Larry Swingen

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We are Larry and Barb Swingen from Malta, Mont. I teach vocal music, and Barb teaches kindergarten in the public schools. We have loved to travel since starting with our kids early on during our summer vacations. When they were young, we would load up the minivan with the tent and gradually go for longer and longer summer road trips. Eventually, we had visited each of the 48 contiguous states in America and were traveling for as much as two months for a trip. Each summer, we would hone our skills of packing so that we had what we needed and wanted (within reason) but left as much other stuff at home. We found ourselves practicing our packing on an annual time frame, just as I would practice piano and voice myself and with my students daily.

Now that our kids are adults, we have started to travel overseas (without them!) and find ourselves continuing to hone our skills of frugal packing. Barb is the organizer in the family and loves thinking things through, preplanning, and then planning for our travels. We are finding more and more that we need less and less as we travel. Our souvenir choices have adapted as we've practiced, from objects to consumables, and now mainly to photos, which, besides being compact and easy to carry, bring great memories of our travel encounters.

We love teaching; we both feel strongly about being lifelong learners ourselves. We find that we carefully think through what to bring on our travels based on the reasons we have carefully come up with to travel. Traveling light lets us meet our goals to be with people in their own cultures.

Thanks, Budget Travel for this opportunity to share our packing style.

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