I’ve always loved traveling light or minimally. Well, the growing fees for extra luggage helped it too. After losing luggage a few times, or flying with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Wizz Air, or others, some of my solo traveler friends have joined my “Light Travel Club” as well.
And by saying that I choose minimalist travel doesn’t actually mean I am spending a minimal amount on my lodging and food. Nope! Minimalist travel means I pack less. Just one backpack to be precise.
So before I pack my travel clothes and toiletries, I ask myself these questions:
Tips for minimal packing:
Do I really need this item?
Is it lightweight?
Is it comfortable?
Am I really going to wear it?
Depending on a season you may need different packing lists. Since pants can take up the most amount of room for a single item, choose wisely. If you really have to take two pairs of pants, wear one for the trip. No matter what season, a pair of flip-flops is permanently packed in my travel backpack. Doesn’t matter where you stay, a fancy hotel, a hostel or an Airbnb apartment, wearing flip flops in the shower will help avoid infections that are transmitted through feet.
Try to keep your travel clothing choices simple and classic. Pick timeless pieces that don’t scream for attention. Then you can add a bright accessory (scarf, jewelry, etc.) to bring the outfit together. I always have a small black cotton dress in my backpack. It can go from day to night within a minute, by adding a bit of sparkle, especially if your starting point is a simple dress without much embellishment.
European women wear comfortable shoes. Occasionally you may come across to some who live in high heels. But these ladies have years of practice navigating cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks, so you might find yourself really struggling if you choose to wear a pair of sexy heels. That said… if you’re going to be sightseeing a lot, I suggest leaving the uncomfortable shoes at home. But that doesn’t mean you need to bring ugly running shoes. Bring a pair of cute breathable sneakers, and a pair of comfortable yet good looking sandals for summer.
Show off some leg. That’s right! Tights, stockings, and pantyhose are year-round wardrobe staples. Even in the winter, you’ll see plenty of women wearing above-the-knee skirts and stockings. Make sure to pack a mini skirt or some nice shorts.
When it comes to underwear five is my number. You don’t usually need as many bras as panties. And remember, hand washing and air drying is the best. It extends the life span of your favorite lingerie.
Many Europeans tend to dress in dark and neutral colors. If you want to blend in, dress in neutrals. It also makes packing for travel easier since everything you’ll bring will coordinate.
Minimalism to me is about quality vs. quantity. And that doesn’t apply just to the packing list, the items in my backpack or the furniture in my apartment. It’s also about being very conscious of who I bring into my life (especially while I am traveling) and occasionally evaluating whether these things and people are truly worthy of the space and time they consume.
So, take a look at your packing list again. For the first time declutterer, the lightness may come hand in hand with worries and uncertainty. But don’t you worry. You need to create space for worthy and better things and, who knows – even people.
Bon Voyage and see you in Europe!