Minimalist Packing

Rob and I will be travelling to Vegas with some friends in November, and we are planning on taking as few items as possible.  Neither of us has ever liked checking bags and then waiting to retrieve them–that’s valuable vacation time wasted!  And of course, some airlines are charging for even one checked bag.  Besides, if your stuff stays with you, you never have to worry about lost baggage.

I have been rolling clothes when packing for quite a while, as I find it’s super easy and quite effective at minimizing wrinkles and condensing things into the smallest space possible.  I haven’t ever tried the bundle method, but maybe that’s just because I already know rolling works well for me.   Also, I’m not much of a fashionista, so I don’t really care if I re-wear an outfit over the course of a longer vacation.  In the case of a short trip, the primary issue with minimizing the number of articles is the weather.  If it’s guaranteed to be hot or cold, you can prepare for that, but if it’s in that in-between time of year, you kind of have to prepare for both, which often ends up doubling your item count.  C’est la vie.

Then the other big question is what you will be doing while you’re there.  If you’re going to spend 90% of your time on the beach in your bathing suit, you obviously don’t need that many other clothes.  If you’ll have multiple black-tie events, you’ll have to plan accordingly.  But if it’s mostly hanging out, chilling, etc, I usually take 5-6 casual outfits, and plan on washing clothes once or twice if it’s a longer stay.  Let’s face it, there are not many places you’ll go that you don’t have access to laundry facilities, and to me it’s worth doing a small load of laundry in order to have less stuff to lug around.

Of course, we’re not traveling with children, which is a whole different beast.  Just remember, yes they need toys, but not ALL of them.  Yes, they need a few extra changes of clothes, but not their entire closet.  And I pretty quickly learned that I prefer to pack enough diapers for the trip and then buy a box when I get to my destination, rather than pack all that I need.  Obviously this is different if you’re using washable diapers.  Just keep in mind that a vacation is SHORT TERM.  There are lots of things that your kids may like, but it’s not going to permanently scar them if they have to do without for a week or two.  Those with pacifier addicts are the exception.  It might permanently scar YOU if they have to do without.  🙂

I’m also one of those people who prefers to unpack everything as soon as I reach my destination, even if I’m only staying for a few days.  Not only does that let the wrinkles work out of your clothes, but it helps you see what you’ve got and when you’re running out.  Besides, it makes me more relaxed to feel “settled in”.

What are your favorite methods for minimalist packing?  Are there certain things you refuse to do without while traveling?  What have you found that you used to pack, but no longer bother with?

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