Posted in Family, Travel

Travelling Light, Laura’s Way

A post about our latest trip in our camper van Debbie and her husband on their walk in Wales

 

Over a decade after buying our first camper van, I like to think we’ve mastered the art of travelling light. We’ve acquired all sorts of tips and tricks that I’m compiling into a little book, along with some anecdotes about our adventures, to be called Travels With My Camper Van. (I’m a bit of a one for obvious book titles, me.)

One of my top tips is not to pack bags at all. You can load some stuff straight into the cupboards before you set off – food, toiletries, books, games. Clothes can be easily transferred on their hangers from your wardrobe at home to the van’s slim wardrobe. Non-hanging items, such as pyjamas and underwear, are best stashed into cheap Ikea laundry baskets – one per person, plus a spare. During our travels, we gradually transfer clothes, as we use them, from the clean baskets to the laundry one – and that gets unpacked straight into the utility room on our return home. Laura crossing a stile

 

Or so the theory goes. We have had a few hiccups along the way. For example, we once carefully packed a weekend basket for the three of us and didn’t realise till we reached our destination, Ross-on-Wye, that we’d left the basked tidily on the bed at home. Fortunately Ross-on-Wye is well equipped with cheap clothes shops and charity shops, so we bought what we needed to remain clothed and hygienic until we returned home. (We always manage to boost the local economy wherever we go.)

Earlier this week, as it’s the half-term holiday (which means a week off school in this country), we were packing for three days and four nights away to walk the next stage of the Offa’s Dyke Path. That’s an ancient and historic footpath that traverses Wales. We’ve done about half of it so far. Laura had turned 11 a few days before, and in her enthusiasm to embark on this trip had packed her own basket before I had to ask her. This ability, like her new-found enthusiasm for making a cup of tea, is a welcome bonus of growing up.

Laura and Gordon on the path ahead

 

Only when I took out her basket on the first day of the holiday did I realise my confidence in her efficiency had been misplaced. She had packed precisely one pair of leggings, one t-shirt and a party dress. She was clearly expecting this walking holiday to be more fun than we were. Her constant companion, Heather the rabbit, who serves as ventriloquist’s dummy rather than cuddly toy these days, had packed her roller skates. WP_20140527_001

 

Still, I could hardly take either of them to task for bad packing: I had only one walking boot. Fortunately I wear the same size shoes as my husband, and he never travels with fewer than three pairs. Half term May 2014 Offa's Dyke Path - Copy

 

As he’d be the first to remind me, travelling light is all very well, but it’s possible to go too far.

Still, a good time was had by all – and the fact that we’d packed so little made the task of unpacking afterwards even less irksome. Like mother, like daughter – ever the optimists.

sheep in the fields

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like this one about Laura’s earlier packing triumph: How to Pack for the Summer Holidays

And this one about my husband’s attitude to packing for a scientific field study course: Travelling Light

Plus another cautionary tale for travellers – be careful who you sit next to on the plane: Flight of Fancy

Author:

Optimistic author, blogger, journalist, book reviewer and public speaker whose life revolves around books. Her first love is writing fiction, including the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels (out 2017), short stories and essays inspired by her life in an English village. She also writes how-to books for authors and books about living with Type 1 diabetes. She is Author Advice Centre Editor and and UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Advice Centre blog, an ambassador for the children's reading charity Readathon, and an official speaker for the diabetes research charity JDRF.

10 thoughts on “Travelling Light, Laura’s Way

  1. I don’t bother too much about travelling light. My husband takes several cases of camera gear on every trip, so the odd extra item of clothing I pack doesn’t really make any difference.

  2. Lovely story Debbie – reminds me of the first time my son told me he’d packed his case for our summer holiday, which surprised me as he was only 8 but being independently minded I left him to it. Fortunately I checked the day before we set off only to find his case housed his soft toy monkey and a snorkel!

    1. Thanks, Helena. The scenery is so gorgeous there it would be hard not to take lovely pics! I know nothing about photography – as evidenced by the fact that I don’t even own a camera, taking all my pictures on my smartphone – but it seems to me that the overcast sky and damp air added intensity to the colours and effectiveness of these shots. I could have taken many more but would have got left behind!!

      1. Well they came out well. I take all my pics on my phone (iPhone) and am usually happy with them.
        Trust me the overcast sky and damp air can lose it’s romantic allure over time .but today is beautiful and a clear blue sky and empty (ish) beach beckon…

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