Top 10 tips for being a minimalist packer!


Most of us are definitely not minimalist.

Anyone who has ever seen my wardrobe can vouch for that. However, I have been making an effort to tidy up my life and clear out all the unnecessary items that I don’t need.

I currently own far too many clothes still, but after 6 bags of clothes donated I think I am doing fine. Promise – I will clear a lot of my scruffy clothes out in few months when I move out, I still currently wear them for rowing(I should do more laundry but shhh).

Recently I have been trying to cut down on buying new clothes. In fact I have only bought a few items of clothing in the past year – I also lived over the whole summer with 6 t-shirts. That wasn’t just these 5 weeks away, I stayed at my parent’s house where I have the odd few clothes left. Also, I like travelling light, but I hate getting rid of everything so I decided I could help you become more minimalist with packing. It has been a a journey.


I was the world’s worst packer when I was younger,  I even took 23 pairs of shoes to France with us in the car when I was 13.

I own less than 7 pairs of shoes now, with 3 pairs that I actually wear! However, after my trip to Nepal, I became a MORE minimalist packer, much before I even realised such a word existed.

I barely fill my hand luggage sized rucksack for a couple of weeks away at the moment, but it also helps that my clothes and shoes are fairly small and don’t take up as much space as my boyfriends.

So here is my 10 tips on how to pack like a minimalist:

1. Bags – Less Luggage, More Comfort!

Cheap flights always come with expensive hold luggage costs, even Ryanair has a decent sized suitcase or rucksack allowance and who really needs 20kg?

***Update August 2018 – Ryanair will now be charging for their suitcase-sized bag, you are now only allowed a ‘personal’ bag for free.***

There are a lot of under a week trips, where most people can travel with just a carry-on sized bag. Instead, we carry a lot just because we are used to it and want to be prepared – guides taught me that.

Just think about what you actually need – YOU PROBABLY WON’T CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES 3 TIMES A DAY ON HOLIDAY!!



2. Clothes – Mix & Match

Pack clothes which match with everything else, so that you can mix and match and get different looks. It is well known that neutral shades help to create combinations of outfits from a handful of tops and bottoms. I usually wear a lot of white tops which go well with almost any kind of shorts/skirts.

Or I decide to go for various shades of blue, you can’t go too far wrong there!


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One of the many blue shirts in Lake Como


For us ladies, scarves & shawls can also be smartly chosen to create multiple looks.

Clothes which are light to carry & dry is always the best option.

3. Shoes/Footwear – Carry what you need

You will not need 10 pairs of heels/sandals for a trip – I shout this at my former self and her awful packing skills. I usually pack about 3 pairs of flip flops/sandals/jelly shoes – yes I love my jelly shoes and have lived in the same two beaten up pairs for 3 years now.

Make sure your shoes are comfortable for walking around.  I always take flipflops for when my sandals rub (My feet blister for no apparent reason) and then a nicer pair of sandals for going out.

I also throw them into the waterbottle holders in my bag, always extra space then

4. Toiletries – Take the minimum

I actually only use a few products, normally we also share if it’s a couple’s trip. What’s the point in having two lots of toothpaste or shower gel?

Just stick to under 100ml and pack the essentials like shampoo, suncream, shower gel or soap (much easier to take bars through) deodorant, toothpaste and a bit of perfume! Anything else is a bonus.

I love my shampoo bar from lush that I bought to reduce my plastic waste. Can’t travel without it now!


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5. Smaller Bags – Great for trips out and about

Always take a small bag or rucksack with you as it can be such a help for spending the whole day walking around one city. I have a fold down rucksack, which saves space and means I can carry water around with us all day. Just empty them first, also goes for purses and wallets. Make sure you don’t take your unnecessary git cards or loyalty cards on a world trip.


6. Makeup & Accessories 

I barely wear make up – I kind of got fed up around sixth form college and only wear it for special occasions now.

However, I would suggest just taking the bare minimum – especially if you’re going somewhere sunny where you will tan and don’t need thick foundation. Also, and all in one palette is a life saver you can use products for more that one thing like uing the same colour for blush and eyeshadow.

7. Snacks 

I always buy food to take through the airports and eat on the plane, but many snacks don’t travel well!

The Great Ambini is the queen of being hangry. I have actually broken down in Sainsbury’s crying as I was hangry and had no idea what I wanted to eat.

Airport snacks are a must – you can take food through onto planes, however only take what you will actually eat

8. Carry a Reusable bag

The rucksack is great, but we also make sure to have a carrier bag or bag for life with us, just for food shop runs or just general day to day stuff.

9. Electronics & Gadgets 

Think about if you really need a tablet, a laptop & a phone during your trip. Once you plan your activities and routes, you may be able to get away with just a phone and camera. (Or both if your phone has a brilliant camera!)

If you’re unlucky like me – everything broke while we were away. Thankfully all the flights were booked before and all our flight check-ins were done on our mobiles.

BUT, don’t forget your travel adaptors – or you will be like us in Cluj… where we spent an evening playing ‘tabletop rugby’ with some coins.


10. Carry, Hire or Buy – Make the Right Call

Compare what is the best option for each item – to carry it, hire it or buy it at the destination.

It would make better sense if you can hire a snorkelling gear for a reasonable price if you are going to snorkel only once on your two-week trip. ALTHOUGH we did buy our own in Spain and carry them across Europe (and they were used twice, because our beach week was rearranged!)

Similarly, I take a travel towel but use everyone provided in hotels or by airbnb hosts as fluffy towels are so much nicer! (travel towels are a great space saver blanket!)

Hope you enjoyed – have you got any tips?

The Great Ambini

x x x

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Have you ever wondered how to pack less and still have everything for a long trip? #packing #packinghacks #travel #travelhacks #suitcase #carryon

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13 Replies to “Top 10 tips for being a minimalist packer!”

  1. Good tips! We recently came across a similar article recommending packing cubes, which really help you to organise your essentials especially if using a backpack – saves diving in headfirst to get to that essential item that us unfortunately at the bottom!

  2. Who needs a 20kg luggage? Me! Traveling with a kid is not that easy! It’s always like “may be I should take this or that..what if I need this for her or that”…it definitely keeps getting better as the child grows.

  3. Guilty of over packing every time! Thank you for your simple and attainable approach to packing lighter! You’re so right about what a traveler really needs on holiday! Thanks for sharing, I’m really going to try downsizing for my next trip!
    Sippin Gypsy

  4. I am definitely with you! A minimalist packer over here 🙂 My husband and I are getting ready for a year long world trip with our daughter and we are only taking 2 carryon backpacks 🙂

  5. These are great tips! My biggest struggle is always shoes. I once traveled to Europe for 3 weeks and only brought 3 pairs of shoes, and I felt so boring. So then I upped my magic number to 5, but then I always end up not wearing one of them. So maybe now I’ll settle on 4! haha. I legitimately hate packing, but love this guide so thanks for the tips!

  6. Great tips on being a minimalist Packer! I struggle with Darcee usually overpacking for our long travels so I had to remind her that usually we can get stuff wherever we travel so the less is always better. She has gotten a lot better with mix & matching her outfits and making sure she opts for comfort over fashionable!

  7. This article reminded me when I shifted from Europe to Africa – fitted all my luggage into one backpavk and laptop bag and still had more with ne than I ever needed. Great advices shared!

  8. Very nice tips! I generally end up overpacking but this habit has improved since my last two trips. I’m still learning to travel light. I like your idea of mix and match and carrying smaller bags. I’m definitely going to try these tips for my next trip.

  9. I’m totally with you. We travel with only carry-on bags. No worries of bags getting lost or not fitting in transportation etc.
    Less is definitely more… more comfort and more fun.

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