Packing for a vacation isn't always easy, whether you are planning on traveling to Denmark for a couple of days, Tanzania for a few weeks or Iceland for a year. But it is possible to still look good and feel well while packing and bringing with you less. In the end, you will end up with a collection of only items and pieces that you absolutely adore.
Bring with you items that double as something else.
For instance, a big scarf is a multi-purpose use. Wear it to cover up for the afternoon sun or mosquitoes at dusk, wrap around you when you're cold or if you are visiting someplace religious that requires you to do so, use as a skirt or in your hair. Coconut oil has many different purposes as well, like body lotion, makeup remover, oil pulling, cooking oil and one out of two ingredients to make toothpaste. Another idea is to create a system by separating your belongings in your backpack. Store your shoes in the same place by putting your them in a canvas bag that you can also bring towels etc into the beach or stash your camera gear in a bag that doubles as a produce bag. Finding ways one can be both practical and minimal is the key to minimalist packing.
A simple color palette is key.
Build a wardrobe whereas many pieces go with each other as possible. Neutral colors, like black, oatmeal and white, and no/simple patterns are easiest to work with, as they go with a lot of different things. A rule you can have with yourself while packing is that no matter what top or bottom you pull out of your closet, suitcase or backpack it has to look nice together.
Determine what is most important to you.
It is all about priorities. If you love to read you can choose to bring a few extra books with you instead of certain articles of clothing. Once you’ve finished a book you can ask if the hotel/ Airbnb/ hostel has a place where you can leave your book for others to read it or look for a "book-switch shop", where you exchange one or two books you’ve read, for a book someone else has left behind. Maybe you love to take photos, and therefore would like to bring multiple cameras. Determine what you can live without and you might just have space for what you for sure would not be able to live without.
Backpack, rather than a suitcase.
Packing in a backpack makes it impossible to bring a lot with you. In other words, you have to limit yourself. You can perhaps even bring it with you as hand luggage, which can save time at the airport and money.
If you are interested in living a minimal or zero waste lifestyle, traveling can for sure be a challenge. What we think is vital to making this work is your mindset. Know that you might have to use some plastic here and there and you might not be happy about it. With that said, when preparing for your travels there are things you can bring with you to limit the amount of plastic you might have to use. For instance be sure to bring along canvas bags for the market, a filer waterbottle and tin packed sunscreen. It is all about doing your best to generate less waste.
You never need to bring as much as you think.
This sounds pretty basic. When you think you've finished packing and are satisfied, you should think twice and start eliminating some items. If you are traveling for a month, don't pack for a month - pack for a week or less. Evaluate what you are bringing with you depending on where you are going. For example, if you are going to spend much time outside and in the ocean, it is not really necessary to bring makeup or long sleeved shirts. So remember to think through how you are going to be spending your days before packing two different types of mascaras.
Memories. Not souvenirs.
This is more about how to be traveling like a minimalist but... just remember to don't fall into the trap of buying something off impulse just because it's cheap, you're in a rush or just to buy something etc. Think through what you need and if you'll ever look back at it when coming home or in say 10 years time. Another tip - instead of purchasing souvenirs, put different museum tickets, pressed flowers, and train tickets in a journal. Or simply write down your experiences or capture them on film to save both space and money.