Updated June 22, 2020.
Have you ever considered going minimalist? Do you think you could? As a light packer, I always try to be as streamlined and efficient as possible with what I pack—which will also be what I lug with me wherever I go! For my last couple of trips, I tried to go as minimal as I could without compromising reasonable comfort or good hygiene. Here are a few things a minimalist would leave behind without thinking twice!
Hair dryers, straighteners, flat irons, electric razors, electric toothbrushes, etc., will all take up valuable space and add weight to your suitcase, backpack, or other luggage. Oh, and don’t forget the chargers and power cords. Additionally, many of these items are not able to convert to the correct electrical voltage. Even with an adaptor that will make the plug fit correctly into the outlet, you could still fry your styling tools without the correct converter—which also takes up space!
For men this is less of a problem. For women, get comfortable wearing your hair in its natural state. Find or create hair styles that work without the help of extra appliances. Use a regular toothbrush instead of your expensive electric toothbrush. It’s only for a few days! Use a regular razor—or better yet, buy a disposable one when you get to your destination so you won’t have to pack it at all!
Many hotels will have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and razors at the front desk, and if not, there is usually a pharmacy nearby. Hotels and other accommodations also have hair dryers either in your room or at the front desk, so all you have to do is ask!
Do you really need your phone, kindle, iPad, iPad mini, personal laptop, work laptop, DVD player, DSLR camera, etc., etc., etc.? How many different chargers do all of those electronics need? And so you have to pack how many power adapters? I’m not saying to travel like it’s 1899, but think minimally. One of the nice things about some of those products is that they talk to each other through the Cloud or other data storage entity. So you don’t need to bring them all!
My whole business is online. Social media are the bane of my existence and yet also the essential link from me to my readers (that’s you!). But I can literally do everything I need to do on my phone while traveling. Sure, bring your kindle along (instead of 50 physical books), but leave the rest at home. This little gadget is actually a minimalist’s dream come true!
I said I would not be compromising good hygiene, and I still mean it! But here is a quick list of toiletries you can buy when you get there, ask for at the hotel, or simply go without:
- 95% of your hair styling products (I often pack only a couple of hair ties and a travel-size mousse)
- 95% of your makeup (I can make it with just eyeliner and/or mascara; give it a try!)
Hotels will have most of the above items complimentary in your room, or you can ask for them at the front desk. Not available? Make a quick stop in a nearby convenience store for travel-size essentials you can leave behind when you go back home!
Exceptions: contact solution, hair products, and medical necessities like contact solution. My favorite solid solution: solid, reef-safe sunscreen!
You might need three pair of shoes for different occasions: sneakers for walking around, water shoes for the ocean, sandals for an evening out to dinner or a show. You will not need 15 pair of shoes. Ever.
You should pack one pair of extra pants. You won’t need 8 pair of pants, no matter where you go or how long your trip!
It’s a good idea to take a black top with you, since black goes with everything and doesn’t show stains too much. You do not need more than one black shirt!
You see what I’m getting at? Take a good, honest look at your clothes before you pack them, then put some back. A good rule of thumb is to bring half the clothes you think you’ll need, so put half of it back in your closet! And then put a couple more things back, too.
The most important thing a minimalist traveler leaves behind is the fee for any and all luggage! Packing light not only saves space, it also saves considerable cash. Luggage fees can be $25, $50, or even several hundreds of dollars, so when you wonder if it’s worth it to go minimal, the answer will always be yes!
Are you ready to go minimalist? Tell me below!
And for more about how to pack, what to pack, and what to leave behind, check out my Packing Page!
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