Packing is the worst. Just when you think you’ve nailed the process, renegade shoes and forgotten electronics find ways to make a brain teaser out of your suitcase. You give up and pack another bag, but when you arrive at the airport, it costs not one but both your arms and legs in baggage fees. Ah, the joys of travel!
Avoid extra baggage fees and worries that baggage claim will relocate your favorite clothes to Tanzania. The art of minimalist packing is here to rescue your sanity and your wallet by getting all your stuff in a single carry-on bag.
1. Make Clothing Logs
Make logs out of your clothing to save room in your carry-on. Roll your t-shirts, tanks, pants, skirts and undies. Your dress clothing is less likely to wrinkle when you choose rolling over folding, but bundling is best with multiple wrinkle-prone clothes. Surround the wrinkle-prone garments with the ones you don’t mind getting wrinkled, like soldiers guarding the royal family.
2. Take Stock of Your Last Trip
To shorten your packing list, take stock of what went unused on your last trip. What about rarely used items? Ditch the extra products and hairdryer and choose a multi-purpose product like 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner instead. Are there items you pack for plans that never happen or you regret? For example, do you pack a bulky camera only to barely use it and have to lug it around? Ditch the extra items and switch up your routine. Pick up a book from a local bookstore on your trip or use your smartphone or tablet to do your reading or watch pre-downloaded videos.
Leave non-essential items off of your packing list to leave more room for what matters. Focus on the purpose of your trip and how these extra packed items will only detract from your experience.
3. Call Ahead
When planning your trip, do research and get in touch with the places you’ll stay and visit in advance. Calling ahead prevents surprises and reduces your packing list and spending.
Many hotels and other facilities supply basic items such as shampoo, conditioner and a hairdryer, while you can request other items at the front desk. You’ll also find out what amenities are missing, so you can make a better deal elsewhere. More extras may mean more money upfront but could also save you money when packing. Pick a place with a washer and dryer so you can reuse and reduce your packed clothing — a basic black tank or skirt works in many outfits and situations. You’ll have clean clothes for the trip home too.
If following a tour guide, call the office and ask if supplies will be covered, as well as what you should pick up and from where.
4. Cut Down on Tech
Your technology needs will vary depending on whether you’re taking a vacation or a business trip. Are you a tech junkie? What habits can you do without on the trip? Gaming can wait for when you’re home, but your to-do list, alarms and fitness apps are intrinsic to your daily routine.
Your minimalist tech list should include the basics, which will differ for each person. A smartphone and 2-in-1 tablet will get you farther than you think. Instead of packing multiple cords, don’t forget about the power of charging by USB. A backup charger and battery pack are always good ideas, especially in case of an emergency. Tie or bag up your cords to save more room. Lesser amounts of technology will also enhance your experience. More people spend less on non-essential items these days and more on experiences, such as recreation and food, yet those experience-seekers must also reevaluate how they spend their time. Instead of being focused on taking the perfect picture, enjoy the beauty of the landscape and memorize it with your five senses.
5. Wear Bulky Items on the Plane
Weather permitting, wear your bulkier items on the plane. You’ll have more room in your carry-on for your essentials. Wear your coat, or tie an extra-long sleeve shirt or light sweater around your waist. Use these five minimalist packing tips to pack light but still be well-prepared. From rolling up your clothes to using multi-purpose products, you create space in your carry-on and space for experience without the extra charges and stress. By bringing less stuff on your trip, you’ll optimize your experience while traveling and save money, too.
Kayla Matthews is a wanderlusting blogger and senior writer at MakeUseOf. Her work has appeared in Afar Magazine, The Next Web, Houzz and Inman. Read her About.Me page here.