Traveling Light: When It Comes To Packing: Less is More

Even minimalists love to travel. In fact, striking out in search of new and enriching experiences is a common thread among many minimalist practitioners. What does vary, however, is how we pack for the trip! 

Traveling as a minimalist can range from packing light to going sans luggage altogether. What works best for you? Well, it likely depends on where you’re going and what you plan on doing.

What’s Your Travel Mindset?

Traveling light starts with a mindset. Where are you going? What are you doing? And, perhaps most importantly, how much do you really need? It’s important, with packing as with life, to separate the “I want” from the “I need.”

If you plan on attending fancy dinners every night of your trip, you’ll want to pack that dinner jacket or a few dresses. If this isn’t on the menu, these items can be left at home. If you plan on spending the bulk of your time lazing around at the beach, ask yourself how much do you really need to pack in order to enjoy that?

We all have a tendency to overpack. After all, we might need something! When it comes to some items, it may be better to have it than not need it; but this doesn’t need to extend to five pairs of shoes and three backup toothbrushes. 

Consider your trip, your plans, and your activities. And realize that less is often more.

Do You Need Any Luggage At All?

Some travelers can get by with a small carry-on bag containing a change of clothes and a few essential items such as health and hygiene products. Of course, it all depends on where you’re going and what you plan on doing. However, a helpful way to tell what you may or may not need is to make a list.

  • What did you bring on your last trip? How much of it did you use and what was never unpacked?
  • What activities will you be doing? If you know you’re doing swimming, make sure you pack a bathing suit. If you’re not, don’t bring it! 
  • Is there anything you normally might pack that you don’t really need? For example, if you’re only going away for a couple days, do you need to bring your own shampoos, conditioners, etc? Or will the items provided at your hotel be fine for a few days?
  • Are there smaller versions of these items which might work better and take up less space? For example, a travel-sized bottle of something as opposed to a full-sized bottle.
  • How many different types of shoes do you need? Do you even need to pack shoes? For many of us, shoes take up a ton of space in our luggage. However, do we really need three different options on vacation? Or will the pair we wear to travel cover us?

And of course, you must pack the essentials. Feel free to make an additional list.

  • Wallet/purse
  • Passport/ID
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Essential health or hygiene items

You will find with a little thought and planning ahead, the above items and a change of clothes are really all you may need to take for a short trip. Of course, any longer and you’ll want to bring a few more clothing items as well. However, when it comes down to it, you’ve probably been overpacking all this time! 

What To Pack?

Now that you’ve got a few tips to consider, it’s time to pack! So, what to pack? Again, it depends greatly on what you’re doing and where you’re going as well as how long you’ll be away. However, as a basic guide, consider the following plan:

  • Wallet/ID/Passport
  • Two pairs of pants
  • Two shirts
  • Three pairs of underwear
  • Two pairs of socks
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Jacket (if needed)
  • Essential health and hygiene items
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste (if needed)

Some of these items, such as a jacket, you may be wearing to travel which means you don’t have to pack it! Any specialty items such as a bathing suit should be included as well. Other than that, you may find that the above list is all you truly need for a lowkey, lightly packed trip without the hassle or fuss!