Packing books for my vacation is honestly SO DIFFICULT. How am I meant to know what I want to read for the next month? I can’t even stick to a weekly TBR. *sigh* Life is just too hard sometimes. (I’m totally kidding.) But it’s a real problem that a lot of people face when packing for trips, whether that be a short getaway or months abroad!
I’m an over-packer at the best of times, and that definitely extends to my books. When I went to New Zealand for two weeks, I took 12 physical books. When I was coming home from China, I literally shoved two books in the waistband of my trackies and two under my shirt so I wasn’t over the luggage limit. SO YEAH. I miiiiight have a little bit of a packing problem when it comes to books.
Although, over the years I have discovered some methods to make sure I don’t run out of books to read while I’m abroad. It definitely helps that ebooks and audiobooks are a lot easier to get hold of than even five years ago. But I’ll be talking a bit about that later! So without further ado, here are five different methods I use to make sure I pack enough books for my vacation.
Ebooks are the obvious choice, right? It’s so handy being able to store a library of books on your phone. I don’t have a Kindle though, so I don’t like to read on my phone for long periods of time. That being said, I do love reading when I’m waiting for public transport or eating meals on holiday. I don’t always have enough room in my backpack to take a book out with me, so having a few ebooks loaded onto my phone is always comforting! I always stock up on ebooks when they go on sale so I’ll never run out. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Reading physical copies on holiday is one of the most relaxing things in the world. Just sitting in a cafe in the morning while flipping through a book you’re enjoying, or lying in a park in the sunshine, is my ideal vacation. But if you’re anything like me, if you were to pack enough physical copies to read while you’re away, you’d have no room for LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE in your bag. My recommendation is to usually take three books that I’m keen to read, and then one other book (which I’ll get to in a moment). That way you can swap between reading physical copies and reading ebooks!
YEP, ANOTHER PHYSICAL COPY. But the difference is, this one is thick. Like, A Song of Ice and Fire or A Little Life thick. You know why? Because if you get through the first three books that you wanted to read and you don’t feel like reading any more ebooks, you have a tome to settle down with for at least a week. Just knowing I have a backup book in my suitcase is oddly comforting? I’M TOTALLY NORMAL. But this is definitely a strategy I recommend.
Like ebooks, it’s super convenient to download a stack onto your phone before you leave for your trip. I love listening to audiobooks, so I generally try to save up a few Audible credits so I can listen to some new books while I’m away. Otherwise your local library should have an ebook and audiobook borrowing system if you don’t have a paid subscription service! One of my favourite things to do on holiday is walk around a new city listening to my audiobook. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will always remember me of Croatia because I devoured it in a couple of days as I caught a bus across the country and then spent a day wandering around a small village listening to it. IT WAS AMAZING.
Buy Some Abroad
It’s difficult to find English editions in some countries, but there should be specialist bookstores if you look hard enough! Finding bookstores is always a bonus for me, but it becomes a top priority when an anticipated book is being released while I’m away. When I was in India, I dragged my friend across the city to find a copy of Queen of Air and Darkness. AND IT WAS WORTH IT. I did also buy another four books and my luggage may have been a tad over the limit, BUT I REGRET NOTHING. Books also make a really cool souvenir if you find a copy that’s not available in your country!
What are your top tips for taking enough books away with you? Have you ever found cool editions overseas? Do you prefer ebooks or physical books when you’re travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(P.S. Hello from Spain!)