Minimalist Packing for Travel

This post contains affiliate links

I just want to start off by saying that I have the most respect for travelers who can pack a bag and hit the road with no extra stress. To all my minimalist packing backpackers out there, I salute you!

I have always struggled with packing. Especially if I knew there would be a multitude of amazing adventures involved.

What do I wear? What if it gets cold? I probably need that sweatshirt I haven’t worn in two years. And that third dress because what if I change my mind!?!

The internal dialogue is brutal and watching the action itself is even worse. Ask my husband.

I used to tear my closet apart and cram anything I could possibly need into a suitcase. I used to think that it was better to have too much than too little.

I am here to set the record straight by saying this is not the case. In fact, the more strategic you are with packing, the less you need.

I learned how to pack like a minimalist and it changed my idea of traveling forever! I’ve always used this strategy when packing for road trips, but it would be just as effective in the baggage claim.

Does This Item Provide Value?

The first thing you need to do as a minimal packer is lay everything you might want to bring with you out on the bed. That’s right, just go ahead and make a big pile.

Go through and look at each item. Ask yourself “does this item add value to my trip or spark joy?”

If the answer is yes, then put it in the suitcase. If the answer is no, it goes back in the closet. Do this for everything you pack.

It’s important to be mindful of your activities so that you can pack accordingly. If you’re going camping you probably don’t need a dress or sandals. Use that extra space for extra socks or fire starters.

Minimalist Packing for Travel

Pack Multi-use Items

As a minimal packer, it is your responsibility to choose items that have multiple uses. For example, you could pack multi-use soap for the family. Instead of packing three different types of sunscreen, you can pack a moisturizer/sunscreen combo.

There are plenty of things that fall into this category, even clothes. Regardless of where you’re going, it’s a good idea to pack in layers.

You could bring a bathing suit (just one or two) to wear under a tank top and shorts. Then you could bring a long sleeve shirt for chilly restaurants or drafty hotel rooms. You might consider bringing a light jacket if you are traveling elevation. If you’re traveling to a cold climate the layers should increase accordingly.

Minimalist Packing for Travel

Pack Clothes That Can be Worn More Than Once

I know what you’re thinking. “How can I pack minimally of I have all these layers?”

I thought the same thing the first time I packed like a minimalist. The answer is to pack things that can be worn more than once. This does not apply for socks and underwear unless they are specifically made for this reason.

There are so many things that can be worn multiple times throughout a trip. Jeans only need to be washed after every 4-5 uses. Jackets and sweatshirts are the same way. T-shirts can usually be worn twice, and pajamas can be worn several times before a trip to the laundry mat.

The hardest part of packing like a minimalist is finding clothes that don’t wrinkle and don’t hold odor. You can find some here!

Minimalist Packing for Travel

Bring Laundry Detergent

Get comfortable with doing laundry on vacation. Most hotels have a laundry facility and there are laundry mats on every corner of most cities.

Depending on the length of your stay, it’s wise to pack some laundry detergent. This makes it super easy to pack for a longe trip because you only need a week’s worth of clothes!

One you’ve dirtied all of your clothes, you can pop them in the washer and be ready for another week of adventure!

The thought of doing laundry on my relaxing vacation really irked me, but I gave it a try. It actually takes little to no time to get it done, and it’s a nice feeling of productivity to start off the second round of vacation!

Be Careful With Toiletries

I used to be the worlds worst for packing everything in my shower. You would be surprised at how quickly that filled up my suitcase. Not to mention that I would be totally lost if I was traveling by plane.

One of the best things to do in this situation is to pack bar soap. It takes up virtually no room and there are tons of uses. You can even get shampoo and conditioner in bar soap.

My favorite thing about bar soap is that it’s plastic-free. Not only are you saving time, energy, and precious space in your luggage, but you’re also saving the planet!


After you have packed everything listed above you will notice that you have plenty of room for necessities.

Pack any medication, food items, or miscellaneous pieces that you absolutely cannot live without.  

These packing cubes really came in handy when organizing our suitcases. We put our necessities in an easily accessible cube so that we could access them anytime!

If you are still struggling with minimalist packing, don’t fret. You will be a pro before you know it!

Your link text“>Get your free printable minimalist packing check list!

Do you have any minimalist packing ideas to add to the list? Drop them in the comments below!

Happy travels, friends!


  • Lauren Anderton

    8 months agoReply

    Eddie Bauer makes a great line of clothing that is wrinkle free and easy to wash in a sink—if necessary.

    I also like to pack my socks inside my shoes to save space.

    • Tasha

      7 months agoReply

      That’s awesome! I will have to check that out!

Leave a Reply