In Packing, Travel

How to pack the basic essentials for traveling

Traveling lightly is difficult, but if you can learn to do it, it will make your life so much easier.

If you’re really annoyed every time you travel just because you always end up packing too much and not using any of it, this is my guide of what I consider essentials for myself that might be helpful.

NOTE: I like to pack the essentials, but my idea of what is necessary may differ greatly from yours.

When I travel, I care very little about wearing variety in my outfits, and I am not hung up on how I look without makeup, especially now that my skin has improved greatly.

My motto is: Am I ever really going to ever see these people again?

So unless I am going to a specific event, then I’ll pack what I need for that, but otherwise… forget it!

On occasion, I run into people I know, but as I am decently dressed and presentable, it never bothers me.

Click on the infographic to biggify if you need to


That’s it.

Those are all my essentials.

I sometimes bring more, or less depending on my mood, but it ALL fits into one carry-on, and I’ve really gone for a month with just the above.

What do you bring?

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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 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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  1. Whitney

    Where did this 87% of luggage is lost or stolen yearly come from? I cannot believe that is true. The statistics I found were .8% or less. The only thing I found with 87% was that of all the luggage that is lost, 87% of it originated at curbside bag drop off. None the less, great infographic. I’m not going to be able to get my packing down to THAT few of things, but i think I can definitely cut back!

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Oo!! Perhaps I made an error and read it wrongly/picked the wrong statistic.

      Thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention!!

  2. Nina

    This is excellent, exactly what I was looking for: the basics to survive. I like to make my trips about the journey itself and not be too worried about what I wear, how I look like or be bothered by too much junk.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Excellent, thank you! 🙂

  3. lily riani

    I would like to use this visual for my blog, I will link and credit back to your blog. I like how you make it looks so simple and clean. Hope you are ok with this.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      You have my blessing as long as you credit the blog with the link 🙂

      1. lily riani

        Done. Just a simple Friday evening read for my loyal readers. I hyperlinked a few times so that no one misses it :).


  4. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Lovely infographic! I always pack way, way more for short trips than long trips. Usually it’s because for the long trips I’m putting way more thought into it and have a better rough idea of what I’ll be doing and where I’ll be. So far the best I’ve done was 2.5 months with a 25L bag and a camelbak.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I’d agree with that. If I was in a car, I’d take more than if I was thinking, otherwise it is a carryon.

  5. tomatoketchup

    Woolite is a great item for light travelers. It is gentler than regular laundry detergents and washes out very easily making the rinsing process nice and efficient.

    The Flexo-line is also a cool litte device for hanging up wet clothes in various hotels and hostels with space constraints.

    Over the years, I’ve accumulated nice travel clothes made of quick dry material that even in the most humid conditions will dry completely overnight. As I’ve found out in the past, packing and hauling around wet cotton clothes in your bag is not ideal.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Cotton is the WORST for traveling. It really soaks up moisture and stretches out.

      I generally drape my things everywhere after washing them (I wash frequently, so it’s just a few pieces), but once I was in a fancy hotel, and they had a laundry line built in over the tub for travelers to hang their things up, like the Flexo-line.


  6. Cassie

    This was a perfectly timed post! I’ve been thinking lately about what I’ll need to pack when I head to Hawaii in February. I haven’t actually decided what I’m taking yet, but I’ll definitely be referencing this post! In all likelihood I’ll pack 7 pairs of underwear for the 7 days we’re there rather than 3, but otherwise I like this list as a starting point. I’ll post pictures when I’m actually packing 🙂

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Please do! I’d love to see what you pack and pick up ideas.

  7. Pauline

    Do you know the versalette? I do not own one but it looks pretty neat, with one piece of clothing you can do several outfits, using it as a dress, skirt or top. I pack light already and use a batik as a skirt, towel, head cover, scarf, sheet to sleep on planes or trains… I love multi purpose items.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I have heard of it but I don’t really like things that do too many functions.
      I need a few pieces that do their job perfectly rather than one that does many (I would have to bring a few pieces anyway to change)!

  8. StudentDebtSurvivor

    I bought a pair of lands end “starfish” pants a while back and I love them for traveling. They feel like stretch pants, but look dressy enough that I can wear them to dinners out and nicer functions. In a pinch I’ve slept in them and they’re just as comfortable as pj pants. They wash easily in a hotel sink and you can wear them for days without worrying about them stretching out. I used to be a heavy packer, but with all the new airline restrictions and the hassle checking bags, I’m now a carry on only traveler. Great post.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I’ve never been a heavy packer because I’ve always been responsible for my own pack. That tends to make me want to bring as little as possible.
      Lands Starfish huh? I’ll look them up. Could be good for work 🙂


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