Traveling is probably one of the most life-enhancing experiences. It lets us recharge, learn about ourselves and the world, gain a new perspective on what’s truly important, and remember everything we should be grateful for. But there are also logistical challenges often involved with the travel. We’ve all probably dealt with lost luggage, long check-in queues, or having to pack and unpack our suitcase in the middle of the airport because it’s simply too heavy.
When developing a more conscious and mindful lifestyle, the idea of owning and carrying way too many things seems redundant and, well, not sustainable. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by myriads of non-essential stuff. Just imagine how you could simply whizz through a train station or airport security with your carry-on, be able to unpack in a few minutes, feel lighter, and turn your focus on the adventure you’re about to embark on.
It’s a liberating feeling and, with some simple yet intelligent packing tips, you can quickly master the art of packing light, whether you are going on a road trip to the countryside, visiting friends in another city, or taking a longhaul flight abroad.
It’s All About the Planning
Before starting to pack, check the weather in your chosen destination and pre-select your outfits, according to the activities you have planned for each day. This means you will only be taking what you will be wearing, rather than carrying one too many options.
You could even go one step further and plan like some of the fashion pros do––by trying on your outfits and taking pictures, to make sure you feel good in everything and have nothing to worry about once you arrive at your destination.
“If you spend a few minutes planning, you don’t have to think at all about what you’re wearing while traveling,” said Mimi Ikonn, founder of Intelligent Change, on the topic. “I know some of us like options. One of the reasons I used to overpack is because I wanted to have options, too. But you know what? When you have less options, it just makes your life easier.”
The Rolling Trick
Folding and then rolling your clothes in your suitcase is the most efficient way to maximize space, fit everything you need into a carry-on, and avoid wrinkles. This is also the go-to trick for minimalism aficionado Marie Kondo, the Japanese author and entrepreneur who has built a global reputation for her philosophy on tidying up and mindful consumption.
Think Twice About Shoes
Footwear tends to take up the most space in a suitcase, so think carefully about which pairs you choose to pack. If you pick neutral colors and comfortable silhouettes that match all your outfits, you won’t need to carry more than a pair or two. In the summer, a pair of flip flops, chinos for men or evening sandals for women will usually do the trick.
Pro tip? If traveling to a colder destination and needing boots, just wear them as part of your travel outfit to free up space in your suitcase.
Just the Essentials
When it comes to your toiletries, narrow it down to the products you absolutely need and see this as an opportunity to take a break from long winding skincare or makeup routines, letting your skin breathe. You then just need to add your essentials—think deodorant, toothpaste and face cream—into mini refillable containers that you can always turn to for future travels. Alternatively, if you have mini beauty samples lying around in your cupboard, now is the time to use them.
It might seem impossible at first, especially if you tend to overpack, but after you do it once, it will become your second nature. All you’ll have to do moving forward is to refill your mini containers before every trip, saving time and precious energy.
The Finishing Touch
In addition to packing clothes, shoes and toiletries when preparing for a trip, you might also want to think about packing some of the tools that will help keep you grounded and in tune with yourself while traveling. At the end of the day, a trip should be a time for self-reflection and self-growth—not an excuse to forget about your positive habits and routines.
As for what to pack, the choices are endless and entirely individual. You might want to bring along the self-development book (or space-freeing Audible version) you’ve been eyeing but never made time to read; an exercise band that will allow you to still keep up with the workouts you’ve been committing to; the journal to write down notes to yourself and gain clarity, or the jade crystal you always hold on to during your meditations.
Taking a few minutes every morning and evening to feel grateful for everything you are experiencing is also crucial and will help you appreciate your trip even more—so make sure you pack The Five Minute Journal with you. No space left for your journal? Not a problem—download the app version and keep up with the rewarding gratitude journaling practice on the go. Bonus point: collect and preserve beautiful memories by adding photos and videos to your daily entries.
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