In Packing, Travel

10 Rules of Packing Minimally And Efficiently to Travel Anywhere

office-work-zen-career

1. MAKE A LIST WITH CATEGORIES

Make a list of what you want to pack so that you can see all at once what you plan on bringing, review it and eliminate the unnecessary.

These are the categories I use:

  1. Clothing
  2. Shoes
  3. Travel Accessories
  4. Electronics
  5. Toiletries
  6. Event-Specific Items

Write down everything you want to bring, then review & eliminate items.

Check out my posts on what I have packed & what it all looks like.

2. NEVER CHECK ANYTHING IN

I never, EVER check anything in unless I can help it. I only bring a carry-on bag, and a purse.

That’s it.

If you start thinking that you can check in bags, you tend to overpack.

I hate waiting at the luggage carousel, hoping it was not lost and/or everything smashed inside.

3. BRING TRAVEL-SIZED ITEMS AND KEEP IT MINIMAL

work-career-laptop-wake-up-zen-desk-get-ready-makeup

Little travel toiletries, the smallest electronic you have that will do the job, mini brushes..


Buy and carry everything travel-sized.

4. KEEP ALL ELECTRONICS & LIQUIDS (INTO 1 QUART-SIZED BAG) TO BE ACCESSED WITHIN EASY REACH

I usually keep all my cables, cords and electronics in my purse, and the liquids are in 1 quart-sized bag that I put in the FRONT pocket of my carry-on luggage.

That way, I can access my iPod Touch (let’s say) easily when I am waiting to board, and to get through the security check-in, I just have to open the front pocket of the carry-on suitcase and toss it into the bin for inspection.

telephone-texting-work-career

If you put all these items in your actual carry-on suitcase, you will have to hunt for the items when you’re waiting to board, or on the actual plane itself.

There is nothing more annoying than realizing you left your headphones INSIDE your suitcase, and you need to try and pull it down, unzip it, and grab it in stuck in the midst of all your clothing while the plane is flying & shaking, and people are seated, feeling annoyed that you’re doing this..

5. WEAR SLIP ON/OFF SHOES FOR THE PLANE AND PACK SOCKS

Loafers, ballet flats, anything STURDY as a pair of shoes because in the event of the plane having to land in an emergency somewhere in the middle of nowhere, you want to be sure that you are not barefoot on tarmac because your flimsy flip flops fell off.

Save those for the beach.

I prefer loafers for the plane only because I can wear them, then whip out a pair of wool socks to wear over my toes, and STILL be able to fit my feet into loafers and walk around if I need to go up the aisle to the bathroom.

Ballet flats don’t let you do this, they’re too fitted to your foot.

I hate laces, and velcro is all right in sneakers for instance.

These shoes ideally will also be the heaviest pair you are bringing, so pack those flip flops, and wear your actual shoes.

6. ASK YOURSELF IF YOUR ITEMS CAN DO DOUBLE-DUTY

Here are some ideas:

Cashmere travel wrap that is a blanket / scarf / jacket

A packing organizer for the suitcase that you can pull out and just hang in the closet

A jacket that is your purse because it has all these great pockets

RFID blocking purses or wallets so that they can’t snatch your credit card info by tapping against your bag

 

7. REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS WASH THINGS BY HAND

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You don’t need to pack so much if you remember that you can do laundry and you can also wash items in the sink by hand with a little soap (hand soap will work, or even shampoo).

Do not freak out that you only have 2 shirts, you can wear one, wash one at night, and let it air dry so you can wear it tomorrow.

8. WEAR YOUR HEAVIEST ITEMS ON THE PLANE SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO CARRY IT

I used to pack hiking boots because I would walk 16 hours a day when I traveled, and those things are HEAVY.

I always wore them on the plane, even though it broke my rule that I should only wear slip-on shoes on the plane, only because they were so heavy. They were also finicky with the laces…

Now, I don’t bother with them as we can’t walk 16 hours a day any longer with a child, and I bring my washable loafers instead, pictured below:

9. PACK AN EXTRA (LIGHT) BAG

I like carrying spare bags that are easy to pack and roll away for a fast way to carry a lunch and a water bottle (both of which will be consumed), so that you still have 2 hands free to do things.

A reusable bag (any) works, even a plastic bag, but I tend to always prefer to bring something super sturdy that can also be a purse, namely my Longchamp Pliage:

It is chic, stylish, folds up nicely, has long sturdy handles for the shoulder and is a great spare bag to toss things in for a short period of time, or just to use when traveling.

Plus, it’s an actual PURSE.

10. ASK YOURSELF: WILL I USE THIS EVERYDAY?

This is the hardest part: eliminating unnecessary items.

If you think you need 2 pairs of heels, think again. Just bring ONE dress and ONE pair of heels, and be done with it. Or try and bring a dress you can wear with anything (not just heels), and put a jacket over for a different look.

At the end of every trip, I bring all my items home, and review what I used and what I didn’t, then I review my packing list, and eliminate it, or make a note about how I didn’t use it the last time.

A few things that I’ve eliminated over the years:

  • My own pillow (I just roll up my cashmere blanket to sleep on it if I feel unsure about hotel pillows)
  • My own cup, cutlery, and plates (I’ve sucked it up and just use what is there)
  • Laundry detergent (I use shampoo to wash my items in a pinch instead)

WHAT ARE YOUR PACKING TIPS?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Minimalist Travel: Packing Tips

Posted on April 12, 2017

Previous PostBudgeting Help: How a family can plan and save for traveling
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12 Comments

  1. Corianne

    For trips longer than 1 week, I don’t pack more clothes than for an entire week. I will need to do some washing! Doesn’t work though if the climate/location is humid (Japan… 🙁 some places in China 🙁 )…

    Otherwise, if it’s just a few days, I plan my outfits day by day, write it down even!

    I have a purple backpack (just a normal-sized one, not a backpacker-type one) that I use most often. If I pack superefficiently, it holds a week of winter clothes, towel, toiletries, foldable purse, etc. basically everything I need for a whole week (will only wear one pair of shoes, that is, the ones that would be on my feet.)

    Yes, and keep all the iPads etc. on hand!!! I HATE being behind people who need to dig those things out of their suitcase. God, one time I was behind a family of three (mom, two teenage kids) who needed to scan their bags again cause they didn’t hear the first time you need to take your tablets and laptops out (it’s only on the signs and the security person asks you if you have a tablet or laptop in your bag….), but first get all the electronics out… took a while…

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I pack at a max, 2 outfits and then just switch the items back and forth.

      There are cases where it is scanner friendly and you don’t need to take the iPad out of the case but MY GOODNESS it annoys me.

      Remove change, keys, watches.. put that stuff on AFTER the security checkout.

      Reply
  2. Elle

    Hubs and I use castille soap to wash everything – body, clothes, hair, shoes. We like different scents so it allows us to vary our personal and fabric needs and a little goes a long way (especially the peppermint).

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      That soap kills my face and hair. 🙁 If not I’d love to just use castile.

      Reply
  3. Kristi

    I would also add that you should be sure to only pack clothes in the same color palette so that you can mix and match multiple outfits from just a few pieces. (This will be easy if you already have a minimalist wardrobe anyway.)

    Reply
    1. SarahN

      OMG yes – I hate when I realise I would ‘never’ wear one top with a pair of bottoms I’ve packed – seems like a wasted opportunity! I still don’t love navy with black if I can help it…

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        Really? I love the mix of navy and black. Brown and black however, no…

        Reply
    2. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Great point! I wear mostly neutrals in hot countries like beige, grey, etc.

      Reply
  4. Anne

    I am curious: have you actually washed those loafers? If yes, how was the result?

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Came out perfectly fine. I had to remove the tongue inside to let it air dry properly but it didn’t shrink!

      Reply
  5. SarahN

    The washing thing… yeah, it annoys me. Sometimes things take too long to dry and smell musty (JAPAN!), sometimes I’m moving locations too often. I find I can pack a fair lot of clothing options, and not wash for at least a week, if not longer. I’d rather skip a laptop/charger et al (insert here, fancy camera, tablet etc) and just go iPhone.

    I get the cabin luggage only idea, but I’ve never lost luggage and travelled incredibly widely. If I can check the carry on sized suitcase, I will. The other passengers don’t complain. A larger handbag for the plane for all the ‘wants’ (jumper for cool temps etc). The most recent trip, I forgot a smaller bag. Bought one. Very pleased with that purchase – still getting great use for times I want my hands free but need my wallet/phone/keys.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Some fabrics like rayon dry VERY quickly.. Or linen. I tend to try and hang it up in the bath but it is hard 🙁

      Reply

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