I've been really excited to share this post with you because minimalist travel is something my wife and I have been into for a few years now. It all started a few years ago after our first trip overseas together.
We were flying into Copenhagen but had a short layover in Chicago. Due to some bad weather, we missed our connection in Chicago. Being our first trip to Europe together, we were bummed about such a big hiccup right off the bat.
By the grace of the airline gods, there was a flight with a sister airline heading to Copenhagen that same night. We weren't guaranteed seats, but we were told that the flight was leaving soon and we'd need to run to that gate if we wanted a shot at getting on via standby. Let me tell you, having to run through Chicago O'hare Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, is less than ideal. But you better believe we ran.
You could say that we lucked out because we made it on the flight AND were upgraded to business class seats. Business class on international flights is comparable to domestic first class. We were stoked to be traveling in style.... but we knew before we boarded the flight that the changes our luggage made it with us was slim to none.
Slim it was, because our luggage got L-O-S-T.
Long story short, we were without luggage for about 7 days until they finally located our suitcases and delivered them to us.
Ever since that Europe trip we've adopted minimalist packing and we each use 1 carry-on sized bag for all travel. Yes, even long international trips. Because we understand how to pack minimally and efficiently, we've traveled to Europe for 3 week getaways with just a carry-on sized suitcase each. Traveling light eliminates so much unnecessary stress from our trips. It's a game changer.
Alright, let's get down to it already. Here are our tips and tricks on minimalist packing. Let us know what you think and if you have any tips of your own, leave me a comment!
Because we are minimalist packers, it's necessary to have access to laundry at least once per week. It's not as hard to plan for as you might think. Wherever you're traveling, find an airbnb with laundry access or look up a local laundry mat near your hotel. And if all else fails, you can hand wash clothing in a sink or shower and hang to dry (we do this sometimes...no joke).
The key to minimalist packing, according to Michaela, is to have a color palette. I have a lot of blue in my closet, so my palettes are usually a mix of blues, whites, greys and blacks. This makes it easy to create multiple outfit combinations. I'll bring enough shirts to cover me for 5-6 days, and two pairs of pants that match each shirt. I pack 7 pairs of socks and underwear, two exercise outfits, and two pairs of shoes. One athletic pair and one pair that can be dressed up or down. When I pack like this, I'm able to come up with a multitude of outfit combinations and I never have to worry about wether anything matches. Simplicity is key for me.
Now, I've already posted about how to avoid hangovers while traveling, but it's worth the reminder. I included Party Smarts in this travel guide because they're my secret to throwing a few back without feeling like crap in the morning. I'll have 4 or 5 in my suitcase for sure.
For this trip, I bought a pair of Prana Brion travel pants and I'm looking forward to wearing them over the next few weeks. They look like your standard chinos, but are as comfortable as sweatpants. They're water resistant, wrinkle proof, and stretchy without looking stretchy... know what I mean? These will run you about $75 - not a bad investment if you ask me.
Now, let's talk luggage. I usually pack everything in a hard-shell carry-on suitcase, but on a recent amazon haul I purchased an Ospray Porter 30, which is a travel backpack that opens up like a suitcase and meets carry-on measurement guidelines,...even super strict Ryan Air! This backpack is sick. It's the same size as my wife's carry-on and has a ton of stowaway compartments and features to make traveling easier. They make bigger bags than this, but after filling it I couldn't imagine lugging around a bigger bag on my back. This size works for me!
The last tip I can give you is to invest in some "packing cubes!" Packing cubes are small bags and are typically made out of mesh so you can see the contents inside. They simply help you organize your suitcase. I usually use one for toiletries, one for electronics, one for socks and underwear, and one for t-shirts. This way, I don't end up emptying out my entire suitcase just to find a pair of socks.
We use these packing cubes from the Ikea Family Collection. It's about $8 for a pack of 4 and they're all different sizes which is nice.
Not an Ikea person or don't have one near you? There are tons of packing cubes on Amazon. As a minimalist packer, I've found the small and medium sized ones to be the most useful in a carry-on.
And that's it. These are my favorite ways to stay organized, make sure I have only what I need and AVOID unnecessary stress while traveling! What do you think? Leave me a comment below and share some of your favorite tips.