10 Tips for Minimalist Packing 

10 Tips for Minimalist Packing

Minimalism, for me, is all about getting rid of clutter so that there is room for things & experiences which brings abundance.

Avoiding the claws of consumerism and thereby the travel products which come up in the market every single day, help you travel light as well as more responsibly. My mantra is to be convinced of the value the product brings in – Does it add value to my life? Are there any other products that can provide me the similar use?

I became a minimalist packer, much before I even realised such a word existed. Being petite & slim, I found it easier to pack light as most of my travels in the early days involved a lot of public transport.

Sharing my tips on minimalist packing for those who are like me

1. Bags – Less Luggage, More Comfort!

The incentives of traveling with less luggage always make it worth the deliberate intent. Moving around comfortably, worrying less about losing stuff, and even getting considered for an upgrade in the flight(because you don’t have a check-in) are few of the obvious perks.

Take a moment to think if you really need a check-in luggage or anything more than the carry-on for a particular trip. There are a lot of under a week trips, where we can travel with just a carry-on but instead, we carry a lot just because we are used to (I had only a carry on for my Fiji trip which lasted 10 days !).

2. Clothes – Mix & Match

Pack clothes which match with everything else, so that you can mix and match and get different looks. It is well known that neutral shades help to create combinations of outfits from a handful of tops and bottoms. I usually wear a lot of white tops which go well with almost any kind of shorts/skirts.

For women, scarves & shawls can also be smartly chosen to create multiple looks.

Clothes which are light to carry & dry is always the best option.

3. Shoes/Footwear – Carry what you need & not what you love

You do not need 10 pairs of heels/sandals for a trip. But if you need it, you must carry! Minimalism is never a denial but an opportunity for mindful living.

But if you are happy to go by the needs, most likely a pair of good sneakers & a slipper/sandal would do the job for any non-winter trip!

4. Toiletries – The Least

At home, we may use a range of products. Think about few items from your toiletries which you can live without for a couple of days or weeks depending on the length of your trip. Also, there are Carry only the rest (You may not need to carry a scrub or a body polish or a face mask for a weekend trip).

5. Purses & Bags – Empty before starting to pack

Empty your purses/wallets & bags before you start packing which helps you to carry what you actually need for travel. This is a good way of getting rid of clutter(You may not need the local supermarket reward card while you are climbing the Himalayas or lying down on the beaches of Bali!).

6. MakeUp & Accessories – Theme for the trip

Take a moment to think if your makeup can be minimised to fewer shades and products? Many women carry their make-up kit as they do not want to re-pack or sort them. Using themes of one shade for the duration of the trip could lessen the products that you carry. And you don’t need much make-up on a trekking/skiing trip!!

For jewelry & accessories, be like a French woman – remove one item before you zip it all in!

7. Snacks – Less is more

Some snacks for the road does not mean to pack for an eating competition. So you don’t really need to buy a lot of snacks, but buy only what you love and what you need from an energy perspective. Salty, oily snacks might be dehydrating for many, whereas a bunch of fruits which can be replenished from most places is a good option.

8. Carry a Reusable bag

This helps you make a mental note that you will carry back home only so much additional stuff.  This helps you limit your purchases (those sarongs & beach dresses which you may never use again!)  and also would help you carry groceries or any other stuff without asking for a plastic bag (being environment-friendly too!)

9. Electronics & Gadgets – Purpose and Usage

Think about if you really need a tablet, a laptop & a phone during your trip. Once you plan your activities and routes, you may be able to get away with a few.

Also, having an eye for multipurpose cameras would help in minimising the need for carrying multiple cameras and also having to safeguard them.

Coffee makers, portable iron, hair dryers, heaters etc are needed only if you really need it. Making a conscious call on what you will be using and finding out in advance if the place of your stay – Airbnb or hotel or shared accommodation, has these gadgets will help you pack light.

10. Carry, Hire or Buy – Make the Right Call

Compare what is the best option for each item – to carry it, hire it or buy it at the destination.

It would make better sense if you can hire a snorkeling gear for a reasonable price if you are going to snorkel only once on your two-week trip. Similarly using the beach towels provided at the hotel/resort make better sense rather than carrying many of them on an island visit.

Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on minimalist packing. I am in constant search for new ideas to improve the quality of travel & life. Happy to hear from you if there are any other ideas which can help in Minimalist Packing?  Looking forward to reading it in the comments.

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  1. Aaaah! I remember when packing light was an option for me! Now I am in charge of packing for two little people who cannot pack for themselves, and invariably I end up forgetting to pack properly for myself. Guess who always forgets their own toothbrush!?!

    1. Yea, you cant help much with kids I guess. I think even if you overpack it would be fine as long as you don’t forget kids stuffs!

    1. You are right, I think because of the necessity I got habituated to packing light … I do a lot of solo’s which kind of forces me to carry less as it is hard to carry stuff around by myself!

  2. I am a pretty light packer but I seem to be taking more and more tech on every trip and it really adds to the weight. You’re right you really do need to be mindful of why each item makes your bag. Shoes is still the hardest item to part with lol

  3. Interesting tips. I remember when I walked the Camino and carried everything on my back toiletries were cut to nothing. One soap had to clean everything including hair and clothed and sunscreen doubled up as moisturiser.

    1. Great to know you did the Camino 🙂 That must have been pretty awesome.
      I recently read one article where someone was using coconut oil as the moisturiser for all parts of the body!..

  4. These are great tips to keep your bags nice and light. Its so important to empty all your bags (even if you don’t have a purse) before you start packing. As a guy I mix that tip with the toiletries one and always dump my toiletries bag and then ONLY add the essentials.

  5. The number of bags is truly key. So is the size of bags. For my husband and I one carry-on piece plus a good purse/bag is the rule. That defined what we bring. In other words, all the other rules follow.only in very long travels, say more than a month, do we opt for a larger piece. Thus also minimizes luggage fees.

  6. I’m no minimalist, but I’m pretty getting efficient at packing. I’d also suggest to ask yourself: when are you realistically going to do laundry? If you can plan your laundry days, you can really save on over-packing, or having to buy emergency undies en-route.

  7. I totally agree with the empty of purses and bags! Especially for the ladies we accumulate all sorts of things in those bags that we actually don’t need. And you right how much make up do you need on a skiing or hiking trip! you have some great ideas here.

  8. YES to all of this – packing minimally always makes trips so much more simple and reduces stress, at least in my opinion! No need to take a million things with you anyway most of the time – the old saying about packing half the clothes you think you need and double the money is always quite accurate..!!

  9. When I read the title, I was afraid it would be one of these posts where an article is wrapped around many, many affiliate links – there isn’t a single one! Instead ten really clever and useful tips. I especially like – and enjoy – the mix and match. I usually use blue and white as basic colors – and all my sandals are dark blue. And still I ended up this time to have far too much stuff with me, it’s horrible.
    An extra thanx for the environment friendly tip with the bag – one of the Portuguese sentences I practice most often here in Brazil is that I don’t need a bag.

  10. This is something we continually work on! As a family of 4 who can go for a month or so at a time, only carry ons don’t work for us, but we do try and take minimal luggage. We are pretty good at the mix and match and try book a place half way thru that has a washer/dryer or laundry service.

  11. Solid write up on minimalism! I personally always thought of myself as a minimalist as to what I carry on my person, but ironically I carry more than most since I like to be prepared. Wallet, sunglasses, phone, pen, flashlight, pocket knife, watch, lighter and lip balm. Items I use daily. I also have a tendency to over prepare for trips based on my “ready for anything” attitude. Taking a step back and asking myself what I truly need for a day puts the necessities in perspective and really lightens the load.

    Thanks for sharing!

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