Minimalist Packing to Travel: 1 Carryon. 1 Bag. 2 Months.
This is how a (Hybrid) Minimalist packs a practical wardrobe and suitcase to travel for 2 months!
So you all know by now that I’m heading to Europe for 2 months. If you haven’t.. SURPRISE! I AM GOING TO EUROPE FOR 2 MONTHS! 🙂
I promised a packing post, and this is what I’m bringing.
WHAT THE HECK IS A HYBRID MINIMALIST?
I am totally making stuff up right now.
You know those women who wear only neutral colours so that everything matches, has only 2 pairs of practical shoes and wears one necklace their entire life?
I am not that woman.
I am not that kind of minimalist.
I am a different version of a Minimalist.
A Minimalist Huppie.
By that same vein, I am also a light traveler, but not so extreme that I don’t bring anything but a passport and one outfit, because I am what I like to call practical, paranoid, and slightly vain (PPV).
For instance, I bring items to back up my photos, lots of electronics, I have emergency items and so on and so forth.
Lastly, I only dress like this when I travel because it makes sense.
At home, I have lots of clothes but that’s home, not traveling.
- Read: What is in my closet (this is already outdated)
THE RULES I TRAVEL BY
- I don’t care about looking cute on vacation because I am not looking for love, and won’t ever see these strangers again, and if I DO see them again, it’ll be on my home turf and I’ll be extra cute
- I don’t plan on going to clubs, parties, or any big events (I’d pack accordingly if this were the case)
- I hate carrying a lot of stuff because it gets heavy and annoying
- I hate paying fees to check in suitcases, and I travel as free and as light as possible
I don’t really understand the point of looking your best on vacation but not at home.
Why not look your best all the time in your home city instead? Those are your compatriots and people you REALLY see daily!!!
While traveling, I care about being COMFORTABLE, sweat-free, sunburn-free, and blister-free.
Pain is not fun.
Pain is not beauty for me.
Yes, we will be seeing family members / friends, but they don’t care about my appearance because if they did, they wouldn’t be friends worth having. Besides, if they ever visited ME in my home country, I’d look super cute.
On vacation? Not so much.
I literally look like a hobo. YOU of course, do not have to look like a hobo, but you can follow the same rules, swap out the shoes, and the clothing for pieces of your own.
Don’t bring Birkenstocks, bring heels instead, etc etc.
HOW LONG THESE ITEMS WILL LAST ME
2 months or longer, up to a year or more I wager.
Dunno, I have never tried past a year.
The only things that my run out past 2 months would be my pills, shampoo, conditioner, contacts and contact lens solution.
I can pretty much live on this for the entire year of traveling in warm, steady climates if I had to (and once in 2010 when I traveled around the world, I did!).
As long as the weather doesn’t change into winter and stays a semi-summer the whole time, I’m good.
WHERE DOES IT ALL FIT?
1 Carryon and 1 Personal Backpack (it’s my camera bag).
I don’t like bringing extra stuff if I don’t need it, and I HATE, HATE, HATE carrying luggage, so I am making it as practical for my life as possible.
A lot of stuff below will seem unnecessary to you, especially if you go out to eat in restaurants all the time, but I am more of a local grocery store kind of girl.
I like going into local groceries and buying a baguette there, some cheese, and having that for lunch.
I am not a fan of paying through the nose for overpriced food I could make at home.
The few times I will go to a restaurant, it better be something amazing.
CATEGORIES OF PACKING
I break it down into areas such as this:
- Documents / Money
- Clothing / Shoes
- Electronics / Entertainment
- Toiletries / Makeup
Click on any image below to biggify.
DOCUMENTS / MONEY
- Credit Cards used to book transportation / flights
- Transportation cards – E.g. Paris ID for traveling on the metro
- U.S. Dollars (to convert to Euros when I get there; you get a better exchange rate)
- Canadian Dollars (for the interim between flights before leaving & arriving)
- Toronto TTC Tokens (Public transportation because we don’t take cabs & my parents won’t drive me)*
- House Keys
- Printed flight & hotel confirmations, maps, and a list of stuff to buy
- Photocopies of my passport and important documentation (in case I get robbed)
- 1 Moleskine leakproof pen (not a liquid like those ink pens)
- 1 pad of paper
*They have never driven me to and from the airport. Ever. Chalk it up to laziness, uncaring.. call it what you will. I just never rely on them or ask them for a ride anywhere when I travel.
CLOTHING / SHOES / ACCESSORIES
It is totally by luck that it all matches each other.
I didn’t particularly plan this colour scheme, but I guess my traveling stuff tends to match anyway because I buy things like linen in light colours, and I have a penchant for blue and grey.
- 2 button-up linen & cotton blend shirts
- 1 linen light wrap (for the arms to keep the sun off)
- 3 tank tops (to swap out as I wash one each day and let it dry)
- 1 long-sleeved top (to wear to sleep and in a pinch to go out if need be)
- 1 dress – will be wearing this with Birkenstocks *shrug*
- 1 pair of leggings (to wear to sleep in case it gets chilly for some reason)
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of pants (linen)
- 2 cashmere sweaters — I hear it’s cold this year; and I can layer these in case I need to
- [Not pictured] 2 bras – I wear one, wash the other, and rotate like that
- [Not pictured] 3 pairs of underwear – Will wash as I need them
- [Not pictured] Swimsuit – I TOTALLY forgot to photograph this, but I am bringing one
I HAVE A TRAVEL OUTFIT TOO
Obviously the jeans, a shirt or two and a cashmere sweater will be my traveling outfit, so it isn’t this entire wardrobe going into a suitcase.
- 1 pair of Persol sunglasses
- 1 Tilley Hat — a must-have when it’s hot
- 2 pairs of small white socks — Just in case I need them for whatever reason
- 1 Watch – I don’t rely on electronics for dates / times; watches are the best especially in between timezones
- 1 pair of Birkenstock sandals — hoping this will be everyday that I can wear them
- 1 pair of flip flops — only for the beach or pool
- 1 pair of ballet flats — only for when it rains and for “dressing up”
WHY SO MANY TOPS?
You will notice that I have more tops than pants.
My reasoning is as follows: You sweat a lot more in your upper body than in your legs. My bottom doesn’t tend to sweat as much as my top.
ELECTRONICS / ENTERTAINMENT
All the following items are pre-charged the day before.
- Macbook Air 11″ + Power cord
- 1 USB key – I keep my budget handy in here to update
- Belkin USB key extender (things like the Optex SD card reader are really bulky)
- 2 External Hard drives – I always back up my photographs twice
- Kobo Glo + Power cord — pre-loaded with A TON of books to read
- iPod Touch (for organization and notes) + 1 Charger that can be used for the iPod as well
- iPod (for music) + 1 Charger that can be used for the iPod Touch as well
- Canon G12 (am leaving the Canon S95 at home) + Battery Charger + Extra Batteries
- Sony RX100 + Battery Charge + Extra Batteries
- Spare Camera Cord — Just in case the SD card reader conks out
- Optex SD Card Reader — Saves on battery life of the camera
- Bose Headphones — You’ll see that I forgot to photograph them so I added them in later
- Sennheiser Earbud Headphones — Some places don’t deal well with Bose headphones
- 3 Adapters for plugs in that country
TOILETRIES / MAKEUP
The makeup is only if I want to feel a bit more “dolled up” for an unexpected something-or-another, but I plan on not ever having to really use it during this trip.
- 3 oz. of shampoo in a GoToob tube (I bought the John Masters Organics shampoo to travel)*
- 2 oz. of facial cleanser in a GoToob tube
- 1 oz. of facial moisturizer in a GoToob tube – am not sure I will need much as it’ll be super hot
- 2 x 2 oz. of body moisturizer in 2 GoToob tubes – can’t bring coconut oil, need this for eczema
- Spare cap for a GoToob (I’ve broken them before)
- 1 tinted Burt’s Bees lip balm
- 1 Brown Jane Iredale Eyeliner Pencil
- 1 Black Jane Iredale Mascara
- 1 Pure and Simple Powder Foundation Compact
- 1 Makeup Forever HD Microfinish powder (takes the shine away like no other)
- 1 Jane Iredale Sunscreen powder (for the days I don’t wear a hat)
- 1 pack of makeup wipes
- 5 reusable squares of organic cotton all-purpose wipes
- Electric toothbrush + Power cord
- 2 packs of GUM interdental brushes
- [Not pictured] Feminine stuff (it’s a Diva cup)
*Soap nuts do not travel well.
They are first of all a liquid like water, not viscous at all. Second of all, they are a natural product which means unless it’s refrigerated ALL THE TIME, it will spoil once opened.
**Coconut oil also melts in hot weather.
It is fine as a solid if refrigerated or in a colder season, but during the summer IT WILL leak all over your suitcase and stain everything in coconut oil.
Yes, I have done this. And yes, my coconut oil is currently a liquid in the jar, because it’s been so hot.
- Scopolamine patch (works much better than dramamine for me)
- Allergy pills – I’m allergic to everything
- Eczema cream – Put into a tiny pot, hopefully will not have to use it
- B12 supplements – May end up eating vegan half the time
- Estrosmart supplements – Still on this until at least September
- Eyedrops – Eyes can get really dry on the plane
- Spectacles – I am blind as a bat
- Contact lens box
- 2 tubes of contact lens solution***
- 12 Contact lenses (6 spares per eye, 12 in total)
***The very old version of these contact lens solution bottles actually snap open at the top with a little work, so I just refill them with fresh contact lens solution each time I travel.
The newer models they sell for “travel size” packs now, do NOT snap off so you can’t refill them.
I saved these little bottles, and thank goodness because I reuse them constantly and save $20 each time.
This whole section can probably be eliminated for most folks but it is necessary for me.
- Yoga Paws – I am trying these out for the first time; I love yoga but don’t want to carry a mat; that little black bag beside it is for the Yoga Paws to be held inside
- Neck pillow – must have because I sleep on flights and on buses & end up with neck pain without it
- 5 Handkerchiefs – Organic cotton, will wash them daily
- Candied ginger – For nausea
- 2 packs of candy drops – To encourage my ears to pop & for any possible nausea
- Travel Umbrella – You never know
- Travel Soap – Hotel soap is really drying on my skin and not natural
- Safety pins
- Earplugs – These come in handy for very loud music events because I have ears like a baby
- Hair pins – It’s a good idea to pin back your hair underneath a hat so that it doesn’t get in your face
- 2 Tea Boxes – I bought the super tiny Glasslock ones to hold my looseleaf tea
- Swissgold Tea strainer – Easier to travel with this one, can dry it right away versus the cheesecloth which I’d prefer using, but don’t want to leave around to dry in a hotel room
- Travel pillow – Yes I travel with my own pillow. Hotel pillows are disgusting because people drool!!*
- Travel cup and spoon for tea – Ditto, because usually they have grody cups in hotel rooms, or none at all and it’s styrofoam (ick)
- [Not Pictured] Corelle Travel plates – Great for eating in the hotel room! BF will carry these.
- Tide-to-Go Pen: Handy for spills
- Travel Glasslock Box – Can use this to store food in when we travel, as we’re going plastic-free
*Note: We don’t sleep in hotel beds either, we sleep on the hard wooden plank underneath the bed / mattress, so don’t try and get smart and say they’re full of germs too.
That does it.
That’s what I’m bringing for 2 months..!
I will note that I wouldn’t even bring things like a cashmere sweater if I knew it wouldn’t be cold this year, but better safe than sorry.
I think what I packed is pretty practical for the possibly colder weather (especially at night), and to try and balance between being comfortable while being a tourist walking 15 hours a day.