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A Guide to Minimalist Packing

This blog post was originally published on the Stray & Wander blog on February 28, 2019.

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.

If I’m being honest, I was originally attracted to the culture of minimalism because I’m a neat freak and I loved how organized everything looked. The thing is, once I slowly started to actually apply it to my life, I realized it offered so much more than just good aesthetics. Minimalism is about being intentional and conscious. About getting rid of the “noise” and getting down to what actually makes you happy. It means less decision fatigue and more energy to enjoy LIFE. When you have fewer decisions and fewer things to take care of, you can focus on what is more important: experiences and people.

Minimalism has made me a happier and more productive person. When I started applying it to travel, I found that my experiences became so much more enjoyable!

I recently travelled to Jamaica for 5 days and took only a small backpack. I had everything I needed, and deciding what to wear in the morning took little to no time! I had so many people asking me how the heck I did this, that I decided to share some tips!

Here’s how you can travel lighter and experience the joy of minimalist travel...

Start by laying everything you “think” you need out on your bed. This will give you a clear view and help you to decide what is really necessary.

The Basics (day to day)

We all know we’ll need underwear, socks, comfortable shoes and (hopefully) a bathing suit depending on where you’re going. This is a great place to start. I would also add basic tanks/tee shirts and pants/shorts. Basics are the best, because they’ll allow you to layer clothing, which means you can reuse outfits. Repeating outfits means packing less!


Next, try and find items that can do double duty. My Hair Towel from Stray & Wander is a perfect example. When I joined the S&W team in Jamaica, I wore it as a scarf to and from the airport, I then used it as a travel blanket on the plane, and as a sarong and a towel once I hit the beach. Oh, and that one morning I wanted to sleep in, I covered my head with it to keep the light out.

Essential Hair Products

Fortunately, pretty much all products come in a travel size, check out our travel shop here! This is perfect if you’re like me and only want to travel with a carry on bag and need to ensure all your liquids are kept to under 100ml. You can always find out in advance if the place you’re staying at has a blow dryer (if you feel like you really need it), but honestly, undone hair with texture is SO in, so try embracing those waves! If you really love your tools… can you divide them up with your travel buddies and share? 

Everything else…

Your favourite jeans? Your comfiest sweater? Line them all up and decide which you can use for multiple outings. That romper that’s great for the beach would probably look amazing with cute shoes and those hoops you love. Going back to the basic tank tops you already packed, you can layer those under your sweater, keeping it fresh for other outfits on different days.

Now, here’s the challenge: look at everything you’ve laid out and ask yourself if there is any overlap? Do you NEED two pairs of heels? Two pairs jeans? I know you love them both, but would one of them work for everything? Pare down what you can. I promise, once you realize that it’s not about what you wear but the places you go, you’ll be hooked on this new way of packing.

It’s become a fun challenge for me to see just how far I can push this. When I return from travelling I always take stock by asking myself two questions - if there’s anything I felt that I was missing? And, did I wear everything that I packed?

Happy travels!


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