How Packing Like A Minimalist Will Change Your Travels For The Rest Of Your Life

Even if traveling is not always possible, there are still skills you can learn around it. Packing efficiently is one of them. Whether you are a photograph who needs to bring all his gears along, or a business traveller with electronic devices, there are several elements you can focus on to up your packing skills.


Even if traveling is not always possible, there are still skills you can learn around it.  packing efficiently   is one of them. Whether you are a photograph who needs to bring all his gears along, or a  business traveller   with electronic devices, there are several elements you can focus on to up your packing skills.

First, you must realize that there are at least two areas where you can improve: the stuff you bring, and how you pack it. It would be much easier to help you if you were simply a tourist without any gear, but if it was the case, you would not have that much packing problems. That’s why we will give you tips about everything but your gear, because you are the one who knows the best about it.

Then, the second area is the way you pack. Inefficient packing can take up to 100% more space than efficient packing. As a bag pack traveller, I will give you the tips I learnt during my trips in Scotland, Spain and Russia. That will be in the second part of this article.

What should you bring?

The first improvement area is about the objects themselves. What do you really need to bring to have a good trip, without having to change your plans?

Minimalism is a movement that aims to simplify life and live with fewer things around you. However, minimalism is not something that limits the seamless protection of your home and workspace. It also provides the opportunity to travel and see the world, especially if you're on a budget or planning a long trip.

The minimalist traveler can get cheaper flights, feel more comfortable on the road, spend less time waiting for bags to arrive, reduce the risk of theft, and blend in better with local cultures.

The minimum necessary

Let’s start the work with the list of the minimum necessary. For most people, here is what you need:

This list is the minimum. Of course, you may think about your safety and want to bring some medicine with you. It would be a great idea if you had unlimited space. The thing is that when you are limited by your suitcase, you must take risks.

The first risk we will take is about clothes: we usually tend to bring one extra top, or one extra underwear, for whatever reason. On most cases, we come back with that extra underwear still folded in the suitcase. That shows how useless it is. Furthermore, if you are in urgent need of clothes, you can buy them: even if you do a world tour, you will find shops everywhere. So, no pressure, you can take this risk and decide to not bring any more clothes than required. The minimum clothes needed is 1 top per day, 1 underwear per day, 1 pair of socks per day and 1 pants for every 4 days.

We will apply the same reasoning to the medicines. Except if you have a specific allergy or a daily pathology, it is useless to bring a first-aid kit because every pharmacy sells this. This is even more true if your classic first-aid kit is usually full of pads. Don’t worry, you will find all the pads you want in local pharmacies.

The minimum of the minimum?

The list we browsed earlier can still be cut. Indeed, if you travel to a hotel, towels are not necessary, just like soap. Even if you go to hostels, you can remove the towel of your suitcase. It takes a lot of space and removing it will lighten it drastically. I travelled in hostels in both Edinburgh and Menorca and I simply brought an Eastpack bag with me because I did not need to bring a towel.

On the other hand, if you do couch surfing, it’s better to bring towel and shower gel, to respect the hosts. If you get on well with your host before the trip, you can still send him a message. We never know, he may accept to lighten your suitcase.

Every travel is different

The minimum necessary can change depending on the situation! Indeed, every trip is different. Here, for your safety, it would be a good idea to bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you. We encourage you to follow some general travel hygiene tips. There may always be external reasons which make the minimum necessary list change. Make sure to stay informed before traveling.

Gain space by packing better

Let’s jump onto the second part: how to pack. We said in the introduction that packing wrong can double the space needed! That means that you will need two identical suitcases instead of one if you pack wrong. What is packing right then? It’s optimizing your space.

Clothes take a lot of space in your suitcase, especially if you are a  business traveller   and you must bring a suit. But clothes take a lot of space only if you pack them wrong. Indeed, if you put them unfolded in your suitcase and push them as hard as possible, it will take more space as if you tidy them. Then, if you do follow this piece of advice and tidy your clothes, it will take less space, but it can still be better. In fact, it can still be way better if you use the proper techniques.

Ranger Packing

Ranger packing is a technique used by the scouts and the army. It consists of rolling your clothes in little rolls, like a Japanese sushi. The sushi is composed of one underwear, one pair of socks and one top. Follow this tutorial to master ranger packing. It will save you a lot of space.

Ranger Packing is not recommended for suits or shirts: it can create folds and stretch clothes if it is done wrong. The best is that you take your suit in a different bag made for it.

The order matters

If you take a plane, you will have to go through the security controls. They will ask you to remove liquids, electronic devices and everything metallic from your bag. That’s why you should make the access to these items as easy as possible. In order to do that, you must start packing the other things.

We advise you to start with the clothes. Put your rolls in your suitcase. Then, on top of them, put your towel, your toiletry bag and your gear. Keep everything else in your pockets. Once you arrive at the security check, you must simply empty your pockets, open your suitcase and remove the upper layer to be good to go.

If you followed these tips closely, we guarantee that you will never travel as heavy as before.
Guillaume Borde, Roots Travler
Guillaume Borde, Roots Travler

Guillaume Borde is a French 19-year-old student who launched his website to inspire people to travel and share his values. Interested in minimalism, he also writes books in French during his spare time.

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