What to Pack: Take 1/4 of the Clothes, 1/2 the Money


“Pack 1/2 the clothes, twice the money,” Lee Abbamonte once said (see What to Pack: “Take 1/2 the Clothes, Twice the Money”). After years on the road, I have revised that and am now cutting both in half. Regarding luggage: thanks to embracing my Arabic musk, I have cut my luggage substantially. I am proud to say that on this trip my roller weighed 7lbs and my backpack weighed 4lbs. Regarding money, I am making a more conscientious effort to use points where possible. $100 per night for a hotel and $150 for regional flights add up quickly when I’m going for three weeks at a time. Similarly, I hope that my frugality leads to healthier choices leading to fewer dollars spent (see A Holiday of Healthy, Tipsy, on Budget: Basically Impossible).

Here is my limited packing list:



  • Blackberry + charger + cord (for blogging on the go)
  • Samsung + charger + cord
  • Laptop + case‎ + charger + mouse + case
  • Garmin + charger
  • Wireless headphones + case
  • Wired headphones (for airplanes)
  • External charger + 1 short USB cord
  • Wonderboom
  • Adapter



  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Aleve
  • Nexium
  • Deodorant

The rest I buy along the way as souvenirs for which I have plenty of room in my spillover bag.

TPOL’s Tip: If traveling for short trips e.g., three days, do not make the mistake of packing more because you want options. Stick to this list.


  1. Solid advice on not needing as much clothes. I overpack for 1 day trips, but for a weeklong I can still survive with the same carryon. I would also do a color copy of the passport. Disagree on the book’s premise of half the cash. I tend to take a few thousand in cash and wear a watch in case of emergencies and you need cash or sell a watch.

    • They can’t have my Garmin. And I’ve never been shaken down for cash. One time, the ATM trick was almost pulled on me but I got out of that one.

  2. Good list, but two changes make this better. Instead of lots of underwear and socks, I use Patagonia Capilene for travel and then bring Soak no-rinse clothing soap and a small flexible braided silicone clothes line. Capilene fabric doesn’t get stinky and is easy to wash and quick drying. So then I just need 2 (or 3) pairs of underwear and socks (merino wool for quick dry and non-stinky). I can also wash other clothes when needed (usually just my merino wool travel t-shirts but also my non-cotton travel pants). Soak won’t clean as well as my washer but it’s good enough, especially with wool or Capilene that have anti-stinky qualities)

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