I've always been a fan of minimalist packing. In fact I can't even remember the last time that I used a full sized suitcase. It's great for the obvious reason of lugging less stuff around, but I also love how easy it is to get dressed each day. Less time in the morning deciding what to wear leaves more time for adventures. It sounds cheesy, but it's true. Think about how Steve Jobs wore practically the same uniform every day (turtleneck and jeans). It left him more time to come up with world changing products.
When packing for a trip over a week, pack the same as you would for one week. You'll be so happy to have a light bag. Just do some laundry along the way!
A little bit of thought into what you pack goes a long way. I always choose a color scheme so that everything can be mixed and matched without much thought involved. For shorter trips, it's easier to get creative with this - maybe navy blue, white, gold, and red. However, for this trip to Southeast Asia which is 48 days, I'm going back to the basics - black, white, & gray. (Although I did cheat and throw in a colorful dress and printed swimsuits!)
First of all, packing in a backpack doesn't mean you can't still look put together, and it doesn't mean that you need to spend your whole trip in hostels either. Our trip is a blend of nicer hotels, beach bungalows, and hostels. We're also working while traveling, so tossing our laptops into a traditional hiking backpack didn't sound like a great option.
After doing quite a lot of backpack research (super fun), we landed on the Minaal Backpack. It's described as a backpack for the digital nomad. It opens like a suitcase, has a laptop sleeve, and can be used as both a backpack and a briefcase style bag if you need to look a little fancier. We also liked the simple design, so Rich & I both got one.
The bag is 35L, which is a little less than the max size for a carry on. Rich was worried at first that this would be too small, but when it's on your back all you wish is that it was even smaller and lighter!
Ok, so here's what I decided to pack for a minimal yet comfortable trip:
I put a lot of thought into what beauty products to pack - I'm sure you could pack even more minimally, but I went the minimal but can still dress up route.
- RMS Beauty 'un' Cover-up
- Burt's Bees chapstick
- Neutral eyeshadow
- Eyebrow pencil
- Commodity perfume (sample sizes of Book and Paper)
- DuWop double glow (helps me look more awake)
- NARS the multiple (can be used on eyes, cheeks, & lips)
- Juice Beauty CC Cream (organic spf, moisture, and color)
- Ilia red lipstick
- Shiseido oil blotting papers (great for when it gets hot and sticky and there's no shower access)
- Mario Badescu hand lotion sample
- Redken shine flash 02 hair shine (leaves my hair shiny without getting sticky)
- Razor (not pictured)
- Shampoo & Conditioner (not pictured)
- DivaCup (not pictured - this thing changes your life. Rather than pack tons of pads & tampons just pack this tiny cup. It saves so much space and is actually more sanitary and can be used longer)
- Suntan lotion (not pictured)
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste (not pictured)
A lot of the tops I packed are from Everlane, they're my favorite tees.
Packing List (Clothes)
- 3 Tanktops
- 3 T-shirts
- 3 Long Sleeved tops (one plain tee, one collared, and one cover-up)
- 3 Dresses (one black, one white, and one colored)
- 6 Bottoms (one pair of pants for the plane and cooler nights, 4 pairs of day-time shorts - variety because this is what I'm wearing everyday, and one pair of spandex shorts for sleeping or hiking etc)
- 3 Swimsuits (one-piece, and two bikini tops to pair with one plain black bottom)
- 3 Shoes (sneakers, waterproof sandals, and leather sandals)
- Universal Power adapter
- Micofiber towel
- Water filtering straw (for areas with not so great drinking water)
- Kindle (to get lots of reading done)
- GoPro (we'll be using this for underwater shots and video from mopeds, etc)
- Travel Medications (ask your doctor what you might need for your location. We're taking Malaria pills daily and took Typhoid pills before we left. We also go shots for Hep A, Hep B, Flu and Tetnis before we left.)
- Hat (but you can also buy one while traveling)
- Tiger Balm to treat mosquito bites (can buy this for cheaper abroad as well, $11 in the US vs $2 in Thailand)
Now just hop on a plane (with your passport of course) and go!