I’ve written a number of posts about how to pack lightly:
- How to pack lightly for traveling with just the essentials in a carry-on
- Minimalist Packing: 1 Carryon. 1 Bag. 2 months in Europe.
- 10 Items You Need To Pack in a Suitcase for going in between Two Temperatures
- Current Travelling Essentials (2012)
- Perfect Travel Outfit
But what if you just want to have a basic packing list and go from there?
See, I hate, hate, HATE checking in any kind of luggage, and I also hate wheeling, carrying and dealing with heavy luggage.
If I could just go with a backpack, I would, because where I normally visit (Europe) they have old metro stations and it tends to be a whole lot of stairs rather than escalators and elevators.
So assuming I am a normal person (by normal, I mean I don’t bring my own pillow or cutlery) I present to you, my Bare Bones Packing List.
Obviously, you should adjust this as you see fit (e.g. guys may not have to bring makeup for instance).
TIMELINE: 2 WEEKS
WEATHER: WARM TO HOT
CLOTHES: 3 outfits, 4 pairs of underwear
3 OUTFITS = THE MAGIC NUMBER
One to wear on the plane (your traveling outfit), one to change into, and another as a spare when your other two outfits (for some reason) are dirty.
3 is the magic number in this case because it accounts for one of the outfits being unwearable for some period of time.
Now, what you consider an “outfit” might vary.
Me, I’d call a single dress, an outfit.
As for underwear, bring 4 pairs to be doubly sure you can wear a fresh pair daily (and ladies, at least 2 bras, you can wear one, but bring a spare).
BRING NATURAL FABRICS
This is not the time to be stylish in polyester. Polyester doesn’t let your body and skin breathe, it sticks to you like cling wrap and makes you sweat up a storm because it keeps in the heat.
SAY NO TO POLYESTER.
Might I suggest linen, cotton, even WOOL?
WEAR THE WARMEST OUTFIT ON THE PLANE
You may be heading somewhere warm, but getting there means traveling in an icebox in the sky.
Bring a “warm” outfit that consists of jeans or a long skirt, long-sleeved tops (and a sweater!), and a pashmina or some sort of shawl/wrap blanket to stay warm on the plane (put it on your lap, everyone forgets about how cold your legs will get) and THICK, WOOLLY SOCKS.
Your feet will thank you.
Also, you may never know when the temperature goes all wonky on you wherever you are in the world.
Cases in point:
I was in China one summer and it was SO COLD, I almost paid $50 for a fleece jacket like some dumbass.
I was in Vancouver during the summer and a sudden cold wave hit the city, it rained and I was freezing. I had to shell out $5 for this hideous brown sweater to stay warm.
… I was in Portugal during the height of their summer and the nights turned so cold, I was wearing my only sweater over my thin summer dresses and I was STLL cold.
I think you get the idea.
BRING A COVERUP OR A SHAWL, OR A T-SHIRT THAT COVERS YOUR SHOULDERS/SLEEVES
Some attractions I visited in Europe did not allow you to enter without covering your shoulders out of respect.
Luckily, I had brought a long-sleeved linen shirt along with me (for the sun) and I wore that… but otherwise, a lot of tourists were getting fleeced, paying $10 for a cheap coverup just to be able to enter the church.
WEAR SLIP ON SHOES OR YOUR HEAVIEST PAIR FOR THE PLANE
You want to be comfortable and make it through security easily, so bring/wear your slip on shoes through security, unless you are like me, and you wear hiking boots on vacation because you walk so much, in which case, wear your heaviest pair of shoes through security and deal with it so that you don’t have to pack them in your suitcase.
WASH STUFF EVERY NIGHT
It’s the only way you’ll make it through with so little packed. Look on the bright side, not much laundry to do when you return!
BRING ALL YOUR CHARGERS
I wouldn’t really bring any electronics except my iPod Touch (it’s my digital organizer) and my digital camera, and that would just mean bringing an extra memory card, battery and the charger for both devices.
If you can get away with it, don’t bring ANY electronics, not even a laptop.
Bring a book if you need something to read (a real book, like one with pages??)
Me, I can’t go without a laptop because I tend to go for months at a time, not weeks, so I need a laptop to download all my photos and clear my cards and check my emails.
Otherwise, I’d travel without a laptop.
CONSIDER NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES & IPOD
Depending on how long the flight is, you may or may not need these. For anything over 3 hours, I bring my Bose headphones. Anything under and I don’t bother.
They help me sleep, block out the noise and crying infants and are a godsend when you just need to unwind.
Otherwise, I just bring my Kobo Glo and I read.
Aside from the usual suspects: toothbrush, and toothpaste (although I don’t use any, personally)… you will want to bring your:
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Facial Cleanser
- Facial Moisturizer
- Body Moisturizer
- Lip Balm
- Any medications you need
Those are all the products you need.
You don’t need anything else. Not even makeup.
I bring makeup EVERY SINGLE TIME I go on vacation and I NEVER use it.
I bring it just in case but it’s a total waste of space.
Contrary to popular myth, your skin DOES get used to your products and works very effectively with what you are slathering on your face daily, so BRING YOUR OWN STUFF so that you don’t upset your skin by trying to use drying, overly scented products at the hotel (no matter how cute or branded the name is).
BRING AN UMBRELLA
Go and buy a super cheap, super light umbrella and bring it. You never know when you might need it (super sunny, or it’s raining), and you will be glad you have this cheap, lightweight thing in your suitcase. Otherwise, you might end up shelling out some euros for an umbrella you don’t even want.