The art of packing is a skill worth mastering. Packing like a pro means travelling light, but with (almost) everything you need. It’s not just being able to put fewer things in a bag, it’s also being at peace with presenting one version of yourself to the world, that’s confidence.
Travelling light is freedom and joy, being open to new possibilities and spontaneous situations. With a mixture of a carefree attitude and a bit of planning it’s easy to pack like a minimalist, taking only the Good Stuff with you.
First up you start with a travel outfit: This might vary but it should go something like: favourite jeans, a semi-smart trainer like a New Balance or Nike, plus some layering pieces you don’t want to stash in your bag. A T-shirt with a hoodie is a great option, or a bomber jacket for the fashion lads out there.
2. Pack for a minimal weekend away.
So you’ve been waiting all week for the weekend to start, but what to bring? Pretty much nothing to be honest – you want to be having fun, not lugging around an overstuffed bag.
Choose a simple bag like this Hershel backpack, which has an integrated tech sleeve, so you can slide in a shirt with an iPad or a Kindle (essential for whiling away a long journey). Just bring a T-shirt and a slightly creaseproof shirt (M&S does great ones). Stuff a pair of socks into the shirt collar to keep its shape.
Stores like COS do cloth bags with every purchase, use one of them or an old tote bag to keep your underwear, socks, and PJs separate from the rest of your stuff, also useful for sequestering funky laundry!
Toiletries are, at a minimum, basics like your toothbrush, razor (if you can’t bear to be stubbly), moisturiser, and deodorant. Staying at a hotel or friend’s house? Skip the shower gel. If you need to bring vitamins or painkillers, a giant pill box is perfect to decant.
5. Travel light for a week away.
A week away usually necessitates a lot less stuff that you’d think. One extra pair of jeans, some shorts, and a selection of shirts and tees in neutral-ish colours and prints will see you right for seven days.
#Protip:A rough guide is select around three tops for each trouser or short.
A lightweight jumper like this Aquascutum cashmere knit is a great stand-by. Uniqlo does a fine selection of merino knitwear that is really light and breathable. This time, if you want to bring a belt, roll that in the shirt collar.
Buy a clear pencil case to use as a toiletry bag that makes passport control less of a headache.
These preppy loafers will look good with anything and work for casual looks but will also step up to a dinner invitation. If you’re a wannabe Craig David bring running shorts that double up as swimming trunks to keep up with your #eatclean #traindirty regime.
A tiny case like this Victorinox wheelie lets you forego check-in and be the first out of the airport. Pack the shoes in first, stuffing all your socks in there. Use a plastic bag or shower cap to cover shoes. Roll all your knits and jerseys and stuff them around the shoes, laying the jeans and shirts on top.
Fit all your toiletries, tech and reading material in the front section for easy access, it’s also an idea to pack a tote to dump any items you might need for the duration of your flight.
8. Do six weeks away like a roadie.
Going on a long trip, you might be tempted to bring a load of stuff, but as someone who once lugged an overstuffed rucksack – which contained a mini boombox among other things – around Europe for a month and a half, trust me, it ain’t worth it!
Make sure your packing is all killer, no filler. Carrying around wardrobe dead weight is going to get really tiresome after week four so forget anything that you don’t wear but you’re sure will look so great on a beach in Goa, road trippin’ in the USA, or sightseeing in Europe.
If you’re going away for an extended period of time, you’re either going to have access to laundry facilities or be slumming it gap yah style, so you’re really just going to want to bring a week’s worth of basics and socks. Lots of socks.
It’s all about weather-appropriate trousers, aka jeans, unless you’re heading somewhere really hot – some shorts and enough T-shirts to last 10 days. Flannel shirts don’t crease, and gingham is a great casual/formal go-anywhere piece. Everything top has to go with every bottom so a neutral palette with a few yolo T-shirts is a good idea. Bring two pairs of shoes, stuffed with socks as well as some flip flops if you’re going to be frequenting gross showers.
You can easily wash your smalls (socks and underwear) in hotel sinks to keep you going for emergencies. Sports socks are a great choice just because they’re so mini.
Take an old-school neoprene sleeve to keep all your tech bits in one place: a compact camera, travel adaptors, chargers, a portable speaker. Buying a portable charger for your electronics is a good idea. Don’t bother bringing a laptop, if you must, take an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard.
Traveller’s essentials like a microfibre towel, insect repellent, and a compass are all important for long-haul travel. A packable tote (the grey rectangle, above) is great to use as an overflow bag for souvenirs, novel food items, or those awesome hippy trousers you’ll never wear back home.