Adventure, yeah. I guess that’s what you call it when everybody comes back alive. – Mercedes Lackey
When thinking about what is essential for us to lead a happy life we always think about family, money, pleasures, experiences and living a rich and comfortable life. To experience as much as we can in our short span of life; we travel. We are more concerned about the destination, than the journey.
It was in my later twenties that I started to pay much more attention to the means, than the end. How to achieve what I want in the best possible way, how to make sure the journey is as wonderful as the destination. In this self-discovery I learned a lot about minimalism. Minimalism has a different meaning for every person. That’s the beauty of it, it is completely customization! Once you get a hang of it, it takes over every aspect in life. It is that addictive. I slowly learned how beautiful this concept was, not only for myself but for my family and for what I can do for this mother earth. The simplicity and peace you experience from being a minimalist is unparalleled.
We travel a lot as a family. This year alone we had 3 international and 2 domestic trips. Traveling with young children can be very challenging, especially when it comes to what things to pack and carry, on trips. The ‘less is more’ philosophy has probably helped me the most when it comes to traveling.
I want to share a few photos here from my 5- day trip to National parks in Canada, in colder weather (since colder weather requires more planning and space management); and then I will give a few tips on how to achieve this traveling light philosophy and still look effortlessly travel chic.
For this trip,I and my son had separate carry-on bags and my husband had his own. Plus I carried a backpack. According to me, I probably could have managed in one carry-on for me and my son if the weather was better. Also, in this trip,I had taken the liberty of carrying nice-to-have things like multi-vitamins, huge hairbrush, a full bottle of perfume (you can use the airplane travel refillable bottles), which could be minimized.
Here is a list of tips for packing light:
1) Theme: Decide a theme for your clothes. Understand what the vacation is about. The key to feeling confident and comfortable in your skin, is understanding, how to dress for the occasion. There is a place you should flaunt your jewelry, designer bags, and dresses. Understanding the purpose of your travel and knowing the activities and plans will go a long way in planning your wardrobe. For e.g., for this trip,we were mostly going to drive, visit National Parks, hike and be in the wilderness. This called for more flexible, comfortable, sports clothing with layers for sudden weather changes. Keeping this in mind, I selected the outfits which I could mix and match with each other. I also added one dark jeans and a dressy top for a dinner date and carried my trustworthy black flats (one tip here is to carry pointed flats to look effortlessly put together).
2) Packing Cubes: Use packing cubes to organize clothes and roll each day of clothes together and pack in the cube, so you don’t need to search an outfit each day. When you decide what you wear on which day, you realize easily if you are over packing. Keep an extra outfit in your backpack always, in case you need one extra or your bags come in late.
3) Pack-able Down: This is one thing I recommend everyone to have in their wardrobe. It’s a jacket for cold weather which can be folded and bagged into a small bag as is extremely lightweight. Great item to have.
4) Co-ordinate: When you decide on a wardrobe theme, you can co-ordinate shoes and generally 2 pairs are enough. One to wear through daily activities and one for dinner or nice places. Even if you are going for a summer vacation, a good flat sandal should be good for days and you can carry a shoe, preferably in neutral color for the night. Believe me no one there is going to remember what you wore yesterday and even if they do, if you have pretty shoes it does not matter.
5) One bag rule: Carry only one bag for toiletries and make-up. If you decide that you have to fit everything in there, you will realize what is most needed and what is just nice-to-have. The less stuff you take, the more are the chances that you use everything you packed.
6) While packing for toddlers and infants, don’t forget that their clothes are very small and can dry easily if you wash them. Diapers etc. are available all throughout the world if you need them. The most important things you should be worried about is medicines, insect repellents and toiletries for kids. You don’t want to try something new on them and spoil your vacation due to any bad reactions or rashes.
7) For the flight you can carry some handy things for kids like packed snacks, folding toilet seats (these fit easily in your purse or backpacks). For long haul flight kids air pillows which help turn the seat into a bed, like ‘fly tot’ are also useful. Don’t forget eye drops and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.
8) Carry important things like battery packs, compact camera’s or phone tripods for pictures and keep them in carry-on luggage, just to be sure, you have them with you for the trip in case your bags come in late.
9) Remember that most of the countries in this world have all the general things you would need. Most important things are travel documents, medicines and electronics. You can also carry offline maps on phones which come in handy if there is no cellphone range. When you go on road trips, a book of maps of that area and roadways is also a very important and handy thing to have.
10) Remember less luggage means less work and more happiness. When you travel light you truly feel the wind beneath your wings and it takes the stress out of travel.
If you have any cool tips to share with us, please do in the comments. Happy travels!