On my recent 7 day trip to Belize, I managed to squeeze my small pineapple backpack FULL of things I thought I would need or want while I was away. After a few days of carrying this heavy backpack with me, I quickly realized just how wrong I was.
Minimalism is essentially letting go of unused items in your life (AKA getting rid of all your junk). It is the ability to live simply with the items you only really need and use.
This is a lovely approach when it comes to budget travel and most importantly packing for those travels. Who wants to pay for a checked bag anyways?
Let’s start with clothes, shall we?
Oh, the bane of my existence. I am super guilty of buying cheap impulse clothing and ending up with a closet of clothes that don’t fit well, or that I’ve never touched.
When your packing it’s good to think about outfits that you actually WANT to wear on your trip. Pick clothes that are seasonally/weather appropriate that you look and feel good in. You don’t want your high school sweater in your vacation photos, but you also don’t want to be uncomfortable.
For girls rompers and dresses are your best friend! It’s a top and bottom all in one!. For men, choose pants or shorts that you can wear more than once, not all clothing needs to be washed after just one use (contrary to popular belief).
For a 7 day trip, you could pack 2 pairs of pants or shorts, 2 tank tops or shirts and 2 dresses (plus the appropriate number of underwear and socks) and you would be just fine. Finding out if your accommodations offer laundry service or if there is a laundromat nearby can be a big help! For bathing suits, I would pack maximum two bikinis/shorts.
As for shoes you only really need two pairs for warm or cold weather, I would pack runners and a pair of comfortable/stylish sandals or runners and a pair of winter boots or runners and cute waterproof fall booties. (AKA runners will become your life!)
As for accessories choose a set that will match everything and pop it into a small cloth bag or Tupperware container to avoid tangles!
This is another popular one where I seem to go wrong, similar to clothing you don’t need to bring the whole kitchen sink! I’m a fan of eco-friendly reusable items so they tend to come along with me on the trip. For example, toothbrush, razor, floss, makeup (only the essentials, who wants to wear foundation in 30 degrees anyway) first aid kit, face cloth, small hair towel and a hairbrush are usually all the things I bring with me.
When looking for products to buy look for sturdy and compactable items, like my hairbrush that folds into a compact mirror size or my short handle toothbrush! Savings space anywhere helps.
Notice how I didn’t mention shampoo or soap? In order to save space, I usually budget money to buy those items in the city that I land in. Purchase the smallest containers that I can find. If you’re not down to buy new products abroad the company LUSH makes wonderful tiny shampoo and conditioner bars that are easily transportable (not to mention their soap smells heavenly).
If you’re a novice photographer like me an iPhone or Android camera is good enough for you! If not I’m sorry to say but your bag will be a lot heavier. Only bring the lenses you know you’ll need and a tripod if it’s really necessary.
Don’t forget to pack a universal adaptor and your phone charger. Unless you are someone who works remotely or needs your laptop for on the go picture editing, my advice would be to leave it at home. All the editing or uploading can be done when you get back.
Ultimately what you pack is up to you but a good rule of thumb is to pack what you think you need, half it and half it again. I honestly thought that was freaking insane when I heard it but my back would have thanked me on that 7-day trip if I had only brought less junk.
Good luck on your travels!
Let me know how you like to pack a bag. Anything that I missed?