How to pack like a minimalist? 15 minimalist packing tips & a minimalist packing list for 2 weeks


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Learn how to pack like a minimalist thanks to these 15 tips and minimalist packing list for 2 weeks! 

Ten years ago, before I became a minimalist, I used to travel with a very large suitcase and a backpack every time I went on vacation. 

It meant that I had to carry and lug them around for hours on travel days, sometimes on public transportation and in busy cities.

This experience was incredibly stressful, overwhelming, and exhausting. 

When I decided to practice minimalism and apply it to every part of my life, including traveling, my life truly changed for the better.

Traveling has become enjoyable again, and I don’t have to think about taking care of a heavy suitcase on a trip anymore.

I now travel extremely lightly.

I never bring more than a carry-on suitcase and a small backpack with me.

Two years ago, I even went on a 5-day trip abroad with only a 10L backpack, and it felt incredibly freeing! 

In this blog post, I share with you my best tips on how to pack like a minimalist.

At the end of the article, you’ll also find a minimalist packing list for 2 weeks in case you need some inspiration. 

This blog post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something through such links, I will get a small commission without any extra cost for you. Please read my Disclosure for more details.

Why should we learn how to pack like a minimalist? 

Traveling light, with a personal item bag and carry-on suitcase at the most, gives us the freedom to fully enjoy our trips.

It allows us to bring everything we need to be comfortable, without requiring us to carry heavy luggage around. 

As someone who regularly travels with only a backpack, I must say that the lighter we travel, the better.

It makes traveling days much less stressful and tiring and allows us to discover new destinations more freely.

Even the journey itself is less overwhelming and chaotic.  

Yes, we might not have as many clothing options as if we had an entire suitcase worth of outfits.

But honestly, who cares if we wear the same outfit twice during our trip?

Learning how to pack like a minimalist will allow you to enjoy the destinations even more.

We travel to discover new places, new cultures, new food, new lifestyles, and much more.

We leave our homes to experience new things and open our eyes to the beautiful world we are a part of.

Many of us also choose to go on a relaxing trip where the only goal is to slow down, rest, and recharge. 

We don’t need all those things to have a great vacation. 

I promise, you’re going to be fine with only a few minimalist travel essentials.

You’re actually going to feel better for lightening your load

Here are my best tips on how to pack like a minimalist!   

How to pack like a minimalist? 15 minimalist packing tips to be a minimalist traveler 

1. Start packing early

Don’t start packing last minute, the day before your trip.

If you want to make sure you pack like a minimalist and don’t bring too much stuff with you, plan early. 

Packing last minute is very stressful and chaotic, and you risk either overpacking or forgetting about certain essential items.

On the contrary, packing early makes the process stress-free and gives you more time to really think about what to bring. 

I recommend starting several days before the trip, and every day, revisit what you intend to pack.

That way, on the day of the trip, you’ll be able to close your suitcase and bag without stress.

You’ll be able to enjoy your vacation from the very beginning! 

2. Don’t travel with big suitcases to pack like a minimalist

To travel light, forget about bringing a large suitcase or duffle bag with you.

Decide that you’re only going to travel with a carry-on and a personal item bag at the most.

Even better if you can pack everything into a backpack! 

Large pieces of luggage are a pain to lug around, particularly in public transportation and around cities.

And I promise, we don’t need them to bring all our essentials with us.

If you think you do, you are probably bringing too much with you!

My favorite brands that sell quality carry-on suitcases and minimalist travel backpacks (that are also sustainable!) are: 

Read more: 10 sustainable backpacks for travel, school, work, & everyday use

If you want to learn how to pack like a minimalist, first decide that you won't travel with big suitcases anymore.

3. Check what is provided at your destination

Whether you’re staying at a hotel or an Airbnb, check what amenities are provided.

Will there be a hairdryer?

Are sheets and towels provided?

Do they have a washing machine?

Will soap and shampoo be provided too? 

Once you know exactly what is provided, you can eliminate those items from your packing list.

And ideally, only book accommodations that have everything you may need during your stay.

That way, you won’t have to bring as many items with you.  

If you’re traveling with a baby, also consider buying diapers at the destination instead of packing an entire pack in your luggage.

If you’re traveling to a city, you’ll probably be able to find them without much effort on your part. 

4. Check the weather at your destination

When planning what clothes you intend to bring, first check the weather forecast at your destination.

Will there be rain during your stay?

How hot or cold will it be? 

Once you know what to expect over there, you will be able to plan out your clothing needs and outfits accordingly. 

For instance, if you’re traveling to the beach in the middle of summer, there is no need to pack a big sweater with you.

Instead, opt for lightweight clothing with a few layering pieces for the cooler days. 

If it’s going to rain all the time, don’t bother bringing your sunglasses with you.

Pack a raincoat and umbrella with some warm clothes and waterproof shoes. 

5. Choose versatile and multipurpose items to pack like a minimalist

One of the best tips to pack like a minimalist is to choose versatile and multipurpose items, particularly when it comes to clothing. 

Bring pieces that can be worn with most other items in your travel wardrobe.

To do so, prefer neutral colors so that you can easily mix and match everything. 

Instead of bringing a bulky sweater, opt for a cardigan or different long sleeves that can be layered and worn in different ways.

You may also want to have a couple of pieces that can be easily dressed up or down. 

A great example of a versatile and multipurpose item is a lightweight scarf.

You can use it to keep you warm but also as a sarong at the beach or as a travel pillow on the plane.

When picking out your clothes, lay everything on your bed or the floor to be able to see everything.

Create different outfits with the pieces you’ve selected to check that they can be paired with others.

Read more: How to build a minimalist wardrobe you love? Easy step-by-step guide

To pack like a minimalist, choose to bring versatile and multipurpose items.

6. Be realistic with yourself and pack only what you need and will use

When deciding what to bring with you, be honest and realistic with yourself. 

If you don’t like wearing dresses or skirts daily, you won’t start wearing them on vacation either.

If you don’t like working out, you probably won’t start exercising on holiday, so there is no need to pack workout clothes.

Also, don’t pack high heels when you know you’ll be going on hikes every day. 

Bring comfortable items that you love wearing and that you feel good in.

These are the items you’ll want to wear while on vacation!

7. Wear the bulkiest items on travel days

Once you’ve decided what clothes and shoes to bring with you, see which are the bulkiest and consider wearing them on travel days.

(If they’re comfortable enough, of course!)

That way, you won’t have to make them fit into your suitcase or backpack and they won’t take up precious space. 

For example, if you’re planning to bring both sneakers and sandals with you, wear your sneakers while traveling because they are the bulkiest.

If you’re bringing a coat, see if you can wear it on travel days instead of packing it into your luggage. 

8. Use packing cubes to pack like a minimalist

Whenever I’m going on a trip, I always pack my clothes into packing cubes to keep everything organized and contained.

Using packing cubes makes clothing take up less space,  and they help keep things neat and easy to access.

If we need to open our suitcase at the airport, we also know that we won’t lose anything and things won’t get messy thanks to them.

I use regular packing cubes, but if you want to optimize the space in your luggage even more, consider using compression ones like these.  

9. Embrace ranger rolling to pack like a minimalist

I’ve found that the best method for maximizing space in our suitcase is to pack clothes using the ranger rolling method.

This awesome technique named after the US Army Rangers is also great for keeping our clothes wrinkle-free and easily accessible! 

If you’re wondering how to ranger roll certain types of clothing, check out this article.

It will teach you how to ranger roll everything from tops to bottoms to undies.  

If you don’t like rolling your clothes, folding them the Konmari way will help you save space in your suitcase as well.

Ranger rolling is one of the best ways to pack like a minimalist.

10. Opt for fabrics that require less washing

When traveling, we don’t always have access to a washing machine.

And let’s be honest, even if we do, we don’t want to spend our time doing the laundry. 

But it doesn’t mean we should bring a new outfit for each day.

If things aren’t dirty or sweaty, we can easily wear them again at least once (except for undies and socks of course).

We can also wear bottoms and sweaters for multiple days so there is no need to bring tons of them. 

What’s more, we can bring fewer pieces with us if we opt for clothing made with breathable fabrics that require less washing.

Some fabrics such as merino wool, hemp, or alpaca wool are naturally odor-resistant.

So these should be your go-to fabrics if you want to pack like a minimalist. 

For instance, instead of bringing seven cotton t-shirts on a week-long trip, you might only need three merino wool tops. 

Read more: How to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

11. Do the laundry at your destination

If we don’t mind doing the laundry at the destination, we can bring fewer clothes with us.

Every time I go on a trip that’s longer than a week, I always pack only a week’s worth of clothes and then wash the pieces while over there.

I try to stay at a place that provides a washing machine, but if there is none, I wash my garments in the sink.

This allows me to pack like a minimalist! 

Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is an excellent multipurpose product we can use to wash our clothes.

It also makes a great body wash, shampoo, dish soap, and cleaning product.

Did you know it has 18 different uses?! 

I love that it is biodegradable, formulated with organic and fair trade ingredients, and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle! 

Read more: DIY laundry detergent recipe: all-natural & cheap

12. Bring solid soap & shampoo

To minimize the number of body care products you need to pack, consider bringing a solid soap, shampoo, and conditioner instead of the entire bottles (if they are not provided). 

Those bottles are very bulky and can open themselves and make a mess in your suitcase while on the go.

On the other hand, a solid bar of soap takes up little room and won’t spill liquid everywhere.

You can store the bars in little soap containers to keep them dry and contained. 

Bring soap and shampoo bars instead of those bulky shower gel and shampoo bottles.

My favorite non-toxic brand that makes solid soap, shampoo, and conditioner is Ethique

All its products are vegan and cruelty-free, and the brand is B Corp certified, so it’s one of the best in terms of ethics and sustainability! 

It also ships its products in plastic-free packaging, plants a tree for every order, and donates 2% of its sales to charity. 

Read more: 19 essentials for a zero-waste bathroom

13. Pack travel-size items

For some items, we might not be able to (or simply not want to) choose the product in a solid form.

But we can still pack like a minimalist and avoid bringing bulky products with us. 

When it comes to makeup and skincare products, opt for travel-size products to minimize how much space they take up. 

You can also pour your liquids into smaller bottles and containers if you want.

Don’t forget to pack them in a small TSA-approved bag to prevent any spills and messes. 

14. Make a list of everything you’re taking with you

Once you’ve decided what you’re bringing with you on the trip, list everything and keep the list in a folder on your phone or computer. 

When you come back, reassess this list and see what you didn’t use and what you wish you had brought.

Readjust it accordingly.

The next time you’re going on a trip, you’ll be able to pull this list out and use it to make packing easier and quicker.

You will know exactly what you need (and what you don’t need), which will save you time and energy.

You will only need to make adjustments depending on the season, the weather, and the duration of your trip.  

15. Avoid buying meaningless souvenirs

If you want to learn how to pack like a minimalist, change your mindset and the way you think about souvenirs.

Avoid buying meaningless knick-knacks from souvenir shops, and instead, spend your money on experiences. 

That way, on your way back home, you won’t be burdened by extra clutter in your suitcase or backpack.

Not to mention you’ll have created unforgettable memories by prioritizing experiences instead! 

Plus, you won’t risk having to pay extra for overweight luggage.

Read more: 13 tips to stop impulse buying and shop intentionally

Avoid buying meaningless souvenirs at the destination so that they don't take up space in your suitcase.

Minimalist packing list for 2 weeks on a beach vacation: my minimalist travel essentials

All these tips should have helped you learn how to pack like a minimalist.

However, you might be on the lookout for a specific example of a minimalist packing list to help you see what is essential to bring or not. 

Here I’m sharing with you a minimalist packing list for 2 weeks on a beach vacation.

This is just an example of things I would bring with me, so keep in mind that there is no universal minimalist packing list. 

We all have different needs and preferences, we travel to different places and climates and go there at different times of the year. 

All those factors can influence what we may want to bring with us.

But at least, this minimalist packing list for 2 weeks should inspire you and give you some ideas.

This list is also for people who will be able to wash their clothes at least once during their stay.

Here are my minimalist travel essentials: 

  • 5 tops 
  • 2 dresses 
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of lightweight pants
  • 1 cardigan 
  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • 2 pairs of shoes: 1 pair of sneakers + 1 pair of sandals that can be dressed up or down 
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bras
  • 2 pairs of socks 
  • 1 pajama
  • Packing cubes
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 pair of sunglasses 
  • 2 bikinis
  • 1 beach towel
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes 
  • Small bottle of laundry detergent (I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap)
  • Wallet with ID and cards 
  • Purse 
  • Tote bag to use as a beach bag and shopping bag
  • Phone  
  • 1 book or a Kindle
  • Sunscreen 
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush 
  • Deodorant 
  • Razor 
  • Hairbrush & hair tie 
  • Makeup with a makeup bag 
  • Everyday skincare products in travel-size containers
  • TSA-approved toiletry bag
  • Some medicine 
  • Travel adapters (if needed)

Everything should fit into a carry-on suitcase!  

Final thoughts on how to pack like a minimalist 

I hope you’ve found this article about how to pack like a minimalist helpful and that this minimalist packing list for 2 weeks inspired you.  

Traveling light and becoming a minimalist traveler comes with so many benefits that you’ll never want to go back to traveling with heavy suitcases! 

If you also want to make your trip more sustainable, make sure to read the following post: 8 eco-friendly travel tips for sustainable tourism.

What are your best tips on how to pack like a minimalist?

Does your minimalist packing list for 2 weeks look like mine? 

Please leave a comment! 

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to help them reap the benefits of traveling light as well. 

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