Traveling can be hard.
Especially when it comes to packing. The very act of choosing a small selection of all the items we own and committing to using only those items while traveling can stir up enough anxiety to damper an entire trip. The stress doesn’t then come from having to choose a small selection, but rather lugging around a mass of clothing and other items because we felt compelled to bring our entire bedroom with us.
Packing minimally is something that I personally have been trying to master. I frequently travel between Connecticut and New York, and found myself struggling to effectively (and comfortably!) lug 8 outfits, my entire makeup collection, all of my toiletries, my workout gear, my laptop and books on a nearly 8 hour train or 6 hour bus ride. And this was only for a two day weekend! Looking forward, remembering that I will be traveling to London for two months this Summer, I knew I needed to put myself through a serious minimalist bootcamp for travelers.
Alex, of Travel Fashion Girl, provides advice for travelers going on long distance and long term trips. She gives readers a look into her bag for a 4 week trip that covers 2 continents. Her trip was a cruise, which can be certainly alter your packing. As Eagle Travel Hub noted in a past post, destination directly affects your suitcase.
Alex’s only luggage for the 4 week trip was her Travelon Heritage Backpack, which served as her carry-on and main luggage bag, and one more stylish but practical purse to use during the day. Alex keeps it simple, which eliminates the opportunity to overpack. When traveling between states, I began minimizing the actual space that I could fill with unnecessary stuff. I traded in my XL duffle bag for a small carry-on suitcase, which I plan on bringing to London with me. The compact size make traveling less painful but also challenges me to think critically about what personal items can and should fit in my single bag. I use my personal purse to store my electronics.
Another pro tip to save space when traveling overseas or long distance: Buy toiletries upon arrival, not before. I’ll be living in Brighton, which is about 1.5 hours outside of London, and where I am staying is not too far from a market where I can purchase shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and any other bathroom necessity. No need to take up space in my already minimized suitcase!
- Carry Less Stuff. A friendly reminder that what makes traveling memorable are the people and places, not the stuff you have. Downsize in order to make more room for memories should be motivation enough to take up a minimalist travel approach.
- Pack by what’s useful. Examine items by what is the most versatile and will be used the most.
- Optimize for comfort.
Comfort. An excellent final note to this post. There is always flexibility in minimalism, you don’t have to give up everything! If you’re deciding between packing your favorite sweatshirt that takes up a bit more space in your luggage and a more fashionable jacket, but you know you’re going to get significantly more use out of the sweatshirt…Pack the sweatshirt! Comfort and usability (numbers 2 and 3 on Clear’s list) go hand in hand.