We all know the feeling. You are standing in front of your closet, packed and ready to go on a trip to somewhere new but you can't seem to find anything to wear. Packing for a trip is always an exciting task, but it can be stressful too. Especially when it's more than just one night or two-day stay that we're talking about! The last thing you want is to feel like you have too much stuff weighing down your bag or making packing difficult because there isn't enough room for everything. Minimalist travelers don't have this problem, so let's explore 8 tips for packing light and traveling comfortably with less luggage and more experiences!
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Minimalist Traveling Tips
When you're traveling on a budget or trying to cut down on luggage, it's important to plan ahead and pack wisely. The minimalist approach is far different than the way many of us go about packing for trips we take with our families or friends. When minimalists travel, they only bring what are needed items (many serve multiple purposes) so as not to have an over-packed bag full of useless junk! On to our minimalist traveling tips!
Tip # 1: Pack light
Pack a few outfits that you can mix and match. This way, you don't have to worry about bringing multiple pairs of shoes or similar clothes (unless you decide on packing them). The same goes for underwear and socks– pack enough but not too many so they take up less space in your bag.
For example, I recently went on a 5 day trip and only needed my carry on size suitcase and a backpack. I made sure to have a handful of outfits I could mix and match, my sneakers and a pair of sandals. I was able to dress for the weather and was comfortable throughout the trip, without having to lug around extra luggage.
If you are staying somewhere with a hotel, see if there's an in-room or nearby laundry service. Even budget accommodations might have this option! This can be especially helpful for backpacking trips where you don't want to carry the burden of heavy clothes around all day– just drop them off at the hotel and they'll be washed in the morning!
Tip #2: Forego the toiletries
For toiletries, think about what you really need to be comfortable in your destination and pack just the essentials without taking up too much space with things like deodorant or shampoo that can't be found at where you're going. Plus, if it's a short trip (less than a week), it's probably not worth bringing your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
If you're staying in a hotel, toiletries are typically available and you can always ask the front desk for more. If you're camping or backpacking, consider a 3-in-1 body wash/shampoo/conditioner.
If you're set on having your own available, there are lots of great, small container options to take them with you. Remember, if flying, you are limited in the size of containers. I really like these collapsible containers because you can squeeze every drop out!
Tip #3: Stick to carry-ons when flying
Leave behind anything that you can't carry on the plane with you to avoid paying for baggage fees at check-in or waiting in long lines so they can be checked. This includes large electronics, shoes, and anything else you might not use while on your trip.
Most airlines allow one carry on and one bag that you keep with you before you have to check baggage. Make sure your carry on will fit their measurements and put the items you'll need in flight or right away after getting off the plane in your bag to keep with you.
Tip #4: Watch the weight
Keep the weight of any items that you do pack in mind and try to bring things like jackets, shoes, or other bulky clothing as close to your carry-on limit as possible (the airline's are different so make sure to check).
If you're only taking a jacket or sweatshirt for the possibility of chilly nights, you may consider only taking one. I do always pack a sweatshirt for the just in case. Other than that, unless the weather is going to be really cold, I leave the rest and my coats home.
Tip #5: Have a small pouch or bag for valuables
Bring a small bag with you for any valuables so you can keep them all together in your carryon. This might include things like jewelry, medicine, passports, etc., and it's a good idea to have some cash on hand for emergencies or for last-minute purchases.
I usually have a small bag with my phone, wallet and other valuables so I don't leave them behind at the airport. Don't forget about your phone or smart watch charger, either!
Tip #6: Pack the right bag!
If flying, you want something that is lightweight and easy to carry so you don't break your back in transit. It should also be able to fit everything you need inside and have a sturdy strap so you can wear it on your back or over one shoulder. A backpack like this is a great choice. You can fit quite a bit in it and keep it with you, if you're flying. It's even got a great TSA friendly laptop spot, if needed, a RFID theft pocket and even a cooler portion.
If driving, you want something that is easy to maneuver, like this suitcase with spinner wheels. Easy to load and unload, move through parking lots and in hallways. Two handles, one on top and one on the side, make it easy to lift it onto the suitcase stand in a hotel or in and out of your vehicle. Minimalist traveling makes packing your vehicle so much easier, too!
Tip #7: Stay in one place for longer than 3 days
Explore the area around where you're staying rather than constantly moving from place to place. You can find some very unique sights if you explore around the area and look for things that might be off-the-beaten path or new to you. It is also a great way to see if there are any cool local places that you would like to revisit.
I usually stay in one area for as long as possible, exploring the sights around my hotel (or Airbnb) and looking for things I wouldn't have found on other trips when traveling. This last trip, I learned the local car clubs got together every Saturday night on the main street. This was right up our alley, since we're gearheads in my family. So, that was added to our itinerary. I also added a few local attractions to the list for our next visit to the area.
Tip #8: Use your smartphone camera
Take photos of everything so that they can be memories later on instead of items with sentimental value that can't be taken home. Minimalists focus on value and experiences over material things. You can digitally document your trips without taking up space with souvenirs!
The photos you take can be the most memorable parts of your trips. They're a perfect way to remember being with friends, exploring new places and taking in life's moments. You can organize your photos digitally, in trip files, so you can look back at them or you can always print them out to put in trip photo albums.
Ready, Set, Travel!
For those who are looking to travel in a more minimalist way, there are 8 tips that you can take into consideration. The most important tip is to pack light and forego the toiletries. When traveling by plane, stick with carry-ons for your luggage rather than checking bags or using checked baggage as well. Watching how much weight you have on board will help cut down on costs, too, so keep an eye out for this when packing your bag! You should also make sure you’re bringing the right type of bag and stay put longer than 3 days in one location if possible! Finally, use your smartphone camera instead of carrying around heavy cameras–it's lighter and easier to upload pictures online from it!
Have any other suggestions for minimalist traveling? Share them below!