If you’re already living light at home, packing for a trip should be no problem.
And if you’re thinking of adopting a minimal lifestyle, traveling is a great way to start – because chances are, if you dread the feeling of lugging suitcases and backpacks and extra carry-ons through the airport, or squeezing luggage into the trunk, you don’t want that kind of strain on your home life either.
The first time I travelled to England for a month, I brought 2 50-lb suitcases, packed to the brim. Now I carry less when I’m moving.
1. Choose your bag and stick to it. If in doubt, go with a smaller bag. You can always upgrade. As I discuss in my ebook, containers tend to fill up.
2. Start a list. This is for minimizing stress levels: keep a list handy so that when extra things pop into your head there’s a place for them to go right away. This can be on paper, or in an app.
3. Make a massive pile. Here’s the fun part: go around your room/house in order and pull out everything you might possibly even slightly consider. Put it all in a pile. That way you’re condensing the “maybe” pile from your entire living space to one big pile.
4. Make a smaller pile. In this pile, pull out only the absolute essentials. If you had to go right now with just your handbag, what could you not do without?
5. Pack the smaller pile into your bag. See how much space you have leftover. You can then fill that with as much of the bigger pile as you want, but make sure everything fits comfortably. Avoid having to sit on the suitcase to zip it up.
What you SHOULD bring:
- extra underwear: it doesn’t take up that much space anyway
- an extra pair of shoes
- layers: rather than full outfits for different weather
What you can do without:
- re-purchasables: if you’re going somewhere long-term, you might as well buy things like shampoo at your destination.
- just-in-case items: if you might not need it, and you can purchase it while you’re away, leave it out.
- excessive footwear: while I like to bring 2 pairs of shoes for the sake of my feet, shoes are bulky and heavy.
- extra choices: do the grunt work before your travels so you can relax. If you’re going to a formal event, bring one formal outfit, not 2 or 3 thinking you’ll decide later. Decide now so you can enjoy yourself while you’re away!
- extra books: books are heavy. When I bring one book, I usually finish it and purchase another one, but when I bring several, I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even finish the first! Obviously, if you’re going on a reading holiday [lucky you!], books are essential, but also think about what you can pick up while you’re there – some hotels/cafés have book swaps or libraries. I also love brining my kindle on holiday for the unlimited options.
Be honest about your activities.
What are you actually going to do when you’re away? You might pack extra books, or your workout clothes with good intentions, but really you’re in town to site-see. It can be so liberating to say “I’m going to take a break from work” and leave your computer at home. Sometimes I bring my laptop thinking I’ll get stuff done, but can’t be motivated to, so instead I start browsing the internet and checking my email. No! Better to cut out distraction completely.
What are your best tips for long-term travel?
Read More: *cue throwback!* my packing posts from waaaaay back
P.S. Once you’re packed, here’s how to plan a rockin travel itinerary!
[Image from my Seattle/SF suitcase from last summer]