When traveling I often take a before photo of the items I’m bringing. Once I return home I take a photo of any items that I did not use. I compare the two to help me the next time I travel. It’s really rare that I forget any key items, but even with planning and being creative to travel light, I’ve often got unused items.
My present trip is three months of walking in France and Spain with just a backpack. See my pack list here. Because the trip is so long and “every ounce counts”, I emptied my backpack at one week into walking to see if I had any items I had not used. I then considered what’s ahead to determine if any items can be removed.
Gray tank top (might come in handy for sleeping when hot), gray bandana (backup for pink one I’m using daily), wool buff (used the next day when it snowed nearby), gloves (used in the Aubrac with temps near 40 and breezes), sunglasses (left behind), clip on sunglasses for prescription glasses (agreed to try them out more to see if I like them), deodorant (I brought 2, got rid of one), belt (I’ll likely need it), homeopathic med for aches and injuries (put in my purse, where it’s more likely to be used), insense matches (put in purse for use in bathroom as needed), headband (might cut my hair, so keeping), wine opener (so light it’s okay to keep and see if used), windbreaker (might use later), leukotape (cut in half and left some behind), toe splint for blisters (keeping), eyeliner (keeping for now).
Expensive items can be shipped home or forward on a long trip. Inexpensive items can be donated for others to use or tossed. Some gites and albergues have a donation shelf!
And here are items I’ve purchased.
- Shampoo as the Dr. Bronner’s soap was leaving my hair greasy. It doubles as body wash and clothes wash too.
- Anti-friction cream for blisters I’m dealing with as it’s great. You can buy in France or Spain at any pharmacy.
I’ll likely do another spot check in 1-2 weeks to make sure I’m not carting items I’m not using up the steep hills on my Le Puy Camino. Good news is most items are being used. I’ll report out on favorites when I get home.