For travel enthusiasts, packing can easily become a burden if not done right. People in general have a tendency to overpack, we call it the “Just in case” syndrome.
What does it entail? Well, for starters, packing a bunch of stuff you don’t really need, that end up filling up all of your precious suitcase space for nothing, adding unnecessary weight onto your shoulders, while also causing you to get charged some extra fees.
Packing lightly will not only spare you the trouble of carrying heavy luggage and ending up only using half the stuff you’ve packed, but it will also allow you to travel more efficiently and constantly have your stuff with you for when you want to go camping for example.
Before you pack something, ask yourself these three questions that will help you determine whether or not you absolutely need it:
- Is it absolutely essential?
- Is it lightweight?
- Does it serve more than one function?
If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you can pack the item and proceed likewise with the rest of the “candidates”.
Now, when it comes to packing, many beginner travelers ignore the power of an invention – one that is popular amongst experienced travelers – that makes packing a tad easier.
Curious to know what it is? *drum rolls* It’s Packing Cubes! What does it do? It organizes your stuff by categories, making it easier to find a specific item you’re looking for.
It also helps minimize the time you spend on packing and unpacking, which is completed simply by pulling out your packing cubes and putting them on a shelf or in a drawer.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of every traveler’s essentials, from clothing to makeup, to help you master the art of light packing. Of course, these items can vary from person to person, but the idea and main purpose of this guide is to not have a single item in your suitcase or backpack that you won’t use.
Let’s start with clothing:
For clothing items, it’s preferable to use a double sided clean / dirty packing cube.
You will need the following:
- A handful of thin tops for layering, this might include tank tops, short sleeved t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirts, a cozy sweater, hoodie or fleece if you’re traveling somewhere cold.
- Light sleep clothes (a tank top and a pair of shorts will do)
- A skirt, romper or a travel dress to wear for a night out or days where you just want to explore the city and feel cute.
- A pair of shorts if the weather allows
- A swimsuit if you’re planning some time by the pool or at the beach, you might want to consider a bikini with a top that can double as a bra.
- A handful of quick dry underwear, this includes: a couple bras and a week’s worth of panties,
- 3 pairs of socks (wash them regularly for reuse)
This is pretty much everything you’re going to need when it comes to clothing!
For shoes and outerwear, you will need:
- 2 pairs of shoes will be enough, 1 pair of sneakers or boots, depending on what climate you’ll be spending your time in, and 1 pair of open-toed shoes or sandals.
- As for the outerwear, go with a down jacket or a windbreaker, the latter can pack up small, but both are great travel buddies.
For Toiletries, you will need:
- The Must: Sunscreen. It’s important to protect your skin from sunburns and skin problems you don’t need.
- Face cleanser, opt for an oil-based one so it can also serve the purpose of the moisturizer.
- Chapstick, preferably one with SPF.
- 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner
- Mini loofah
- Mini hairbrush
- Toothbrush and mini toothpaste
- Pack towel: very useful for minimalist packing
- Razor if need be
Don’t forget to pack some medication as well, painkillers and aspirin for the unfortunate times you fall sick.
Now to the Makeup:
Don’t overpack when it comes to makeup, you won’t even have the time to glam up like you would in the comfort of you home. Pare down to your three most used items: lipstick, eyeliner or mascara and concealer or BB cream, and you would be good to go.
Choosing the perfect bag for minimalist packing
- The Setout Divide Backpack: it’s an expandable carry on for short trips, perfect for minimalist packers. Compact, with enough packing space for the essentials. The Setout Divide is just the right size, whether you’re packing light for a weekend or a week. You can expand the backpack from 26L to 34L for extra packing space when you need it. It has a two-compartment layout to separate your clean clothes from dirty (or large pieces from small for example) to stay organized throughout your journey.
- The Setout Laptop Backpack: It’s perfect for anyone going on a short trip and looking for a backpack that is well designed and handles electronics well. There are different options to choose from, if you are a hiker or camper, or want to go on longer trips.
- The Outbreaker Daypack: You can pack it flat in your carry on for one travel bag. When you arrive at your destination, you can carry the daypack for any day of adventure: from sightseeing to working remotely from a cafe to exploring a new city on a drizzly day. It’s also impermeable, meaning no extra rain protection is required.
So, there you have it – your complete guide to minimalist packing. You no longer have to worry about overpacking if you follow our advice. Enjoy your packing!
Tucker is a minimalism enthusiast, he writes about everything related to minimalism on his blog. From home design to minimalist fashion choices.
you can read more of his articles on minimalismislife.com