Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

September 6, 2017

Sophia Hsin is a lifestyle, travel, and portrait photographer based in Vancouver, BC. Her work is characterized by her innate affinity for visual storytelling with the intention of making a difference in the world—whether bringing joy to viewers or documenting the work of organizations like World Vision and Children Arise. Born in Taiwan and raised in both Canada and China, Hsin is a seasoned professional when it comes to travelling. Here, she shares what she's learned about packing from her trips around the world.


Five Tips for Travelling Light

Story & Photography by Sophia Hsin
Luggage: Silver Kozmos in small size

I have found in all my travels that I have never regretted packing light. There is a certain joy in knowing you have everything you need—or perhaps less than you think you need—on arrival at your destination ready for adventure and wonder.

Here are five tips for travelling light—for short trips, long trips, backpacking trips or trips with a furry friend.

Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

1. Do your research

Head to the library and get a travel guide, learn the customs, get your shots, reach out to make a local friend, plan for all sorts of weather and plan for surprise.

Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

2. Simplify your outfits

I stand by the belief that a monochrome wardrobe is the way to go. Throw in a few pairs of jeans and choose pieces with textiles that breathe and dry well. Figure out the balance between casual and professional. A few things I never travel without: basic white shirts, running shoes, comfy yet professional pants (even better with pockets) and—if necessary—a dress for special occasions.

Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

3. Skip the essentials

There is a tendency to pack everything you can imagine for unexpected situations on the road. I have found that extra battery packs, Q tips, toiletries or vitamins tend to weigh me down on the trip and return home unused.

Surprisingly, in most countries (especially Asia)—you are always able to find daily necessities, toiletries and medication that meet your needs. India has pharmacies with selections that are second to none and able to treat any kind of ailment, though I advise bringing a local friend to help you with labels that get lost in translation. Save on your travel budget, luggage space and purchase what you can on location.

4 . Pack within a pack

I have found that separating the contents of my suitcase into individual packs helps with space and organization. There’s lots of great garment cases or packing cubes out there that you can use to organize all your worldly treasures.

Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

5. Leave space for wonder

It is a wonderful feeling knowing you have space in your luggage for gifts and souvenirs—be it the Mexican dog sculpture you find at a market in Bali, an antique sculpture in Bangladesh or simply space to store your experiences and all the wisdom of the world.

Go somewhere, be a tourist in your own city, take off to come home again and don’t forget to travel light.

Five Tips for Travelling Light by Sophia Hsin

Photos of Sophia by Alisha Weng
Written by Sophia Hsin
Subedited by Megan Jenkins