This post is all about minimalist packing tips for an awesome vacation!
Are you prepping for an amazing summer getaway?
If so, than you know the struggle that comes with packing and making sure we have everything we need.
One question you might have: “Is there a way to simplify your packing and eliminate the stess of vacation prep?”
Minimalist packing isn’t complicated at all. Allow yourself to simplify your must-have items and downsizing your wardrobe.
This will greatly decrease the amount of time it takes for you to pack. In addition, investing in travel gear that makes the packing process simple and easy will be ideal.
(I’ll mention this gear later)
Check out this minimalist travel article for more great tips and advice!
In this post, we’ll go over simple ways you can save time packing and become a minimalist packing pro!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
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1. Research Your Destination
Before you can even think about packing like a minimalist, you’ll first need to do a little background research on where you’re going in the first place.
The most obvious question being the weather. If it’s blazing hot out, especially in summer we already know that our packing will not need many layers.
Another reason that we research our destination, is to get a feel for what we should expect.
There will be a clear difference between going to a tropical beach destination like Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and going to the Grand Canyon. (Two places I’ve been to and love… just sayin lol)
If you’re vacationing in Punta Cana you’ll need bathing suits and some decent dress clothes to go out to dinner at the resort.
While vacationing in Arizona you won’t see the beach but you may need swim trunks for pools and you may also need more outdoor-type clothes for hiking and walking especially if you go to see the Grand Canyon.
Either way, your packing will be dictated by your vacation destination.
2. Create a Minimalist Packing List
Next, you’ll want to create a simple minimalist packing list of everything you think you need. Yes, I know this is pretty basic and straightforward…but let me elaborate…
When you’re making a minimalist packing list you want to only include what you “need”. This is why we need to research our destination first. This way we can determine what’s actually necessary for our trip.
Here are the basic questions you’ll need to ask yourself:
- What are my daily needs?
- Which items are apart of my daily routine?
- What items can I not live without?
- Which clothes do I really need?
- What essentials do I need for this trip?
So the point here is to get an idea of your necessities so that you don’t overpack. We want you to become a minimalist packing pro.
Remember we don’t pack like a minimalist to be miserable and only bring the bare minimum.
We want to bring the minimal amount of items we need in order to not only satisfy our daily needs but also to allow us to enjoy our trip to the fullest.
3. Define What You Actually NEED
In order to help you create your minimalist packing list as I stated above, you’ll need to define what you actually “NEED” and not bring things you think you need (like that book your not gonna read).
This can and will be different for each individual.
Defining what you need for your trip doesn’t need to be complicated.
Keep it simple…
Outline what you use on a daily basis. Here’s a rough outline of the bathroom items I use and need on a daily basis:
- Body Wash
- Face wash
- Shaving cream
- Tooth brush
- Tooth Paste
- Tongue scraper
- Face & body lotion
If you notice, I placed each item in a certain order. This is because I based the list on my daily routine.
This way you can trace your steps and you can identify the most important items and add them to your minimalist packing list first.
Once you identify the essentials, you’ll know how much space you have for other items that you may like to bring for pleasure.
To make this easier for yourself, break down your essentials into different categories as I have above using “Toiletries” as a header. You can use this to break down your electronics, clothes, jewelry, etc.
Keeping yourself organized in this manner will not only ensure that you have everything that you need, but it will ensure that your packing speed will be top-notch.
4. Define Your Must-Have Items
On top of defining what items you need on a daily basis, you’ll need to outline or make a list of items that aren’t needed but that you love to use and can’t live without.
Here’s an example of my Must-Have Items:
- Wireless earbuds
Now I only have a few items listed here, but the point is that I really don’t necessarily need these items to “survive” but in order to be productive, even if I’m on vacation, I 100% do need them.
For others, this can be books, a diary, camera gear, etc.
Whatever it is, it should be something that you definitely will use and something that serves a purpose.
5. Pack Less Experience More
The gist of this section is summed up by two words (and a few exclamation points):
The whole point of your minimalist travel plan is to take less and focus more on your experiences.
I want you to try your best to pack less than what you think you need. I know it’s tempting to fit as much stuff you think you need into your suitcase. But try your best to cut it back in any way.
This is ultimately more about your mindset. This is the step or tip where you set your mind to pack like a minimalist.
Don’t be scared, you’re gonna have enough stuff…
Just go for it!
6. Layout All of Your Travel Items on Your Bed
After creating a list and outlining what you need for your trip, I think it’s a fun practice to lay everything out on your bed and see what’s there.
Now if you’re only taking a four-day trip somewhere, this may not be necessary. However, if you’re going to a tropical summer destination or somewhere far away for a week or longer, it may be a good idea to try this one out.
This is Good For Visual People
I’m personally very visual.
I like to see things organized and laid out in front of me. This packing method allows me to see all of the items I plan to take at once and gives me an idea of the volume of items I’ll be taking with me.
This Can Help You With Overpacking
This can ultimately help stop you from overpacking because you may notice items that shouldn’t be on your list.
This way you can weed out any unnecessary items even further.
Plus this way if all of your items don’t even fit on your bed (depending on the size of your bed), you may need to rethink your list.
If you’ve got a queen-sized bed you should 100% be able to fit your entire packing list.
7. Use Simple Travel Gear
Now when it comes to traveling light, you’re gonna need to make sure you’ve got the travel gear that’s made for minimalist travel.
This means your belongings will need to fit into a carry-on suitcase and a backpack or alternative bag.
Throw out any ideas of checked bags and whatnot. By packing minimally we are traveling as simply as possible with the least amount of hassle. No waiting for your bags or having to worry about anything getting lost.
We want to keep it SIMPLE…
Carry-On Suit Case
First, you’ll need to pick the perfect carry-on luggage to suit your minimalist packing needs. I currently use the carry-on from samsonite.
It’s really small and compact but also sturdy. I’m still yet to use it on a flight, but I’ve used it a few times and I love it.
In the future, however, I may think about upgrading to an Away suitcase.
If you don’t know the brand Away, you’re really missing out. I’ll put a link to them (here).
They make incredibly stylish and durable luggage that is perfect for minimalist travel. They also come in a variety of colors!
Your next task is to make sure you’ve got the perfect personal item, side bag, or backpack to go along with your carry-on.
Different flights have different requirements for the size of your personal bag, but from my slight research, it appears that most sites recommend a carry-on and a side bag that can fit underneath the seat.
Obviously do your research to see what sizes of backpacks/personal items are allowed on your flight.
8. Pack Your Clothes Smarter
Now that we’ve outlined our plan and our gear for our minimalist packing, we will now go over one of the main aspects of packing and travel…
In this section, we’ll go over a multitude of minimalist packing tips…
Here we go!
Use Packing Cubes
If you’ve never tried packing cubes you have no idea what you’re missing! Before trying them out I never knew how simple and easy packing can be.
Not to mention the fact that they keep all of your clothes organized and neat in your suitcase which makes it easy to find items faster.
Packing cubes really are the perfect minimalist packing tool to use in order to travel lightly.
They can also help you to fit more clothes or personal items as well.
Consider The Weather
Next, as we stated in the tip section where we need to research our destination, we need to again consider the weather and plan out what clothes we will need.
If it’s summer vacation, then most of your decision-making will be easy in terms of the layers you’ll need. If you’re going to a place with mixed weather, you’ll know if you need to bring a sweatshirt along just in case.
You get the point.
Use Folding Techniques
Another great way to pack smarter is to use different folding techniques to maximize the space in your luggage.
These different folding techniques are different than the basic methods of folding clothes and employ a more strategic approach to allow you to fit more items.
Some minimalist packers on youtube recommend folding large bulky items flat and placing them on the bottom of your suitcase while you pile the rest of the clothes on top.
Here’s a helpful video to guide you along the way:
Use a Capsule Wardrobe
Now that we’ve gone over a few crafty minimalist packing tricks, let’s see how we’re gonna go about downsizing your wardrobe.
In order to pack super minimally, we’re gonna need to create a capsule wardrobe.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
If you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, have no worries
It’s very simple…
A capsule wardrobe is essentially a wardrobe that uses a distinct color palette in which every item in the wardrobe can be mixed and matched.
This type of wardrobe maximizes the clothes that you can use because every single piece has a fit and can be worn together.
This is also a very stylish type of wardrobe that many have adopted not just in travel, but in daily life or even just for the different seasons.
This wardrobe can be specific for travel if you’d like, but the best way to do this is to have a capsule or minimal wardrobe in your everyday life.
This way it’s super easy to decide which items you’ll want and need to take.
It will make packing faster too!!
Plan Out Your Outfits
Once you have a capsule wardrobe or a minimalist wardrobe, now you can plan out what type of outfits you plan on wearing.
By planning out your outfits, you’ll know exactly what clothes to bring with you. This way you don’t bring excess and end up wasting space in your suitcase.
Plus planning out your outfits or mixing and matching your clothes can be an enjoyable experience and can make packing less of a chore.
Overall, planning out your outfits is a fun and productive way to widdle down and figure out what exactly you’re gonna wear when you’re actually at your desired destination.
Determine How Much Clothes You Need
After planning out what type of outfits you’d like to wear, you can now determine exactly the right amount of clothes you’ll need in order to make your minimalist packing a success.
Only Pack Around A Weeks Worth of Clothes
Finally, when you’re ready to finalize your wardrobe and prep to pack, from personal experience and from reading & watching what others have to say about minimalist packing, I recommend packing a minimum of about a week to a week and a half worth of clothes.
This applies to almost any duration of travel time.
For instance, if this applies if you’re… :
- Traveling for a week
- 2 weeks of travel
- Traveling for a month
You should plan to pack like this because you’re only gonna have limited space in your carry-on and personal bag. This doesn’t leave too much room for error.
Another reason you pack like this is that you’ll most likely be able to wash clothes at your destination.
Now, this is a rough estimate, but anything more than this and you’ll most likely be overpacking and may not even have the room to fit all your stuff.
Just remember that the number of clothes needed for you to pack like a minimalist will be different depending on your needs, your style, and your trip.
9. Organize Your Toiletries
Now that we’ve taken care of the bulk of our minimalist packing task, we’ll explore the next more important items…
Use a Travel Toiletry Bag
One of the best ways to travel and pack your toiletries would be to use a travel toiletry bag.
These bags can be found on Amazon for a good price and I highly recommend them. Before using one of these travel bags, I had a smaller traditional travel toiletry bag.
This travel kit didn’t really hold everything I needed and I found myself using different bags to place my bathroom items.
However, with this travel bag, I’m able to keep all of my toiletries in one place!
Use a TSA Approved Liquid Bag
Another way to organize your toiletries would be to use a TSA-approved liquid bag.
These liquid containers are pre-approved for the size requirements at the airport and neatly organize your travel liquids.
Pack Containers For Your Liquids
Speaking of travel liquids…
One of the best ways to travel with your liquids would be to use leak-proof travel-size containers.
This is because again, the TSA requires certain measurements for each liquid. This way when using containers, you’ll already know you’re abiding by the rules.
10. Organize Your Technology
Along with your toiletries and clothes, you’ll need to keep all of your technology organized.
I recommend using a travel tech organizer case to keep all of your chargers and electronic items together.
Again this is all about making packing and travel simple. This way all of your different items are neatly separated in their own area.
11. Keep Track of Important Documents
Finally, the last thing you’ll want to do to ensure you have a smooth and simple trip is to keep all of your important documents organized.
I recommend using a travel wallet that has room for change and also holds your passport. This awesome travel wallet also has RFID blocking capabilities.
This way all of your important travel documents are in one secure pouch. This makes it easy and convenient when you need to access these items at the airport or where ever you may be.
12. Remember The Benefits of Minimalist Packing
Lastly, when you’re feeling down or overwhelmed with your packing situation, don’t worry.
If your having any doubts about minimalist packing just remember all of the great benefits that come with it.
I know for some, minimizing your clothes will be a big challenge, especially if it’s your first time packing like a minimalist.
Even though it may seem daunting, it can be done…
Here are some of the main benefits of minimalist packing:
- Less Stress
- No checked bags (faster + you won’t lose luggage)
- Less hassle
- Packing is quick and easy
Keep these benefits in mind and you’ll never want to pack or travel any other way!
- Plan out your trip and do your prior research
- Make a list of travel items
- Assess what items you abosultely need and decide what you’d like to take for pleasure
- Minimize your wardrobe + Items your going to take
- Use minimalist packing gear to simplify your packing
- Definitely don’t be shy about taking less than you think you need.
- Obviously don’t take barely anything, but find a good fit for your needs and your minimalist packing will be achieved and your trip will be a success!
- After following these tips you’ll be well equipped to develop yourself as a minimalist packer and will be able to travel light with less stress and baggage (literally and figuratively).
- Once you’ve tried packing like this you’ll feel less stress about your trip and will be able to enjoy more of your time rather than worrying about everything you need to pack (which can be a major headache!).