Finding someone who says that they ‘don’t like travel’ will put any modern reader in a quandary. However, finding someone who says they ‘like to travel light’, and can actually live up to the challenge, can be just as hard!
Being a self-proclaimed minimalist, enlightened soul, and lover of all things un-complicated, I am probably the biggest fan alive of traveling light. But for those of you to whom packing less seems daunting, here are a few simple tips I use to travel without 17 suitcases (which saves space, time, style, and money spent on bag fees!)
Primarily, there are a few products that are absolute musts for me. My suitcase is a light blue carry on Samsonite that I could not live without. (Mine is an aspire x-lite and was about $40). Whether I am traveling for a day or a year, this case carries all that I need while staying sturdy and looking good in the process! Also, I-traveller 7-piece travel sets include laundry, toiletries, and clothing cubes that help the most scattered person stay organized (bought these on Amazon for just over $15)>
Quick Note: the above-featured images are the exact products I have, and can be found at a low price on Amazon, eBay, specific brand websites, or possibly elsewhere with a quick google search!
Other bags that are helpful to bring along on any big trip include a purse and backpack. I always travel with a North Face backpack and a small purse and bring my wallet. With all of these bags, I don’t take up too much space on the plane, but will still have proper carrying devices for any occasion (hiking, trains, cars, planes, leisurely strolling, the list goes on and on!) If you are going on a smaller and more planned trip, you can narrow down or broaden the bags you bring based on what you know you’re doing.
Moving on to more specific tips…
1. My first tip is to avoid repeats. For example, if you need a sweater, bring one. Bathing suit? Just one should do! Fancy outfit? One works! And so on.
Only for a specific beach and business trip would you need more than one type of outfit, and even then keep it minimal.
When I pack, I try to make sure to limit my colors and styles as well. I take simple clothing that can easily match, don’t bring excess items that are even remotely similar, and wear an outfit or item of clothing more than once. In fact, in Greece it is customary to wear outfits for days upon end until they must be washed- so follow that custom when you travel when possible!
I promise that limiting outfits and items of clothing that you bring can cut down your space and mental clutter by ten-fold, so next time you go on a trip, give it a try.
2. Make a list! In regards to chargers, money, toiletries, and bizarre, easily-forgettable items of clothing, making a list is the best process to follow. It may seem simple, or repetitive, but you would be surprised by how few people actually make a list before packing, and how helpful it is in figuring out what you really need, what you already have, and what you can leave at home!
3. Pack in advance.
Everyone varies on this one. Some pack mornings of or nights before flights (CRAZY) while some, I included, pack up to weeks before. Regardless of your schedule, at least thinking through what you need to bring ensures that you don’t forget too much, aren’t in a crazy rush and have the time to bring the products you need. Or, you could simplify it more, and pack a week or two before. Crazy? NO! Just…organized…
4. Plan for souvenirs! Whether you actually expect to buy them or not…
Leaving some space in your bag, especially if your bag is a bit smaller, guarantees that it won’t be bursting at the seams. What an easy trick!
5. Make a laundry plan.
If you are traveling for a long time, with few exceptions, it is easier to find a laundromat or stay at an apartment with machines built in than it is to carry extra weight.
Even if you don’t have access to laundry, consider hand washing and air drying your clothes, and think about how much you can wear.
This little trick will save you so much space!
6. And finally, pack small toiletries, and consider buying on spot.
First, for those of you with specific needs, outdoor trips, or short trips, bring small bottles of your toiletries. Pack in a carry on, meaning your toiletries must fit in a quart size bag. Cutting down in this way will not only save you space and weight but will simplify your morning and nighttime processes as you will have only taken what you absolutely need. Anyway, traveling is about the experience, not the luxury!
But, if you are going on a trip that is urbaner, or maybe longer, consider buying cheap products (eg. shampoo, toothpaste, conditioner) with you. This helps you stay low-maintenance, and simplifies the packing process so much. However, I prefer the first option, as buying in another state or country can feel uncomfortable and expensive.
I hope these travel tips have helped you out! As always, please reach out to me with any questions about anything- and I will write about what I can!
Thanks a million!
–The Enlightened Student