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Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeTrip DirectoryIraq HomecomingWhat to Pack: Take 1/4 of the Clothes, 1/2 the Money

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.

a blue and grey backpack



  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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