For places that I frequently visit (which isn’t many) it’s nice to have a stash of essentials waiting for me when I land. Usually, it isn’t much — just some clothes, basic toiletries, and maybe a book — but it allows me to travel without luggage.
Like a lot of people, I currently keep a stash of warm clothes at my parents house in Washington D.C. and typically just bring some underwear, a toothbrush, phone charger, and a spare outfit when I visit them.
Similarly, when I lived in Costa Rica and then later Madagascar, I had stashes of clothes and toiletries in each of their respective capitals. Since I was living in rural areas but visited the capitals often, it made sense to keep my “city clothes” in the city, rather than schlepping them back and forth — especially in Madagascar. Since I could only bring what would fit on my lap or between my legs in a cramped Malagasy bus seat, I preferred to use that space to bring back hard-to-find food (like bread and powdered milk), not clothes.
I never realized that what I was doing had a name: Travel caching.
Travel Caching: A Spin-off of Urban Caching
The concept of urban caching is perhaps best known among survivalists who want to prepare for such worst-case-scenarios as nuclear bombs, major natural disasters, and — obviously — zombies. Urban cachers will put boxes of survival items (e.g. food, knife, clothes, blanket) at strategic points between work/home and a safety point so that in the case of an emergency they can drop everything and go.
I personally hadn’t heard of it until a friend brought up a blog post by Tim Ferriss about packing light. He had repurposed the idea, named it travel caching, and now uses it as a way to avoid carrying luggage to places he visits frequently. Similar to urban caching, travel caching is the practice of stashing a bag or trunk of items in a place you visit frequently so that you can travel without luggage every time you visit.
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