How to Pack Like a Minimalist for 1 Year of Travel
When I left the US in April 2017, I brought one backpack (60L) and a small carry on for my valuables (laptop, camera, etc.). I tried to get a small-ish backpack that I would be able to carry on board because flying is often a lot cheaper in Europe than taking trains. Here is a (very awkward) video and a list of everything I packed before I left which weighed in at 9kg at the airport (backpack included).
- 2 solid dresses
- 2 printed dresses
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 workout tops
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 tank top
- 1 blouse
- 1 sweater
- 1 cardigan
- 1 zip-up hoodie
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 5 pairs of socks
- 3 bras
- 2 sports bras
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 circle scarf
- 2 pairs of leggings
- 1 jacket
- 1 poncho
- 2 swimsuits
- Camera (Sony a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera)
- iPhone 7+
- Laptop (12'' Macbook Retina Display)
- Tripod (Joby GorillaPod)
- Travel Adapter
- Sleeping mask
- Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
- Tide packets - Detergent packets, Tide sink packets, Tide-to-go pen
- Kolombo Locks - TSA-approved
- ROBOCOPP SOS - Personal emergency alarm
- 2-3 pens
- 1 notebook
Websites for ordering travel-sized items:
- All Travel Sizes
As you go, you will probably accumulate some things. I had my carry-on bag break two weeks into my trip. After that, I invested in a smaller backpack for day trips (hiking, etc.). Sometimes it's worth buying items that are a little more expensive if they're better quality--you get what you pay for.
What I Wish I Knew About Packing After Traveling for Over 3 Months
- I listed all the toiletry items as travel-sized, but if you are traveling longer than three months, I would not advise buying the smaller-sized items. You end up spending more money having to buy normal-sized items (like shampoo and soap) in order to refill those tiny bottles. The travel-sied items (while much lighter to pack) don't save you money for longer trips.
- BUT if you're going from one country to another by plane, then do take travel-sized toiletries.
- Buy good shoes with support.
- For clothing, comfort > style (but there are still ways to stay stylish with accessories).
- Don't bring high heels.
- Pack only one microfiber towel.
- Bring ibuprofen if you plan on traveling outside of Europe (it can be harder to find).
- Reusable bottles are only good if the tap water is safe to drink in the countries you are traveling in (good in Europe, not so good in Asia).
- If traveling in colder weather, this list will be totally different. Take advantage of traveling in the spring or summer since your clothing will be lighter.
- You will lose items along the way. Just make sure it's not your valuables!
- Weigh your bag before you go.
- Check weight limitations of different airlines if you plan to fly.
- If possible, try getting a backpack with wheels.
- Try to avoid buying unnecessary items. Ask yourself, "Do I need this, or do I want this?" Only buy the things you need and try to resist buying the things you want.
Do you have any questions on what to pack? Let me know if you need more tips!