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minimalist traveling

Minimalist Packing for The Undeniable Tour

The last time I wrote about incorporating minimalism into packing for a trip, I was only going to be away for a weekend. I could write out the list of all the activities I would be doing and determine exactly what I needed to bring in terms of clothing. I ended up using every garment I packed.

Now I’m getting ready to go on a two-week road trip that spans from San Diego to Seattle, with temperatures that are expected to range from the mid-40s to the mid-80s and weather that includes sun and rain. This is also a trip that includes five speaking engagements, other professional meetings, a handful of meetups with friends, and working out. How do I pack for that?

The good news is I will be staying at hostels that have on-site laundry, so I really only have to pack for a week, and bring enough layers to accommodate the weather. I looked at a few videos online by minimalists who are on the road a lot and people who live out of a backpack while traveling for suggestions. Here is a partial list of the things I will take with me:

  • My Hustle Your Face Off shirts - made by Brand X Custom T-shirts

    My Hustle Your Face Off shirts – made by Brand X Custom T-shirts

    2 pairs of jeans – 1 pair that’s heavier weight for colder climates

  • My Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors – for speaking
  • “Hustle Your Face Off” shirts – for speaking/meetings
  • Black blazer – for speaking/meetings
  • Hooded windbreaker
  • Zip-up sweatshirt
  • Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors

    Legal Rebel Chuck Taylors

    2 tank tops

  • 2 short-sleeve shirts
  • Running shoes
  • Yoga pants
  • Running shorts
  • 2 or 3 running shirts
  • Bathing suit
  • Pajamas
  • Undergarments and socks

Since I’m going to be staying mainly in hostels, I will be taking a few specialty travel items like a padlock (to lock my backpack in a locker when I don’t want to carry it around), and extension cord, a camping towel, and gallon-size bags. I learned the hard way that it is important to have what you need to get ready for a day in one place for convenience and courtesy purposes.

When I stayed in a hostel last month, I didn’t lay my stuff out for the next day as well as I could have because my roommate and I realized that we were setting our alarms for the same time so I expected there to be no problem with turning on lights and making noise. Unfortunately, we were in a four-person dorm and we got a third roommate around 1:30 in the morning. I felt bad for our new roommate because I needed to turn on the light and dig around in my suitcase to take a shower, get ready, and pack my things while she was trying to sleep.

My plan for this trip is to put at least my shirt, socks, and underwear for the next day in one bag, my toiletries for the morning in another bag, and drape my jeans and camping towel across the foot of my bed before I go to sleep at night so it’s easy to grab what I need to hit the shower and get dressed in the morning.

I’ve never incorporated minimalism into my travel plans look quite like this, so I’m curious to see how well it works out. My goal is to pack lightly and still be comfortable at all times.

Minimalist Packing

I went to a wedding last weekend and I used it as an opportunity to practicing minimalism in packing. Historically, I’m the person who goes on a 9-day trip and brings 20 shirts. Once I learned that rolling your clothes lets you fit so much more into your bag, I filled every nook and cranny of my suitcase with wardrobe options – just in case.

For this trip, I decided to try to only bring what I thought I actually needed for the 3 days I was gone. Here’s what I brought with me: 1 pair jeans, 1 pair yoga pants, 2 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 1 long-sleeved shirt, 1 zip-up sweatshirt (aka a “zippy”), 1 windbreaker, 1 dress, 1 cardigan, dress shoes, sneakers, 1 set workout gear, 1 bra, 2 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, pajamas.

Here’s what I actually wore:

Friday’s Activities:
Fly out: Jeans, t-shirt #1, zippy, socks #1, sneakers.
Meet friend for lunch: Add windbreaker (it was raining).
Dinner with coaches: Remove windbreaker; exchange t-shirt for long-sleeved shirt & bra (it was cold).
Sleep: Pajamas.

At Lindsey's wedding with my Teammates - Photo by Erika Brown

At Lindsey’s wedding with my Teammates – Photo by Erika Brown

Saturday’s Activities:
Lounge around friend’s house: Yoga pants, tank top #1, zippy, socks #2.
Lunch with other friend: Exchange yoga pants for jeans (I rarely go out in yoga pants); add sneakers. (Note: I was going to wear t-shirt #2 to go out but it was warmer than I expected. I also realized I forgot my glasses case so I used t-shirt #2 to wrap my glasses instead so it was still used.)
Wedding: Dress, dress shoes, cardigan.
Sleep: Pajamas.

Sunday’s Activities:
Workout: Workout gear (shorts, shirt, sports bra, running socks, sneakers).
Brunch and fly home: Jeans, tank top #2, zippy, socks #2, sneakers. (I thought I’d wear my running socks all day but they were way too sweaty so I wore socks #2 instead.)

Post-Brunch Handstand - Photo by Erika Brown

Post-Brunch Handstand – Photo by Erika Brown

Since every garment I packed on this trip was used, it made unpacking fast. Everything was tossed in the laundry basket except my cardigan and the shirt that protected my glasses. It was easy to unpack my toiletries because I only brought things I knew I’d use.

The only things I packed that didn’t get used were my laptop and my Kindle. I brought my laptop so I could write and my Kindle was to read if I finished reading Everything That Remains by The Minimalists. So I still bring tech gear with me just in case and I suspect that’s not going to change – and I’m OK with that.

This post was inspired by the The Minimalists who recently released a video about how they packed for their 100-city book tour.