living well, minimalism, travel
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My Minimalist Travel Challenge

In April I challenged myself to travel abroad for a week with nothing but items that would fit into a regular sized college backpack. That’s 7 days, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 swimsuits, 2 pairs of shorts with tanks, 2 sundresses that doubled as pool-side cover-ups, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 bras and 1 minimal make-up/product bag.   Oh-and lots and lots of travel snacks.   AND I KILLED IT-props to travel sized laundry detergent and warm night air. I’m pretty sure I’d call it my greatest accomplishment of 2016 thus far. I never once felt the need to purchase additional clothing or souvenirs-stuff that would come home and sit on a shelf collecting dust. Even if I had-there was nowhere to shop in the remote Costa Rican surf town we visited. Locals in the area travel 5-6 hours by bus to San Jose in order to shop for clothing and supplies for school-ONCE A YEAR. And that’s enough.

I applaud anyone that can travel abroad for months at a time with a single pack. But then again, do we really need to pack up our entire bathroom and closet for a vacation that’s supposedly about getting AWAY from our home and daily life? Certainly not. Now that I’ve experienced the liberation and joy of packing lightly, I can’t go back to multiple suitcases and carry-ons.


Anyone else still utilizing their college backpack? No, just me? Cool.


My husband (who I’m slowly converting into a minimalist) and I are traveling to Dallas  for an extended weekend in a few days; it’s quite the opposite of a remote surf town with absolutely zero shopping, but I’m still going to limit myself to the one pack rule. At 100 degrees +, minimal clothing will be welcomed. Below is the extent of what I’m bringing along (spoiler alert-it all fits in a shoebox).


Not pictured: the layers and ankle jeans I’ll be wearing to the airport. (I’m cold if temps drop below 80 degrees F.) And allllll the snacks-they deserve their own post!


I realize it might not be possible for colder climate destinations or business travel, but I’ll tackle that challenge when the time comes. Until then, these are a few of my tips for minimalist travel:

  1. Check airport guidelines: Ensure you have correctly sized liquid containers.  The current rule of thumb is anything over 3 oz. will need to be checked or thrown away.
  2. Plan your wardrobe in advance: Just like eating healthy or working out; it requires time and effort. I’m a major procrastinator, but if I have a few key pieces coordinated, the rest is easy.
  3. Choose neutral colored clothing when possible to mix and match outfits:  A few colorful accessories can seriously change up your style.
  4. Two pairs of shoes-max:  Who’s really going to notice if you wear the same pair of shoes more than once? Flats take up little space, are easy to dress up and let’s be real-the older we get ladies, the fewer heels we need.
  5. Make-up and products: Why carry around our entire cosmetic bag- especially when we only use a few certain products at a time.  Utilize those travel sized samples that we have too many of already! Transfer any liquids (shampoo, sunscreen, body wash, moisturizer, etc.) into appropriately sized containers.
  6. Limit bulky equipment like blow dryers and hair styling tools: Guys-lucky you.  Ladies-thank goodness messy buns and beachy waves are in.
  7. Roll.  I’ve found rolling your clothing saves space and prevents wrinkling.  (see above phot0).

Anyone have packing suggestions to share; I’ll need them when I graduate to suitable luggage! Stay tuned for a post on healthy travel snacking!


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