Minimalist Packing Tips for Slow Travel

Minimalist Packing Tips for Slow Travel

Packing is often the most anxiety-inducing aspect of travel. Countless decisions over what to wear and which essentials to take can overshadow the enjoyment of a much anticipated holiday. The chaos of an overstuffed bag with last-minute additions being squeezed into the side pockets quickly add to the stress of travel, making it more complicated than it needs to be.

There is another way! Slow travel, where pre-planning and purposeful choices replace panic packing, will transform your travel experience. Discover how packing like a minimalist can liberate travel with with these simple and easy to follow packing tips that will not only lighten your load but make your adventures more enjoyable.

How do I know if I'm overpacking?

If your suitcase won't close, your backpack is too heavy, and you return home having barely used most of the things you packed—you're overpacking! It's usually down to worrying about the "what-ifs" and planning for the worst case scenario. This leads to packing unnecessary items that have the potential to be useful—in a very specific situation!—but are rarely ever needed on most trips.

Over-packers often leave packing until the last minute. With very little time to think about the destination, plan outfits, or consult a checklist; the panic sets in and as much as possible gets thrown into a bag to cover all bases—whether it's needed or not!

How do you pack minimally for a long trip?

Overpacking is easy to do but thankfully it's just as easy to avoid. Make travel simple by following a few travel packing tips that maximise space and minimise possessions. Regardless of the duration of a trip, pack for a week. Use a travel checklist, plan outfits and create a travel capsule, and only take a bag that's big enough for the essentials. Get used to repeating outfits; laundry can always be done while travelling, and rarely is anything left behind that can't be replaced if it's desperately needed.

Minimalist Packing Tips for Slow Travel

Minimalist Packing Tips

Make a Packing List

A packing list helps with intentional slow travel, ensuring you pack only what you need depending on the destination and the activities you plan to do there. A travel checklist should include everything from the essentials right down to any extras that are location and weather specific. Having a pre-made travel checklist will eliminate the stress of last-minute panic packing and ensure you're only taking what you truly need on your travels.

Choose the Right Size Luggage

Wherever possible, opt to travel with a single carry-on bag. Limiting space is the easiest way to travel light as there's only enough room for the most important travel essentials. Travelling with just one bag means it's less likely to get lost and there are no hidden checking fees.

If travelling by air, make sure to check cabin bag sizes and weight restrictions. Each airline will have different regulations—and often purposefully try to catch you out! Avoid getting stung by unexpected fees by travelling with the correct size cabin bag.

Although taking hand luggage only is the easiest way to travel lighter, it isn't always possible. For longer trips and cold destinations, trying to fit everything into a single carry-on bag can be quite the squeeze. Don't sacrifice an enjoyable travel experience just to save on luggage space!

Plan Travel Outfits

Arguably the best way to reduce the amount of clothes you need when travelling is to create a travel capsule wardrobe by planning outfits. Don't just plan outfits either, try them on. That way you'll know exactly how each item can be mixed and matched to maximise outfits that can be created. If an item of clothing is hard to style or fussy to wear, swap it out for something else.

Aim for around 15 items for each travel capsule wardrobe, including tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and one pair of shoes. This doesn't include lingerie or small accessories, like jewellery. While 15 items might not seem like much—especially if you're used to overpacking!—it's possible to make over 50 outfits.

To simplify packing even further, follow 'the rule of three' when creating a travel capsule. Using this rule means packing only three of every item—three tops, three bottoms, three pairs of socks, and three pairs of underwear, etc. It certainly simplifies the packing process, although this method does require doing laundry while travelling!

Wear a Travel Outfit

When travelling to and from the destination, wear a designated travel outfit. Something comfortable and easy to wear that can also be worn for lounging in. An oversized tee and leggings or joggers, or a large sweatshirt and bike shorts are all comfy options perfect for travelling in. Having an assigned travel outfit means you won't have to think about what to wear in the car, on the train, or in the plane. It won't matter if it gets mucky as it's not part of the main travel capsule wardrobe.

Keep Footwear Simple

Shoes are bulky to pack when travelling. It's often possible to get away with packing a single pair of versatile shoes for an entire trip. Whether it's for a short weekend away or a few weeks vacation, a reliable pair of boots, shoes, or sandals will cover most travel adventures. Not everyone will feel comfortable only packing one pair of shoes and some trips may benefit from having a second option. Whatever shoes you pack, make sure to use a shoe bag to store them in, which will protect the rest of your bag from getting dirty.

Use Packing Cubes

Whether you choose to roll or fold clothes, packing cubes will maximise space and keep your belongings organised. Not matter whether you're using a backpack or a suitcase, packing cubes are a useful way of grouping items together making them easier to locate without having to rummage through your entire bag. Use them to separate clean and dirty laundry, and keep important documents and electronics separate. Packing cubes will also prevent bulging and uneven weight distribution making bags and backpacks more comfortable to carry.

Minimise Toiletries and Cosmetics

When it comes to toiletries and cosmetics, try to pack only the must-have essentials. If you don't want to rely on the products provided by hotels or rentals while away, or in situations where they're not provided; decant products from home into travel-sized bottles for use while travelling. For cosmetics, a custom makeup palette will save space while maximising options.

Packing multi-use products is a great way to minimise the amount of toiletries when travelling. A multi-tasking travel bar can be used as a shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, and facial cleanser. It can even protect against mosquitos and soothe sunburn. This option won't work for everyone as soap bars can be quite harsh but will really save on space.