Living in a car for nearly a year made me pick up number of travel-related skills, here and there. Having limited available space forced “less is more” philosophy on me, and it’s something I carried over into more stationary life. Right now I’m taking a break from car dwelling and living in a small apartment in Bay Area. It didn’t stop my love for travel though, as I’m writing this entry on my flight to Nassau, Bahamas. 5 days at the destination, leisure. One of the many weekends I’m not home.
I’m not traveling alone this time, and my traveling partner has a similar outlook on travel.
Less is more. Every trip starts with packing. I use my eBags Motherlode Weekender backpack, which is about the perfect size for me when it’s compressed tightly. I can probably fit in double the stuff I packed in the backpack, but I love having room in case I pick something up at the destination.
I never have to check in my bag, and it’s light enough to carry on my back without any strain. I can explore my destination as soon as I arrive, without the need to find arrangement for my bags.
I pack minimally, only having two-three sets of each type of clothing. I hand-wash the clothes I wear before I go to bed. I cycle through a total of 3 pairs of undergarments - most dry overnight as I sleep.
Furthermore, all my outfits can be mixed and matched together, so I don’t have to worry about pairing tops, bottoms, and shoes. I like to think I have some sense of style to, for those wondering. Most people I meet won’t likely see me for more then one-two days in a row, and those who do are not likely to pay attention to my small wardrobe - as long as it looks clean and sharp.
Here’s what the clothing items for this trip look like:
- Business-casual dress-shirt.
- Two T-shirts.
- Pair of shorts.
- Icebreaker merino underwear, 2 pairs.
- Darn Tough socks, 2 pairs.
- Swimming trunks.
- Travel towel, for the beach.
- Flip flops.
- Workout outfit:
- Tank top.
- Sports underwear.
- Running sneakers.
All of the above is contained within a single packing cube and a travel shoe bag.
Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s plenty (add the outfit I’m wearing on the plane - pants, T-shirt, sweater, shoes, pair of underwear, socks). The above lets me have outfits for all kinds of events, activities, and anticipated weather at the destination.
My personal hygiene stuff fits in a dettachable bag which comes with the backpack. Not much special here:
- Quick dry scrub net.
- Contact lenses.
For entertainment and downtime I have my trusty Google Pixel C (with attached keyboard) and a pair of cheap apple ear buds. Bonus point for USB C standard - I only need to use a single charger for my tablet and a phone.
Traveling with a space obsessed partner (him: Hey!) has forced me to look at packing in a different way. I first experimented with the idea of minimalism after watching The BucketList Family and avoiding airline fees is always a bonus. With every trips, I refined my set up. While I am not as lightweight and nimble as my partner, I have made significant improvements to my travel routine and picked up a few tips and tricks from him.
For example, the eBag Weekender was my first real travel purchase, which I made sure to always have ready for use, meaning that it’s always stocked with toiletries, travel documents and packing cubes. Given my propensity for sweating, I upgraded to a clean/dirty packing cube and a charcoal odor remover for my workout outfit.
For this trip, this is what is inside my bag including the clothes I am wearing to travel:
- A tank top.
- A hoodie.
- A denim jacket.
- Lululemon leggings.
- Bra and underwear.
In my luggage:
- Button on shirt.
- Tank top.
- Pair of pants.
- Pair of shorts.
- Rain jacket.
- 5 pairs of underwear (one is never too prepared in terms of underwear, and this is where I refuse to become a minimalist).
- Workout oufit:
- Dry fit T-shirt.
- One pair of socks.
- Workout bra.
- Sports sneakers.
- Makeup brush.
- Travel-friendly lotion.
- Natural oil for face washing purposes.
- Feminine hygiene soap
- Ingrown hair serum.
- L’Instant de Guerlain perfume (while the current bottle takes a lot of space and adds weight, I have yet to find a travel friendly way to carry it).
If you haven’t noticed, my backpack is bigger, and my setup is a bit heavier. To be perfectly honest, I am not yet fully on board with this whole minimalistic travel but I have got to say, my shoulders are thankful.
Making Yourself at Home
We’ve learned from the bucket list family that it’s really important to unpack as soon as we get to a hotel. Especially since it’s easy to do when there’s little clothing in the bags. This way we feel at home whenever we go, even if we’re just staying at a hotel for a single night. Every item is in it’s place, and there’s no digging through the bags for clothes or gadgets.
We’ve also found that we really value downtime, every day we travel. Taking time to unwind (however long it needs to be) in the hotel room, a coffee shop, or anywhere else helps take the edge off flying and booking accommodations and the subconscious pressure to have fun as a pair.
We’ve learned this the hard way on our first trip together. Our days were packed with activities and sightseeing stops, and we were at each other’s throats by the end of the trip. Lesson learned.