The Minimalist Summer Packing List
The vacationing months are coming, a time to take a break and enjoy exploring a new place. I love pretty much all aspects of going on holiday; however, packing for a trip is somewhere very low on the list. Something about having to pack your whole life for 2 weeks into a small bag is a tad stressful, and I have been known to overpack massively. The past two years I have made it a point to pack in a more minimalist manner, to only take with me the essentials that I really need.
There are several benefits to packing light. Firstly, if you’re going to be travelling on a budget airline like Easyjet or Ryanair, having only a small carry-on bag with you will save you money. Bringing a minimal amount of stuff with you makes moving around easier in general; you won’t have to struggle with heavy bags while trying to run for the bus or trekking across town to your accommodation. And lastly, travelling in a minimalist way feels lighter. Not just physically, but also mentally. You don’t need a lot to go on adventures and explore new places, and thus packing light gives you much more freedom. Becoming more of a minimalist traveller has inspired me to become more minimalist in other aspects of my life.
Living in a minimal manner for two weeks is a great trial run for when you get home.
In this post I’m going to be sharing some tips on what you should pack for a minimalist travelling adventure. Of course, each trip is unique, so look at this list as a guideline.
Let’s start with the bag. Personally, I like travelling with a small backpack. It’s the easiest type of luggage to travel around with and you can fit a surprising amount of essentials in a small pack. I use a 25L Herschel backpack for trips under 2 weeks, which fits all my necessities comfortably and is still nice and compact. If I’m going on a longer trip, such as a multi-month one, I will take a slightly larger backpack, one that is 50L. I find that to be plenty of space for longer trips!
One lifesaver that has really helped me organise my baggage and keep everything compact are packing cubes. You can get these in a bunch of varieties, and they’re pretty cheap. I love them because I can give everything it’s own place, even in a small backpack. Plus, they make it super easy to pack and unpack throughout your trip.
Now let’s talk about what to actually put into the bag. Clothing is one of the main things to pack on any trip, and for me, it was one of the hardest things to minimise when I started to pack lighter. I still catch myself sometimes thinking: “What about if it rains? Or if I get muddy? I have to take these 4 extra t-shirts just in case!”. But trust me on this; you really don’t need many pieces when travelling. My standard rule is to travel mainly with the basics that can be mixed and matched. So for example, a pair of blue jeans and a pair of black leggings, along with three different coloured tops, already brings you to six days of outfits. Keeping in mind that you can definitely outfit repeat on holiday, and you’re quickly on to a few more days worth of clothes. Bringing along a slimming dress is very multifunctional, as you can pair it with a top or sweater or with another skirt to create different outfits. This video has great examples on how to style one dress in multiple ways.
Along with the essentials, I like to bring one ‘nice’ piece, usually a dress, as well as some form of jacket or hoodie. I always bring with me a compact rain parka as well as a scarf, which is great to dress up an outfit as well as to cover up when needed. Each trip is different of course, and you will need to pack some additional clothing items depending on where you’re going. A bathing suit if you’re heading to the beach, a set of workout clothes if you’re going hiking, a proper jumper if you’re headed somewhere colder. Just keep in mind that no matter where you are in the world, you can wash your clothes, and so if you are going on a longer trip, don’t feel like you need to take extra clothing. Simply wash them when needed!
Shoes & Accessories
It can be very easy to overpack on shoes, which is why I have a strict rule: only one pair of shoes, plus some flip flops. I always wear a pair of shoes that is comfortable as well as practical, usually a pair of trainers. I walk a lot when travelling, so trainers keep my feet comfortable at all times. I’m always wearing these shoes, so they don’t take up space in my backpack. I also always bring a pair of black flip flops. They are great to wear on the beach, if you’re running a quick errand, and they look pretty nice paired with a dress too. Plus, if you’re staying in hostels, flip flops are an absolute must.
As for accessories, the only things I really take with me are two pieces of jewellery that I wear daily (and so pretty much always have on me), and a day bag. Depending on the trip, I will either take my camera case and use that as a day bag, or take a simple tote with me (take a look at the ones we offer!).
I used to take so many toiletries with me on holiday, it would take up so much space. Plus I would end up only using half of the stuff I brought. I urge you to only bring the essentials: toothbrush and toothpaste, sunscreen, a general face/body cream, some 2-in-1 body and hair wash, and some conditioner if you use it normally. I have used solid conditioner in the past, as it takes up much less space. 2-in-1 body and hair wash has been a lifesaver, as it works perfectly and saves you bringing an extra bottle of something (ladies, you can find this stuff in the men’s isle in the drugstore!). Alternatively, you can use an all-purpose soap like Dr. Bronner’s, which can be used not only on your body but also to wash clothes.
The Other Stuff
Lastly, let’s talk about ‘the other stuff’. I’m talking about the things we all like to bring on vacations, such as a photo camera, chargers, books, notebooks etc. Take these things, but also be realistic in what you are actually going to use. If you like reading on holiday, only take one book with you. You can always find somewhere to exchange books, or buy some in a second hand store. As for chargers, I suggest investing in a travel adapter with USB ports; it saves you having to bring multiple charging heads and can be used worldwide. Also remember to always leave a little bit of space in your pack for a small souvenir!
Travelling as a minimalist is great in so many ways, and with a little practice, it is very easy to do. Trying packing more minimally for each trip you go on, until you get to a point where you are getting proper use out of all the items you are bringing, and you don’t feel like you are overpacking anymore. It will make your travels more comfortable, and you will feel a whole lot lighter on your adventures.
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