest misconception about home schooling is the kids don’t get socialized. Quite the opposite. Our kids go to many daily activites with other kids. Plus, they get to be with kids from other countries when we travel.

    2. Use schools in other lands for playmates…and a little learning. A private school in Buenos Aires cost us about $100 US a month and gave our oldest daughter a bunch of instant friends. She’d spend six hours a day learning Spanish and playing with her pals while Mom and I explored the city.

    3. Use a VOIP phone. It allows people to call me on my local number and it rings anywhere I am. My clients have no idea I am answering in Buenos Aires, not San Diego. I have used Vonage for years.

    Good luck on your life change. It’s possible and wonderful.


  55. Great post! I found the jacket particularly amazing, especially when you rolled it up into a tiny ball 🙂

    I’m almost done with your book, and I have to say it’s arrived at a very strange time in my life. I’m studying to take the Philippine bar exam, which is in a couple of months. The Low-Info diet has helped me focus, but the rest of the book has upended a lot of my priorities.

    I’m still trying to sense of it all right now. But I guess it’d be better to finish the whole book first. 😀

  56. I came across your blog while looking for travel tips. I have to admit, I’ve been on your site all day checking out your book and videos. I think your book hits that chord that all recent college graduates want to hear. We don’t want to do things the old way. We want to work to live, not live to work, and you’ve obviously found a way to do it. Kudos!

  57. On a 6 week road trip to Alaska right now & with the iPhone didn’t even need a laptop 🙂 love the tip on the towel, haven’t seen one of those.

    Thanks for the book, love the 5 things to do in the next 6 months, don’t usually have blocks, but have been wanting to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the last 10 years & kept not going because I didn’t want to get hit in the face (which I suppose is pretty reasonable for a girl), but when I did the no limitations exercise earlier tonight realized it’s time to go. Already let my buddies at the local MMA gym know and I’m training as soon as I get back from Denali.


  58. Hi Andrea,

    Cool — BJJ is fun. No need to get hit in the face. Just do the grappling and skip MMA sparring. Be sure to wear a mouthguard and headgear, though, as missing teeth and cauliflower ears are not good for attracting the opposite sex. At least, not the people you want to attract!

    Anyone reading this not know about cauliflower ears? Here you go:

    With that image in my head, I bid you all goodnight 🙂


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  60. Hello Tim!

    Great post! Me and my boyfriend already bought a light towel for our Norway hike!

    I have some other great LIGHT suggestion for a notebook.

    Check for Panasonic CF-W5 – it weighs 2.64 lbs and the battery life is 10,5 hours. Moreover, this is a rugged model; you can even stand on it and nothing will happen! I love this awesome notebook!

    Have a good day!



  61. Hi Tim,

    I thought cauliflowers ears would be a nice accessory to my look…no?

    Actually, I’ve always stopped myself by the thought of the accidental elbows to the face in a submission attempt gone awry, or other such thing which I’ve seen on my BJJ buddies, who to be fair are brown & black belts and, well…guys. I’m super excited to start!

    Today on the road trip I’m heading to Tapout’s world headquarters (which I think sounds way better than corporate offices) to check out my friend’s new digs, which is making me even more stoked that I’ve finally committed to learning BJJ.

    The road awaits, I’m only 2x a day e-mail & my hour’s almost up 🙂 Have an amazing day…andrea

    p.s. sent a quick e-mail to Amy last night, didn’t realize that you read your own mail, hope it gets forwarded to you.

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  63. Tim, here is a question that no one seems to answer. Health care. How do you afford it, use it internationally, etc. I will be self employed soon and I am curious about the BEST path.

  64. We are seeking people to join us.

    We want your sunrise! And we want you to join us to broadcast a never ending sun. Live!

    The idea comes from one of our stupid thought: Why can’t we keep a gorgeous moment that will never end?

    This is a project which needs people all around the world to achieve. We want people from different time zones to shoot the sunrises in their local places.

    Our optimistic outcome is installing 24 screens to display sunrises around the Earth. The Sun will keep rising from screen to screen, from bottom to top vertically. This ‘never ending sun’ will last for 24 hours in a day!

    In fact there are still many problems to solve, it’s been a tough way so far. Therefore we are in need of supports. Your help will be most appreciated no matter in what aspects. It could be supporting us technically, joining us, spreading it out, giving us suggestions or anything else you could think of. You name it, we do it.

    Your help will be most appreciated no matter in what aspects. It could be supporting us technically, joining us, spreading it out, giving us suggestions or anything else you could think of. You name it, we do it.

    Details please refer to our links.




    We sincerely seek for your kindly help. Give us a shout if you think this is awesome 🙂

    Many Thanks,

    Apollo Team

    (Jane, James, Pizza and Dawn)

  65. Hi Tim,

    I took my wife to Maui in February for our 10th anniversary… it was fun & beautiful! Did you get a chance to see the sunrise from Haleakala? We watched the sunrise, biked down the volcano 30 miles, and ate breakfast at an awesome place in Paia. Then we fell asleep on the beach 🙂

    I also recommend Mama’s Fish House, on the road to Hana!! The best restaurant experience I’ve ever had!

    Thanks for sharing your life!


  66. Tim,

    What is the quickest way to liquidate a 3000 square foot house and all of the belongings in order to persue my ultimate dream of buying a sailboat and traveling the world.

  67. Also, Tim, what type of pack do you usually carry? I’ve had trouble finding a good travel pack that is both big enough to fit my large (as in tall, ~22″ in traditional backpack measurement) frame comfortably, yet small enough to not look like I’m off to the outback for a month.

  68. Chris,

    My wife and I decided to move from Montana to Ireland on the 9th of December, 2003 and landed on the 31st to celebrate the new year in a new country.

    1. Start triaging your ‘stuff’ – a.) Valuable to you – not valuable to others (photos, family heirlooms, etc), b.) short term necessary items (clothes, 1 camera, life vests, etc), c.) not needed .

    2. Pack away the a things into boxes.

    3. Put the b things into a suitcase.

    4. Host a house sale where people wander around your house and buy the c stuff that’s there after you have put your a & b stuff into storage.

    5. Get some friends to load up everything that is left after the house sale and donate it to the Salvation Army (books can go to your local library).

    6. Let your real estate agent deal with selling the house via direct power of attorney or give that power to a relative or friend that you trust.

    7. Buy your boat.

    8. Put your b stuff on it. (And some of the a stuff)

    9. Sail away.

    That’s essentially what we did.

  69. Steven,

    Congrats on living your dream!!! I like where your heads at on boxing up and getting it done. We are talking about buying a townhouse or condo for a home base and moving only the things we love into that. Wife is a realtor so selling should be simple. Thanks.

  70. Hi all,

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  71. I like your blog an your videos. I was bummed in the packing video because I couldn’t really see the gear, the bright window and floor length lamp were behind you shining into the lens! You might try shooting away from the window as well as being in open shade when outside (sorry always the photographer, but you want people to like and want your stuff). I agree with your camera I have an SD400 that I love. You may want to look at an SD700. It has image stabilization and will especially smooth out the video. I suggest this over the SD 800,850, or 900 because the 700 IS is outgoing tech (somewhat) and cost less now, about $200 instead of $349 or $399. Wait awhile it will all get cheaper.


  72. Speaking of traveling light anyone know the brand/version of PDA that Tim discusses finding (on the pod cast interview) that allows for calendar, contacts, etc. to sync and you can turn off the email function?




    Hi TG!

    It’s the Palm Z22, but note that you cannot “turn on” the e-mail function, as it doesn’t exist 😉


  73. Thanks for the great packing list! I’m definitely going to try it out on my next trip. What is the longest trip you taken using this minimalist packing? I’m taking a 30 day trip to China next year, and am wondering if I can swing such a packing list. Any suggestions???

  74. Dear Tim,

    all the best for your ankle.

    I escaped 9-5 before I read your book… and now your book is a great help to get an idea what to do now.

    Good luck and all the best for you


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  76. Just got my two pair of Exofficio lightweight underwear. The most comfortable underwear I’ve ever put on!!

    Thanks Tim!!

  77. Tim,

    I’m in the midst of reading your book and will be passing it on to my 16 y.o. son soon. I just wanted to say you are a delight in that you are so open and approachable in your style of communicating with people who are interested in what you have to share. Your ability to laugh at yourself in certain situations, and make us ALL feel better about ourselves, is also much appreciated and rarely found in best-selling authors of any genre. I wish you continued blessings and success as you allow others to benefit from the lessons, experiences and trials you have encountered in your relatively few years in the world.

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  79. Jordan-128

    My minimalist packing started 20 years ago when I spent 30 days in Italy working as a sous chef at an art school for professional artists in Umbria, with another week in Rome, and packed everything into a single carry on. Select two complimentary colors (I used b/w) and one accent color (red for me), then take no more than 3 tops and 3 bottoms, 3 pairs of microfiber undies (breathable/quick drying)…then follow the rest of Tim’s list for “essentials” to take. You can buy anything else you really need after you arrive.

    After work I touring and socializing like mad w/the 24 Australian artists in residence (youngest was 27, oldest was 82…talk about a fun group of folks!), travelled throughout Umbria and points beyond geting in touch w/the locals where they live/work/play/eat/etc. (I even had Italian tourists asking me questions…in Italian, no less…about where to go/what to do, etc.

    Final note: I could have taken just 2 of the above clothing and still felt comfortable/well dressed/appropriately dressed, regarless of where I was and what I was doing. And you will definitely need the expanding duffle to lug home the gifts you’ll bring back ^_^)

  80. Dude,

    How can you pack such good choices in clothes etc yet pack one of the worst flashlights on earth. Ill donate this research for free since I did enjoy your book.

    Maglite Solitaire (Junk) –

    Arc AAA-P (Awesome) –

    Go buy yourself an Arc and trust me, I fully anticipate you will blog about it, since it is so small, durable & good battery life yet bright.


  81. Tim,

    It always looks like you are traveling alone…..

    I do understand how hard it is to find other people that have the means and time to travel.

    You should start a small travel club that consists of like 5-10 people that randomly travel.

    Someone can post a trip they want to take and the other people can come if they wish.

    It would be a blast!

    Luke Hoppel

  82. Hubby David intro’d me to your site and has mentioned your site on ours as well. I loved your packing light ideas…gives me some ideas for holiday stocking stuffers for hubby. Me? Still struggling to get down to the needs vs. the might-needs…but now I’m down to 1 bag for a long weekend vice 2. LOL

  83. Right on. Keep packing light.

    I was in La Fortuna in ’98, same catarata. I met a lazy tourguide who, after a few cervezas, let me lead some turistas up to the waterfall via horseback without charging me his fee; a Delta stewardess, and a retired Isreali soldier. I’m sure that I did a better job than he could have done, we all had a blast!

    Have you met my friend Casey Fenton on your travels? It was amazing what he started while he was managing political campaigns up here in Alaska. Visiting the Montreal collective is on my todo list.

    My husband and I are leaving for BsAs on Saturday. We already have the apartment, Spanish lessons, and dinner at SaltShaker’s home lined up. I know it’s not the best time of year, but we’re looking forward to the extreme change in climate. Would you recommend any local AR bloggers (AKA: locals in the know)? We are still waffling on whether to tour vineyards in Mendoza or Salta.

    I’ve enjoyed reading 4HWW. You outline the foundational motivations of our generation succinctly. Application of the Elimination and Automation steps is challenging and seems to be a life long challenge.

    toodle pip,


  84. Aloha! I live in Maui and work at the Hyatt front desk. I just finished reading your book and am a little disappointed that it is over because I was learning so much.

    Just wanted to say concerning negotiating at our hotel all one must do is ask nicely. Don’t be pushy, but ask nicely. I am much more helpful to those who make me laugh or are genuinely nice. For those that come in and demand things and yell at me they will get the worst room on the first floor. Make my day pleasant and I’ll make yours pleasant. Seems pretty fair to me. haha

  85. Tim, love the BIT method and use it myself when I travel (which is rarely).

    If you’re serious about the “Buy it there” method, why the heck would you travel with toothbrush, toothpaste, and disposable razor? Are you seriously traveling somewhere that you can’t buy those things for five bucks at any corner store?


    Hi V!

    LOL… good point. I could, but I already have about a dozen sets, so I take the smallest toiletries with me. For me, the real trick is avoiding cumbersome/heavy/unwieldy “I might need this” items like excessive clothing and choosing BIT when needed.


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  87. I’ve been following ultralight theory as applied to wilderness backpacking… check out these companies for really lightweight stuff.






  88. Man, what kind of cellphone do you have? Even old model cellphones don’t have stay turned on to get that alarm to work for you. You can check, ok. Set the alarm to a minute after the local time you have there, turn the phone off and wait for it to come to life with alarm bells ringing/beeping. This way you won’t have to lug around that kitchen timer!

  89. Well hello there. It was a joy to watch your video. You are devilishly handsome, which I’m sure helps in your quest for all things cheap and free. 🙂

    Happy Travels!

  90. Tim said that you can’t leave your phone off and use it as an alarm. I’ve owned both Nokia and Sony Ericson handsets which have this functionality. At the given time the alarm goes off, even if the phone has been switched off all night. Guess you just need to check your model.

    On the ball with the borrowing stuff idea – my brother walked the Camino de Compostella, just using his phone when needed, and charging it using other people’s chargers in the Refugios. Saved a lot of winding on his emergency hand cranked charger!

    Just recently there’s been some research that relates evening phone use to poor sleep patterns – but that’s a different matter…

  91. Throw out the kitchen timer Tim, doesn’t your mobile phone have “Offline” mode? Or “Flight Mode” maybe? It turns off the antenna so you won’t get ANY calls or messages, leaving your phone alarm clock to do its job by itself 🙂

  92. I am another person that likes to travel light — I always try to get away with nothing more than my travel backpack and my purse.

    My personal best (for which I STILL overpacked) was a two week trip to Canada for World Youth Day. I needed stuff to span hiking in a national forest, mowing yards and pruning trees for work-service, a banquet, camping outdoors, and being a roving reporter for 15 days without access to laundry. I still managed to do it with my travel backpack and a fannypack. In addition to clothes, I managed to take along a light sleepsack, a bivvy sack for rain, a hiking pole , first aid kit, towel, toiletries for showers and personal hygiene, some food items, a totally annoying device that was a precursor to a mini-computer, my digital camera, an inflatable pillow, a jacket, a rain poncho and a book. The pack was a little heavier than I’d like but I really squeezed in in there.

    It rained a lot and I wasn’t quite prepared for that or the sheer nuisance of toting around my hiking boots when I wasn’t wearing them, but I managed to survive just fine.

    OH — but one problem was I didn’t pack sunscreen and never managed to be in a spot to buy it, so I do disagree about not packing some basic toiletries.

    This is the only way to travel.

  93. Re: Notebook computers. Picked up an Asus Eee Pc in Bangkok this past November for 11,000 baht, under 400 bucks. Does everything a road warrior needs without the bullshit. Lot’s of info on the net these days about it so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say that if any computer toting ne’er do well listed what they ‘actually’ do with their notebook, I doubt anyone needs more than this 2 pounder I’m tapping on right now. And at about 10/15 % the price of a Sony Tz/Tx or a Panasonic Toughbook, I’d wince if it was stolen or slipped off the deck of a sailboat into the drink, but I wouldn’t cry.

  94. I really like the BIT system. I find myself looking through things I’ve packed saying I would never bring this backpacking, because I would have to carry the extra weight.

    I see little difference between the Airport and the Yosemite Valley, 10lbs on your back is 10 lbs on your back.

    Lee Rodrigues, M.A.Ed.

    Teacher, Coach, Comic


  96. Tim, excellent book! Thank you! From reading your blog, I recall you mentioned a sleep aid that you prefer for use on long flights. What is that product?

    Thanks again.

  97. Hi Tim,

    Love it all.

    I needed your packing tips for our first cruise last week.

    I am trying to find some time now to put into play some of your lifestyle tips…I read your book in August and love it. I have recommended it often and love the thinking mode it puts me in. Anything is possible!

    Your code is kinda goofy on this particular post – I am just using a regular PC and it is not showing links, just a lot of coding and symbols.

    Anyway, hugs to you –


  98. Hi Tim,

    I posted an entry here last night, but not sure where it went! Anyway, thanks for the packing tips- love them. Wish I would have had them last week when hubby and I went on first cruise. Crazy-ass packing. I couldn’t have gotten it down to as light as above, but it sure would have helped. Oh well, next time!

    Love your thinking and living. I read your book in August and am looking forward to implementing several items you suggest (been in slight delay mode, have had some issues to address over the last several months, you can check out blog if you’d like to know more!). I have put my head in tune with many of your lifestyle suggestions – VA, travel, shortened workweek, etc. I have recommended your book to many and love your spin on the world. Keep going~

    Also, the Eee PC (someone mentioned above) is super awesome for traveling. Light, small, email, office stuff, camera, inexpensive. Love it.

    Lastly, your code does show in your above entry rather than (video?) links. I am only using a regular PC. Thought you’d like to know.

    Take care!



  99. Tim, what kind of pack do you use when you are traveling? I’m going to be in Cairo for a while, and will probably be doing quite a bit of traveling while I am there, any recommendations?

  100. Actually I would add one to that … don’t bring a laptop. Granted you won’t have your nice configuration where you go but it sure saves a lot of hassle, worrying, and space.

    My question for you is:I just spent a month living in the UK for a class, which means we were confined to a hotel for the stay and had a greatly unfavorable conversion rate. I ended up packing 1 big duffel bag [with an extra collapsible bag inside], and my carry on bookbag [books etc]. Would you change your advice for those circumstances?

    The advice on getting places to stay for cheap was brilliant.

  101. Tim, if you enjoy the SD300, you should check out the Canon TX1. I carried it in my pocket for 10 weeks and 3 continents this summer and was very pleased. It’s just a little larger than the SD300, but still fits in your pocket and can shoot 720P HD video, great for posting on HD youtube sites like

  102. Hi Tim,

    I generally negotiate most things like hotel upgrades, cell phone contracts etc(I am after all an Indian) but car rentals was something that I just didn’t do. Thanks to your article I recently upgraded to a Mustang GT from a normal intermediate for no extra cost ! I more or less repeated your lines and it worked like a charm.

    Thanks & cheers !!

  103. I’ve been to Japan this month and what really helped me was wearing that cafepress T-shirt with “I WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD” written on it.

  104. The information you provide in your blog is really amazing; I am fascinated! I found it by mistake and I got stuck reading several sections. I first read the language decodification stuff which I plan to practice to speed up my learning of Norwegian 🙂

    But I got also curious with the losing weight plan. I have myself that sort of routine during the weekdays, high protein and low-carb diet. Being a scientist a bit obsessed about evolution and adaptations I got to the conclusion that the healthiest diet for a human has to be something similar to what our ancestors ate some thousands of years ago. We are not adapted to deal with the amounts of carbohydrates and sugars the nowadays diet offer. Even the so-called “natural” items such as fruits have been domesticated and are much bigger and richer in sugars than their wild (ancestral) counterpart. I would like more info about the training plan, but luckily I am naturally equipped with an athletic build and I easily get in shape. However, I lack stamina. Tim, do you have any trick to improve this? I am more the fast and strong type and my endurance is really shameful, though I’ve always practiced sports (mainly soccer). Iron oral supplementation helps a bit… What do you know about it? Please help! 🙂

    I also looked at the light-traveling packing. I am always seeking to optimize my load when traveling and I’ve learnt a lot (the hard way!). As a biologist in Colombia we often had excursions in the field and had to walk for many hours to the camp site. I learnt that, in the end of the day, you always wear the same clothes. You only need three different changes: the ones for traveling (clean) while on civilization, the dirty ones for fieldwork, and the clean and dry for sleeping. I also take a very compact towel (Speedo) which is a tip I learnt from people that practice dives. I doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t!) dry. You just wring it and keep it wet. It was funny the sock-glasses-case; I’ve done myself! It is comforting to me to see that I am not the only “eccentric” person 😀 I also like the approach of buying at the last minute only if absolutely needed 🙂 I decided that I prefer to miss something I didn’t bring that bringing something I didn’t need 😛

    I struggle with my boyfriend when we travel. I always tell him that he seems the woman in the couple 😛 I don’t know how to get him to be more practical when packing! We are going to Kenya and Tanzania in the summer and he mentioned his intention of bringing a hard suitcase instead of a rucksack! I already told him that I will supervise while he packs and that he can forget about bringing three pair of shoes and other useless things! Tim, as you have traveled a lot, maybe you have been in Africa before and can give me some advice of what to bring and, most important, what to leave back home? The “dealing strategy” is also very interesting. I should try that!

    Very, very nice blog… thanks for it! I really enjoyed very much and I may be visiting you again 😉


  105. I am able to pack for a 2-week vacation using one carryon plus my purse (okay, it’s not my purse but what does the airline know?). Even so I still pack way too much stuff and have to ask my husband to lift the bag into the overhead bin on an airplane. My goal is to reduce it again by half. One of the tricks I’ve started to use is to pack one reversible skirt. I have a couple that are wrinkle-free and terrific for travel. Thanks for the awesome tips! I swear I’ll stop packing so many panties!

  106. While I am able to pack in one carry-on and a “purse” for a 2-week vacation, I am inspired to do better! My carry-on is too heavy for me to lift in the overhead so I have to rely on my husband. Next time, I’m cutting it in half. I discovered several lightweight non-wrinkling reversible skirts by CAbi – Carol Anderson by Invitation on eBay and plan to take one along. I also use his BIT (Buy It There) method, especially since the airlines want “liquid” products in a ziploc bag.

  107. An alternative to the Coolibar shirts are the Rail Riders. I have the Eco Mesh and used it last on a Pyrenees summer hike. It worked really well in those high altitude but bright and hot sunny days.

    Instead of the Maglite, I have a Petzl e+Lite which, at 45g, can be strapped around your head or clipped to an object, has 2 different white leds, a strobe mode, and a red led. For those that’ll complain about the lack of availability of the batteries, it’s led so lasts a hell of a long time and carrying around spares weighs nothing. Besides being so light and small, the design of this thing is magnificent.

    On the alarm, besides the cell phone option, I use a Casio wristwatch which has an alarm.

  108. I don’t know what phone you have, Tim,

    but I have a crappy old Motorola that rings the alarm even when it’s off…

    Great tips! I won’t drag the timer along, though. 😉

  109. Hi Tim! 🙂

    I have 2 VERY pressing issues with light packing that I hope you or anyone else who has ideas could address:

    1. What do you use to pack all of this in? A packpack that you carry-on? Messenger bag? What if you have an extended trip, do you bring more clothes? Keep washin the same clothes? It sounds like you use swimming shorts for regular shorts then?

    2. How can the business traveler who is accustomed to wearing suits/ties/several pairs of shoes use these principals?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    Luke Krogh

  110. I am new to the backpacker experience but my wife and I are leaving on a year long backpacking excursion in at the end of September. Many of the site I have been reading appear to be uncomfortable recommending (and linking) to specific products. Are afraid that I will be offended if they make some money on the click through? Needless to say, thank you for the great packing advice.

    My wife (Natalie) is a pro at asking for what she wants and negotiating with people until she gets it. I am a bit more reserved but I am certainly improving. Thanks for the great negotiating tips. I will put them into practice.

  111. Introducing Justin’s wife – Natalie:

    “Getting what I want? Well…Alright! That works.”

    Tim, I am continually impressed with you and how you choose to live life. Thanks for inspiring us with your spirit of adventure.

    Feel free to check out our planning process and offer comments or suggestions. We would love to hear from anyone. Except for those computer robots. Not those guys so much.

  112. Oh, I am not tech savy. Sorry, I forgot to share our website with everyone.

    [URL removed per comment rules and in URL field]

    Thanks for giving me some grace. (cute smile accompanied with comment).

  113. Thanks for the travel tips and more importantly, the book! Awesome…and i’m a business/life book/program affectionado…for what ever that is worth

    If I may add one of my personal favorites…

    Kooga rugby shorts are made from synthetic material making them breathe and stretch(a bit) and are practically indestructable. They dry very quickly and can roll into the smallest of corners of you purse..if you’re into that 😉

    Keep up the good work and come down for a jaunt when you are ready. I think that you call LA home some of the time. I’m on Venice Beach and it’s easy like sunday morning.



  114. Thanks Tim!

    I just bought four hour work week, it’s an awesome book! I’m going to be buying 8 copies for my brothers and sisters at Christmas! I love the fact that you see your goal and you “allow” yourself to achieve it. Most people don’t get there because they believe the “haters” who say “there’s no way you can do that”, when they really mean “I don’t think there’s any way I could do that”!

    I made a Mind Movie where I said “I swim every day”, watched it before going to sleep and when I woke up (instead of TV!) and three days later I got a call from my secret shopper company to check out a top NY gym chain and get a 90 day free membership. Not only do I “get to” swim every day (for free), I GET PAID TO GO TO THE GYM!!!!

    In January I made a company that does automatic rent collection for landlords and property managers (DIRECT DEBIT with Automatic Lease), any suggestions on getting them to try it? I know I’m asking for free advice from someone who gets paid thousands of dollars as a consultant, but the worst thing you could say is nothing.

    Again, thanks for The Four Hour Work Week, it has changed my life!

    Tim Seitz

  115. Just got back from Costa Rica. Packed light, almost exactly what you recommended. Couldn’t have been happier with the decision to leave the extra junk at home.



  116. My wife & I are going to Rome this weekend. I’m going to be wearing a decent smart pair of jeans, British Army assault boots, a random T-shirt I got from & my Berghaus waterproof breathable jacket. I’ll have my camera, iPod & a paperback in my pockets along with my credit cards (in the inside pocket, zipped up), and the only luggage I’ll take is 2 pair of briefs & socks in a drawstring gym bag of the sort Bruce Lee had in “Enter the Dragon” 😉 – *seriously* minimalist. But then, I’m only going for 2.5 days & I want to avoid hassle at check-in & customs.

  117. Tim, I’m going on a mini-retirement to the Middle East soon and was wondering – what is the best free travel blog and picture hosting site to post on for people who are going to be out of the states? Any Ideas?

  118. So, you’re living my dream! You just got back from Costa Rica and now you’re headed to Maui!? How do I get on that bus???!!! I really appreciated reading your packing list…lots of new ideas to check out. I’m an aspiring world traveler myself…but getting off to a slow start 🙂 If you want to check out my travel blog I’d love to hear what you think of it! Thanks again!

  119. Big fan of all the lifestyle tips and travel ideas. Not sure if you have thought much about this but a major pain for travelers who take cell phones, cameras, gps systems, ipods, and such with them is bringing along all of the chargers for these devices to make sure they have power. It adds a lot of weight and volume.

    There are some cool solar powered batteries that solve this problem by serving as a single charging platform for all these kinds of devices. They can also recharge from the Sun so you can have power anywhere on the planet. Pretty cool. One that I know of that’s pretty good is called Solio and also another called SunCell is from

    Enjoy reading all of your posts…….

  120. Hi Tim,

    I was wondering how you used a laptop lock to lock your luggage, but I think I just figured it out – you were combining it with the padlock.

    Would like to see your thoughts on good backpacks as well. Thanks!


  121. I would suggest ripping out pages of the lonely planet or travel book and throwing them out as you go. As a lightweight backpacker- watch the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves. As for the convertible and treehouse- this is just general shmooozing and personal skills- this might work 1% of the time. Identifying who these will work best on is the key- just like trying to pick the right girl to talk to at a bar. As always it is a numbers game- if many rental car places are side by side- try them all- theres got to be that employee that loves you and hates their employer- this is when you get the hook-up! Cheers!

  122. Tim,

    I haven’t seen packing skills like that since being on tour with a drum and bugle corps. Well….it is hard to reduce the size of a musical instrument, but minimal is the word of the day when transporting 150+ musicians across the country for three months.

  123. Being something of a big traveler myself, both for professional reasons and personal choices, it was a matter of survival to learn how to get rid of excess weight when packing ^_^

    But it is not a reason for me to drop all my feminine side for the sake of saving weight, therefore I have a few tricks to go around this issue!

    When buying a new face cream or just visiting a beauty shop, I usually ask for a couple of samples from the same cream “because, you know, I travel a lot” Same for perfume, and sometimes even make-up (lipsticks, mascara, eye shadows samples are very useful)

    Concerning shampoos & conditioners which usually come in huge bottles, if I travel for work I usually stay in hotel where they are provided. I don’t care about using hotel shampoo, but conditioner quality can be a problem because I have really long hair and don’t want to damage them (yes I’m a girl…)

    Therefore I usually pack a small quantity of hair mask (way better than conditioner anyway and you can use it after each shampoo) in small plastic containers – easier to store than a big one – and I also pack a hair serum to protect from split ends, and they usually come in small bottles too. This mix helped me saved my hair even when traveling in secluded areas where it was exposed to sun, heat, sea water etc… (hey, I still want to look good on my travel pictures!!)

    If I travel for holidays, I apply the BIT theory: I buy shampoo and soap upon arrival, and leave the bottles behind me each time I change accommodations, since they are only a couple of dollars anyway.

    Keeping things in order in a backpack can really be a pain especially when you tend to change location very often. Each time you try to grab something inside and pull it out, the rest of your stuff comes out as well and all the packing needs to be done again, and if not done properly you can loose a lot of space too (for me, as a petite figure, my bag’s weight AND volume are important)

    Therefore I’m applying a simple & cheap solution to avoid this, by using ziplock bags.

    I pack a maximum of 2 Tshirts in one ziplock bag, close them while pushing a maximum of air out so I save the maximum space. I do the same with all my clothes, electronic equipments & cables, papers, toiletries etc… Then I just have to put everything in my back pack.

    Therefore, when I pull something out, the ziplocks glide/slide on each other smoothly and everything stays in place. It also keeps my stuff same from humidity or water (I had my bag once dropped from a boat and everything was saved thanks to that!!)

    When I arrive in a place where I stay longer then I open all the Ziplocks to let my stuff breathe if packed it in a humid area.

    Ziplocks come in all sort of size and colors, are very resistant, sometimes they even have this little plastic handle to close the bag easily, and they really saved me from the nervous breakdown of packing and unpacking all the time 🙂

  124. Hey

    I travel all the time too, and being from Northern Europe I tend to sweat too much in the tropics. So backpacks used to be a big nono for me.. until I discovered German made Deuter backpacks. I have a Deuter Futura 55 and its amazing. Not only it will fit a whole universe inside even though its not that big, it will keep your back from sweating. Its also water-, fire- and whatever proof. In addition its great cause it rests on your hips – so you wont get that tired even when you have to walk a long way.

    Enjoy Maui. Im heading to Central America myself soon.

  125. Hey All,

    On traveling light, I’m a woman with the same philosophy. I just came back from 2 weeks in Thailand. Though 2 weeks is a short time, I visited Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok, roughly 3 diff types of places that might have required 3 diff wardrobes/sets of “stuff”. I love taking a small carry-on, not into backpacks myself (though I did backpack (only back, not back/hip pack) last year on Palawan in the Philippines), and buying what I need along the way. Why haul around shampoo and conditioner and every possible thing you might need? And funny thing is, people are so surprised when they learn that I can travel like that because they perceive me to be some kinda glamour-puss. It’s possibly ladies to maintain some of your glam and still travel light!

    Fun blog!

  126. First of all I thank you for such a very well done, wonderful book–I listened to the CD version and laughed my head off at several parts. I’m sure I looked like a wacko on my Metro commutes. 🙂

    Take your time on the wife thing, if ever. You’re too young! My hubby and I were married for 13 years before having kids and had the time of our lives with our version of the dream life. We both learned 4 languages each, we’ve crossed the Grand Canyon twice, hiked the Milford Track in New Zealand and kayaked some, hiked 4 days to Macchu Picchu, gone on ultralight planes, swam with whale sharks in Mexico, seen pyramids and ruins, gone on Galapagos, Egyptian and European cruises, snorkeled all over the Pacific including with jellyfish in Palau, seen a lot of Europe, some of Australia, Asia, Latin & South America and went to Easter Island with baby in utero. So now that we’re hunkering down a little bit due to baby, we have no regrets since we’ve done so much.

    To add to your excellent list (we’ve traveled just like that for several years–2 flash dry underwear, lightweight towel, quick dry shirts and shorts and just 1 carry on per person–we were always the first ones out of the airport–SWEET!), I’d like to add my modifications as a female traveler and a new mom (16 month old baby). Personal favorites: 1) Athleta carries excellent, light, quick dry clothing that hold up well to sports but still look very fashionable. Skorts are a must for looking feminine but be fully covered for hiking and steep pyramid steps–you know what I mean, ladies! 😛 Just a note, a slightly longer length will serve you well in a lot of countries, as well as tankini tops and swim skirts for swimming:-) 2) Fresh & Go toothbrush is simple to use 3) Marsona sound machine for drowning out unfamiliar noises is a must (regularly use with baby at home too so when they hear the sound they know it’s sleep time!)–this has been a life saver for us on many trips, and we now use regularly at home for better sleep. No more changing hotels mid-trip to avoid noise. AND, I know, travel light, but with baby a lot of things are non-negotiable, these help the way for smoother sailing: 1) Peanut shell sling in black fleece–it’s more comfy than the cotton and you can pop baby in and out wherever you are, from birth to 35 lbs. I never take mine off, it’s part of my outfit. 2) Peapod plus portable tent–this is baby’s main bed at home and travel so baby has the same sleep place everywhere we go, and the flaps give all travel parties privacy–great from small babies to 5 years old. I can still jam this onto a little wheeled carry on and pack mine and baby’s minimal clothing around it 3) Go Go Kidz TravelMate (great for wheeling car seat up to the gate for gate check or use on plane) 4) Britax Diplomat car seat is small but kids can use it from birth to approx. 4 years old.

    Make sure the wheeled carry on bag you get is one size smaller than the allowed carry on size so you don’t get bumped to check the bag in if the plane is full. You can always nicely argue/reason/bat your eyelashes that you will put the bag in your foot space.

    Also, very helpful to give baby something to sip or munch on during take off and landing so yours isn’t the baby screaming from ear pain.

    Happy Travels!

  127. Ahhh light – is for sure the way to go…

    My lightest trip was a decade ago 2 months in India:

    (1) One change of clothes (wash and hang what I wore the night before and hence always clean)

    (2) bar of soap (for clothing and body)

    (3) one pair of sandals

    (4) one set of watercolors

    (5) one notebook

    (6) one pen

    (7) one sleepsheet

    (8) deoderant, tootbrush toopaste

    …and no camera – at the time wanted to experience, feel and flow through the world without always looking through a glass lens – I’ve evolved since then…but no regrets as I have memories firmly embedded in my psyche….

    3 pounds, nothing to worry about, hop on any bus spontaneously any time any place.


  128. Hi all,

    I’m a 19 year old from Australia just about to join the workforce. Since reading your book I have rethought taking up a graduate position and decided to travel instead. What’s the point of rushing into the rat race eh?

    Tim, your book was recommended to me by a friend who took a great interest in the outsourcing aspect of your book. After I had finished the book, I was more excited about the travelling and vagabonding stories and recommendations.

    To think that you have outsourced all menial tasks in your life is amazing. Your e-mail automation was definitely an eye opener to somebody like me who naturally checks e-mail on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.

    I would like to ask one specific question however; you mention that travel is often much cheaper than originally anticipated. Is anybody aware of any Australian websites that offer the disgustingly good deals that were mentioned in Tim’s book?

    Once again, great work with the book and good luck with the Tango dancing 😉

  129. Well I’ll keep an eye too, I’m heading for Australia on May 12th for an extended trip, all with a very light backpack 🙂

    And if needed, I’d be happy to give a hand to a newborn start-up, while I’m around!!

  130. Minimalist packing is the only way to go! I’m a recovering over-packer (after being raised to be 100% prepared for everything imaginable), and had no idea of how much I was missing by bogging myself down with luggage, and how many more opportunities a 1-backpack journey could hold.

    My husband converted me to the school of packing lightly, and we took a 3 week trip to Costa Rica last spring during which I carried my lightest travel load to date–not quite down to 10 lbs yet, though 🙂 One thing I was really glad we packed was our First Need water filter and Nalgene water bottles. For one, it really cut down on costs of purchasing bottled water everywhere, and it enabled us to travel to wherever, regardless of water potability, and not have to worry about a grocery store being within walking distance in case we ran out of H2O. It’s worth the extra weight, as little as that is. 🙂 Oh yeah, and a lightweight first aid kit is always a must.

    Thanks for the great blog! It inspires some good comments and extra tips from readers, too… getting some good ideas for my next trip!

  131. Check out the new dell mini 12. Big glossy Screen, web cam, about 1 inch thick., well under 3 lbs great battery life less than $500 decked out with extended battery.

  132. Oz-based start-up eh Tim?

    Tell me more 😉

    I’m thinking of heading down to South Africa next year for the 2010 soccer world cup.

    All the best.


  133. This post was particularly energizing. When you mentioned traveling Europe it immediately made me think… I’d love to hear from anyone about their experiences applying these principles on a trip to Europe.

  134. Hey Tim,

    This post makes me want to travel a lot more. 🙂

    If you evercome back to Panama again, just drop me off a quick email, Ill be glad to show you around.

    You also gained a group of followers down here in Latin America so youre more than welcome..

    Te esperamos por aca,


  135. Dude, it is kind of embarrassing to admit this but just reading your blog and watching your videos is giving me a freaking peak experience, and I’m talking huge neurotransmitter release! Omg man, you are amazing, you are opening my eyes to how I should approach the life better than any self-help book I have read so far. I’m going to read your book ASAP. What you are doing is revolutionary. I loved the packing video, I’ve dreamed for years of one day traveling with virtually no luggage and turning the world into my playground 😛

  136. Petzl E+Lite is the only flashlight/headlamp you’ll ever need.

    I bought one last year for a week long backpacking trip, I haven’t used any other of my headlamps since. Weighs 30 grams and you can beat the hell out of it. It’s just like the Mag Lite, except better. You don’t have to hold it in your mouth when your car breaks down, or your reading a book in the tent. It’s the iPod of headlamps.

  137. Fantastic list! Getting me motivated to start to travel just for the sake of it, as I’ve been living the city life in one place for too long, playing it too safe and now ready to embrace the fear of the unknown road in front of me…..bonus is still being able to work anywhere from a laptop. Hell, just getting one pair of orderless boxers to wear for a week would be a godsend!

  138. How much does the stuff in the ‘maui list’ cost?


  139. Tim,

    Great post, very informative and intriguing.

    Two questions: (1) Do you not worry about power adaptors for foreign power outlets? (2) With all this minimizing of packing for a trip, what does your wallet consist of?



  140. “The problem with using a cell phone alarm to wake up is simple: the phone needs to be on”

    I don’t know what kind of phone you are using, but the phones I have had over the last couple of years allow you to set the alarm, switch the phone off and it will turn itself on at the set time.

  141. Hi Tim,

    You only tell us how you store your sunglasses, not which ones you actually use.

    If you want to use your laptop in those places where you travel you should check out Glarewear sunglasses. They really make the difference if you are working outdoors a sunny day, either by making it possible for you to save some battery or see the screen at all.


  142. Hi Tim,

    I think this list is in need of updating. The jacket is no longer available, the Fly Clear biometric travel card is no longer is business and the Lewis and Clark flex lock link gives a 404 error.

    Regardless this is awesome information and I hope to use it as a blueprint for an upcoming trip.


  143. Tim,

    Must you encourage men to dress so un-stylishly when traveling? 🙂

    Polyester pants are practical and fast-drying but also so ugly!

    Kudos on the guide to packing minimally though. I was inspired because I often over-pack.

    I can see this working out for jaunts to tropical islands… but how about when traveling to a city with a continental climate and needing to maintain a modicum of stylishness and comfort?

    My favourite items for traveling:

    For hiding money:

    I am a fashionable woman that frequently travels alone. Most money belts don’t accommodate my fitted jeans. I get a lot of mileage out of an ankle money belt like the link below, and I’m much less afraid of falling asleep on trains/planes/etc. if I know someone would have to go up the leg of my pants to steal my money/passport. It’s great for sleeping with in hostels when you’re sharing a room with strangers.

    For sun protection:

    My skin is pale and sensitive. Shiseiso Anessa is the best sunscreen ever. The coverage is phenomenal even though it’s ridiculously thin and viscous. I’ve never gotten burned–even in the desert and tropics. It doesn’t sweat off and lasts for hours. It mixes well into your foundation or moisturizer too. It even comes in travel size. The bottle lasts for months. It’s magic. The only problem is you can only buy it in Japan or on the internet. The US formulation is different.

    Shiseido Anessa Sunscreen

    This is how and what I pack when I’m going to a continental city in spring/fall for weeks to months and why the items are great.

    – Lululemon’s sports bras

    They’re really comfortable, moisture-wicking, and fast-drying. They’re great if you’re traveling somewhere hot and muggy, and/or stuck on a train/bus/plane for 12 hours cos they wick sweat away from your skin.

    – Uniqlo’s Heattech shirts + tank tops

    You can layer them and stay really warm, or they look GREAT alone. They pack up small and dry quickly.

    – H&M’s thin t-shirts + tank tops

    They’re cheap, come in lots of colors, and are very thin–great for spring weather, packing and quick overnight drying.

    – cotton-lycra jersey dresses

    So versatile! great for layering.

    I usually pack 1 or 2 of the following types of dresses: t-shirt style dress, bandeau tube dress, and/or infinity style dress.

    – silk and cotton scarves –

    they can be used as scarves, headbands, belts, sarongs…

    For spring/fall travel, I usually pack: 2 long sleeved shirts, 2 t-shirts, 2 tank tops, 1 black leggings, 2-3 tights, 2 dresses, 3 scarves, 1 pair jeans and/or shorts, 1 miniskirt, sneakers, flip flops, bikini, underwear, socks, 2 belts (one for pants, one hip belt), 2-3 necklaces, high heels, small leather evening bag, med canvas shopping bag, toiletries + makeup.

    This seems like a lot, but every item except sneakers packs up really small, so I can often fit this into one carry-on. It’s light enough to carry up and down stairs. I carry a med size backpack or messenger bag for personal effects (wallet, camera, sunglasses, hip flask, water bottle, tissues, nail file, etc). I wear a hoodie, leather jacket + low-heeled black leather knee-high boots when in transit zipped up over my jeans or leggings.

    And voila, I’m set to explore cosmopolitan cities in style.

  144. Hey Tim,

    Only live with the essentials, and you can freely move throughout this wonderful world.

    Thank you for sharing this useful list. You inspired me to be able to take my life in a backpack. I’ve not only boiled down my possessions to the essentials, but made sure that each item has maximum functionality.

    My stuffs:

    2 pairs of Adidas socks (no cotton)

    2 pairs of ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxers

    Duofold midweight base layer top and bottom

    ExOfficio Give-N-Go shirt

    Arc’teryx Delta LT Zip Pullover long sleeve

    Marmot Ion Windshirt

    Gander Mountain fleece jacket

    2 pairs of TekGear black shorts (polyester)

    2 pairs of TekGear black pants (polyester)

    Adidas slippers

    Columbia waterproof shoe/sandal hybrids (“shoendals”)

    Waterproof hiking shoes

    Insulated gloves

    UPF 30 bucket hat

    Fleece beenie

    MSR Packtowel

    I can throw all that (maybe one or two more articles of clothing) + cleaning/bath stuff + laptop & accessories into a single carry-on backpack. I’ve lived comfortably in Boston, US Virgin Islands, and other places for weeks. Can’t wait to go international for months with this stuff.

    It feels so liberating and free to not have to worry about “packing.” I can throw ALL my stuff into a single backpack and move anywhere in the world.

    Thank you for inspiring me to be location-independent live freely,


  145. Hello, i was wondering, why are you posing in the photo with a Hurley, in an Asian building? The two don’t usually go together……

  146. Tim,

    We are preparing a big trip to Brazil. We are traveling LIGHT! Do you have any backpack recs? We are looking at 30L daypacks. (Which is amazing because the Kiva expandable duffel holds about 30L of stuff… amazing that it’s so small!).



  147. What is this challenge in this? I’m a backpacker and touring cyclist and can hold a self supported tour with a sub 10 lb loadout excluding my LBE.


  148. Tim –

    I have an office in India and I travel there a few times a year for at least 2 weeks at a time. Packing with 10lbs or less is fabulous advice for men, but I’d like to know what suggestions you have for women. Response – highly appreciated.


  149. AWESOME! Derek Sivers from recommended your blog! LOVE it! I look forward to finding your book! and LOVE lite packing tho i’m rarely known for since i’m an artist/musician… tricky stuff in that bizniss especially when i’ve wearing all the hats! i think i’ve gotta find a bunch of others to wear all the hats so i can travel lighter, ay?! LUMINOUS CHEERS TO YOU!! sarah.:.

  150. I am a woman and I don’t agree with you Rory 😉

    I travel a lot for work, sometimes up to 2 weeks at the time and always manage to travel very light. The heavy part is actually my bulky computer from work (I have the same Vaio as Tim as a personal computer)

    I have clothes that mix & match and wear the bulkiest / heaviest ones when on the plane – boots, jeans or jackets for example. All my toiletries (the challenging part) come in very small packaging and I practice the BIT method extensively!

    10 pounds is a bit of a low limit for business travelling but I always managed to travel with a carry-on luggage.

    Girls can definitely travel in style without 2 large suitcases 😉

  151. Just wanted to add a nice find to the light travel pack – shaving oil. I first found this stuff last year before my trip to Thailand. The container is really small and allowable by TSA – about 1 OZ or less. You squeeze 5-8 drops on your hand and rub into your wet whiskers. You get a great shave – better than with most soaps. 1 little plastic bottle lasts quite a long time, perhaps 40-50 shaves, so it’s great for long trips.



  152. Hey, I adore your blog and your book. I travel a lot and have kept your travel tips useful but what about when visiting colder climates? Some months back I went to Norway during the winter and it was a disaster.

  153. That Vaio is no longer available. Probably just updated though. Great read. Despite your recs Tim, I’m considering taking a small laptop like the Vaio when I travel just for my writing and business needs. Anyone on here have any recommendations for unlocking a TMobile Blackberry?

  154. Tim

    Great resource, but like TianaCo, I think a little more pizazz in style is good too.

    I like to carry a silk travel blanket and sleeping sack they are light, keep me warm when its chilly yet are comfortable in the heat and fold up tiny. Most of all I can use them when I am not sure how clean the bedding is where I am staying.

    Thanks for the tip about athletic tape, I always carry duct tape, this may be an alternative.

  155. Interesting perspective on minimalist packing, Tim! I’m committed to packing as light as possible and always looking for tips 🙂

    @ Sarah Ballard — curious as to why you would need packing tips specific to women. As a female who travels (not nearly as frequently or as far as you) I can tell you it’s easier than you may think. Sure, we may have to bring along a couple of bras and our preferred swimwear might be two pieces instead of one. And yes, we may want to bring some make-up along to… but do you need primer, foundation, concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, blush, lipliner, lipstick, lipgloss? Really, now… Think along the lines of MINIMAL and SIMPLE, regardless of whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure. And if you travel frequently to the same location for business, perhaps you could look into leaving a few items there (toiletries, maybe one work-appropriate and one casual outfit, along with shoes).

    @ Rory — as you can guess by my response above I have absolutely no problem keeping my packing to a minimum… AND I’M A WOMAN! To be fair, I have yet to hit the 10# or less goal (well, for anything more than a two night stay) but I’m well below the maximum legal carry-on. If anything, I’m less inclined than a male traveler to weigh myself down with gadgetry and gear.

  156. thanks for this blog tim-

    i for one, have always been madly obsessive about packing- i think if there is one thing that reflects one’s sense and sensibilities in life, it would be the way he packs.

    in this subject, i think the compendium of this travelling engineer is excellent-

    He really knows his shit and tackles everything. He is the real thing, quite geeky (perfect for my taste) and funny in that sense.

    I am not related to him in any way- so, i am sharing this site because i really believe it most valuable.

    and yey to comment of TianaCo!

  157. Hey, I adore your blog and your book. I travel a lot and have kept your travel tips useful but what about when visiting colder climates? Some months back I went to Norway during the winter and it was a disaster.

  158. Thank you very much for providing some good ideas on this topic. I have sought out a great variety of honest suggestions about travel tips and some unreliable recommendations. Do you have any more good suggestions or places on the Web that I can find more detailed information? This would be certainly appreciated! So, continue the good work!

  159. If there is one thing I love the most, it is traveling. I pack LIGHT all the time! Believe it or not, I’m a girl who loves to dress up on travels, but I don’t worry on excess baggage nor additional suitcase(s). When I traveled to Hong Kong and stayed there for a week, my suitcase is only half full! For my HK trip (and a sidetrip to Macau) I only brought 1 pair of jeans, 6 tops, and 1 pair flipflops plus the jeans and shoes I wore on my flight to HK! Also brought 3 undies (of course!) and just did some washing of undies on the hostel! This way, it’s enough for me to fill up my suitcase for purchases I made during travel.

  160. I have to agree with the buy-it-when-you-get-there mentality. I rarely carry bulky items like mouthwash. Just too big, heavy, and too likely to leak under changing air pressures.

    When I do carry liquids in my checked luggage, wrapping them in one or TWO plastic bags is essential. After having a tube of toothpaste ruin a new suit, this is a RULE for me, not a guideline.

    Another time saver I found is to use a men’s shaving tote, with a hook or loop, so it can be hung on the bathroom door or towel rack. Don’t unpack it, just use what you need, and put them back in the tote. When it’s time to go, you’re ready in seconds.

    1. Ex-Officio underwear is by far best for traveling. I have all three styles; 2 to 3 pairs and you can travel indefinitely. Just wash one pair in the shower or wash basin each night; wring out in a towel; hang up and they will be dry by morning.


  161. When I traveled last summer, the most important item on mind was sun protection. So I packed up lite, but took several hats, SPF shirts and pants. I even took a UV umbrella for added protection.

  162. Hi Tim,

    I saw your TED talk and there is some firm criticism about your blog post here and what you said on the TED talk about your fear for water. Much more is criticized, but let’s stick to this one.

    By the way, I am very enthousiastic about your book and your ideas. And I am looking for a way to implement it to myself in The Netherlands.

    But, I have to be honest: I’m a little confused by the critics. Please can you give me some response about that?

    Thanks in advance,



  163. I’m going to Europe for three and a half weeks and I’m only bringing 12 lbs. The full list is here,, but the idea is to pack thing I can wash in the sink and wear multiple times. In addition, it makes it easy to carry since all my stuff will be on my back the entire time. For future trips, Iceland Air will only allow you to have 13 lbs for any one carry on item if you are in coach.


  164. Longtime friend and fellow GTD devotee told me about your book today, so I thought I would check out the site while I waited for the book to get here. Love it, but it is difficult not to see your experience as an anomaly. While it doesn’t seem all that difficult for a young, attractive, single man to pull off, it isn’t something I see as a potential reality as the married breadwinner of the family with 3 kids under 5, which takes some of the fun out of it for me. I’m thrilled for you though. I know I will enjoy the book.

  165. If you tell any local you are “kama aina”, you better be willing to produce a Hawai’i drivers license. If you’re drunk and in Waikiki and try to pull this, don’t expect to /ever/ go back if you are caught.

    There’s a reason they give the locals a larger discount, and it isn’t to be a pain- step outside of Honolulu or Waikiki for more than three minutes, and you’ll know exactly why.

  166. Surfing web for deals on convertibles – first trip to LA/Vegas next week. Just knew you’d have a tip for me! All for BIT, travelled 3mths in Oz/Asia with about 6kg. Bandana useful accessory for blood/sweat/tears.Final stop in Darwin, fellow traveller helped themselves to everything from the washing line. Wasn’t bothered – came home even lighter, with a great excuse to buy new threads!

  167. Surfing web for deals on convertibles ahead of first trip to LA/Vegas next week – thanks for the tip! All for BIT, managed 3mths in Oz/Asia with 6kg. Bandana useful for blood/sweat/tears. Last stop in Darwin, everything I wasn’t wearing got taken from the washing line, so travelled home even lighter with a great excuse to buy new threads!

  168. Hey Tim, I just got back from 6 months of independent travel around central/eastern europe and SA. I got a lot of comments on how small my bag was. Here were my takeaways.

    This bag: Eagle creek Rincon 65L

    65L of well constructed awesomeness. More importantly, you can carry it on an airplane. The ‘daypack’ goes under the seats and the main bag goes in the overhead. It’s slightly larger than the boxes they have to check your stuff, but almost no one does anyway. If they stop you just tell them…it fits the correct way (umm…parallel to the normal vector of the overhead, sorry) in every plane I’ve ever been on except those really big international ones that have four seats in the middle row. In those you just have to put it in the other way.

    Bring a couple of carribeaners to hand stuff off of your bag

    Those recyclable grocery bags are nice if you want to bring food around with you.

    The flex lock like you recommended is great, as are those tiny TSA travel locks. The flex lock is important for locking the bag to yourself on sketchy buses so you can sleep a little better.

    Exofficio underwear IS awesome. Buy it.

    I picked up an HP DMZ1 laptop and it was a great purchase. $450, great specs, 95% size keyboard, etc. It’s really well designed and I am very pleased with it. Plus it’s tiny 11.6″

    A petzl headlight is absolutely crucial. I have one which also had a red LED on it which is really good for sleeping in dorm rooms at hostels because it doesn’t wake people up as much.

    The microfiber towel you recommend is great, though I hate the feel of it. Big fluffy towels are one of the things I miss most.

    REI makes great travel shirts and pants.

    Handsome, breathable shirts with UPF and secret pockets:

    And they make some nylon pants (Not convertible!) with additional zip up pockets near the sides.

    The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 is a great travel sized point and shoot that takes VERY impressive pictures (pretty much as good as a point and shoot gets) and is a great price. I bought mine years ago, they’re probably on a different model number by now. They’re popular.

    A pair of headphones is important if you’ve got a laptop.

    Bring a journal.

    Travel socks are nice, but buy a few extra pairs of regular ones there.

    You can carry on nail clippers and cartridge razor blades, but not a pocket knife. BUT you can buy pocket knives pretty damn cheaply when you land. I’ve even seen combo knife, spoon, fork, and bottle openers for about $5 in several countries.

    Bring good earplugs. Those Israeli silent ear were too pricey for me (I lose them) but the highest rated box of cheap earplugs on amazon are excellent and cheap. I brought a whole bunch.

    A kindle is a sweet way to fit 300+ books in your bag. Even better you can download tons of free books that are out of copywrite from sites like the gutenberg project.

    Platypus water bottles are awesome. The take up no space when empty.

    I brought a cheap quad-band GSM phone and just popped in local pay as you go sim cards if I felt I needed cell phone service (though usually I didn’t)

    A compass is really useful in cities when you get out of public transportation and are disoriented

    Carry photocopies of your important documents and scan some to evernote/dropbox

    Bring a sleeping mask

    Athletic tape and ziplock bags are awesome

    Carry purel

    You probably don’t need a guidebook

    And never, ever be without toilet paper.

  169. great website to check out is people take photos of what they take on trips. Great ideas on how to pack light, makes you realise what you can cut out from your bag.

    I live in Sydney, and often go home to the UK, and when i do i order new clothes online, have them delivered to my parent’s house so all i have to bring is a carry on bag. (Although today a friend who works for the aussie customs and immigration told me they are more likely to stop and question people with just carry on for security concerns).

  170. gday tim, i accidently picked up the audio book 4hww. love it…. i drive road trains in outback Australia for a living, and listen to audio books to keep me sane while i am driving. your book is inspiring and a definate for everyone who wants to live their life not just be a participant in it.

    where can i get the solar charger you use for charging the phone ect… my wife our 3 month old son and i are travelling to Taiwan in may for 6 months. your book is being devoured by helen so we can get the most out of our trip.

    i am looking up muses and ways to create a passive income so we can travel around the world. i am looking forward to becoming a vagabond.

  171. Hello tim,

    How about updating your packing to take into account new tech etc, also mention luggage etc?



  172. doesn’t everyone have a favorite bit of gear that they took a while to find and love to bits? I wish there was some sort of community to share these tips.

    mine are:

    Patagonia barely there Bikini underwear. Expensive but SO worth it- no more panties riding up. No more sweatiness.


    Chaco sandals. Seriously, flip flops are bad for your feet. You will be comfier and walk faster in chacos. no affiliation here, just love ’em.

  173. Hi Tim,

    Great tips Tim! Now, you can go even lighter especially with the camera! Did you see the latest Gopro hero 3 black edition? The size of this thing is about the size of a matchbox!

    These days, you can film the sharks while swimming with them. Go snorkeling, diving, boat trips and get AMAZING shots on film. Pretty AWESOME!


    Have FUN!

    Greetings from Czech Republic.

  174. Hi! I know this is somewhat off-topic however I had to ask.

    Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a large

    amount of work? I’m brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal every day. I’d like to start a

    blog so I can share my own experience and views online.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for

    new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  175. I am 72 years old and decided to fulfill part of my bucket list. I lived in Mexico city in 1963-64 and wish to visit againfor a few days before heading to Lima Peru to visit Machu Picu.Since I have not traveled light in 50 years I needed info on how to pack for this budget trip Thanks for the information.

    Health wise I can hack the trip; after touring with the Marines in the late 60 s

    this is no problem.I look foward to this journey as much as I do the destinations. Thanks again.

  176. There are plenty of ways how host with minimum cost while you’re traveling.. like wwoof, helpx or other volunteering, but this post gave my different perspective. Thank you.

  177. You might consider exchanging your mini-mag flashlight for any of the very light head mounted LED lights. They are fantastic for fee-hands activities & indispensable for writing, exiting a hotel with a power outage, or setting up sports gear in the dark.

    Cheers, Ed

  178. Without receiving calls, you can use your cellphone as an alarm; just put it in airplane mode and turn wifi off. This will also preserve the battery life.

  179. Good list! However if you switched your towel to the Extreme Ultralite (Discovery Trekking) it is 58″ x 34″ and weighs 6.2 oz. It doubles as a coverup, and also an airplane blanket.

  180. Fantastic packing list! I have always had troubles negotiating. That`s why my husband usually do it for me. I know that there are countries that it is a sign of bad attitude not to bargain for the price. Best regards!

  181. What suitcase do you use to put these items in? I’m trying to stay under 11 lbs total weight as specified by WOW airlines.

  182. Hello Andrea,

    Awesome packing list. Great list for the people who want to save some bucks during travel time. In my next trip, I’ll try to follow your suggested list.

  183. Hey Tim (and other readers),

    I noticed you had said that your updated laptop of choice for travel was a MacBook Air, and (if you are still using this laptop) I would be interested in knowing what type of laptop lock would work best with this? From what I’ve been able to find so far, it looks like the standard Kensington lock isn’t compatible with the MacBook Air, as it doesn’t have the security port to attach to.

    Is there any lock system I can attach without having to install a third party piece onto the laptop to lock into?

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice.


    – Cole

  184. Tim, what are the best shoes to wear to (Costa Rica) given your experience? If you had to pack just one pair etc.

  185. Hi Tim,

    Another very entertaining article. Love the idea of athletic tape in place of duct tape! I’ve never considered that. I typically pack both.

    You asked for other suggestions, so I have one for you. I always pack a buff. It’s a long fabric tube with tons of uses. It can be a hat, scarf, bandana, dust mask, bandage, etc. In hot climates, I wet it and put it around my neck to keep cool on hikes. I’ve used it on every adventure, so it’s a must in my pack.

    Keep up the good work!

    – MJ

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