Staying stylish while travelling is really, really easy – and I’ll explain why.
In fact, I get agitated whenever I have too much stuff on my person – things tend to get a little bit hectic. I like everything to be streamlined, efficient and completely devoid of clutter, fluff and faff.
Maybe too much so.
Maybe I’m OCD, maybe I’m mentally askew, maybe a lot of things – but one things for sure, I am definitely a minimalist.
Bear with me though.
We all want our lives to be free of clutter though, don’t we?
I thin we can all agree that this becomes far more pronounced when we go away on our jollies. However will you pack your essentials – your bloody life(!) – into one little suitcase?
That’s the easy part.
What if I told you that you could go one step further?
WHAT IF I TOLD YOU…
That you could fit your life into a gosh darn backpack?
Modern life can be a blessing and a curse. It has made us believe we cannot be without so much, yet if you harness it correctly, you can live life to its fullest with so little.
Are you ready to learn how to become the most stylish, minimal smooth ass criminal in the world?
Well then let’s do it!
Where to start?
The hardest part of anything in life is literally just starting.
If you can get yourself set up with a solid plan and simply take that step of getting the ball rolling, you’ll find that condensing your belongings down to the essentials will become a much easier task than you had first thought.
Can minimalists be stylish?
Being a minimalist isn’t about giving up things – it’s about investing in the right things and choosing to be intentional with what you purchase, what you keep and what you throw away/donate/sell.
You can still be cool asf as a minimalist. If you need any proof, just look at me – I am the coolest person on this planet…so my mum tells me.
In all seriousness though, of course you can be stylish. Minimalism teaches you to be deliberate about what you invest in, meaning you’re more likely to take your time with a purchase and really analyse what the piece can bring to your wardrobe, how it will fit with current bits in the #rotation and if it will still be cool for years to come.
I’ve still got clothes that I wear day to day that I did 4 years ago when I started my journey, which goes to show just how effective being a minimalist is for your wardrobe (and your wallet).
I’d like to think I’m a stylish git, so trust me on this one – you’ll be fine.
How to stay stylish while travelling light
It’s pretty easy, but here are a few tips to get you started that aren’t exactly related to being stylish, per se.
Trim the toiletries
You’re not gonna need a big bottle of shampoo, conditioner and the rest of it. In fact, you don’t even need to bring the little miniature travel bottles – virtually all hotels and Air BnB’s have their own toiletries for you to use.
Maybe still bring your toothpaste though and if you want to be super cautious you can bring a bar of soap too.
Sack off the hairdryer whilst you’re at it. Every hotel and Air BnB has a hairdryer so don’t waste space in your bag with this.
If you want a list of toiletries that I personally bring to give you an idea, here goes;
- Coconut oil (for hair, moisturiser and natural deodorant)
- Roll of Mitchum deodorant (in case it’s a hot place and I become a sweaty pig)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
I don’t bring a bar of soap because if my hotel or apartment doesn’t have one, I can just go to a shop and buy one on the cheap. I also don’t usually bring aftershave but sometimes I might – depends on if I’m trying to impress the missus or not.
Enforce personal limitations
Set what your baggage allowance is going to be and stick to it.
For example, if you’re going to try the 1-week in a backpack challenge, you must fit everything into that backpack. Don’t deviate from the plan and buy a suitcase allowance or more hand luggage.
If it doesn’t all fit, re-asses your haul, see what’s important and what’s not, then trim accordingly.
If you’re a normal person, you’ll be able to asses your stuff with some sense of practicality and fit it all in eventually. That way, you’ll be better prepared for next time too, as you’ll know what you needed, what you didn’t and if you need to change anything next time round.
We’re all about learning here gang.
Actually make a packing list
Don’t just dive in Gung-ho and cobble together everything you might need just in case. It doesn’t work like that. If you live your life by just incase-s then you’re going to live a frigid existence.
Make a list of what you are going to need and go from there.
Once you’ve made that list, go through it a few more times and try to trim off the fat – look for things that you think you’ll need but you might be able to get for cheap/free on your travels such as soaps, moisturisers, hairdryers, etc.
I have my full list of gear a bit further down, so read on if you want a template to work from.
Use compression cubes
Compression cubes are the absolute cat’s pyjamas for staying stylish while travelling light.
They make packing more of your clobber so much easier.
Basically, they’re like vacuum sealing your stuff, except you don’t have to go through the faff of vacuuming anything – you just zip the bag up!
It’s like witchcraft – but it’s bloody good.
There’s a company called Eagle Creek that do good ones but there’s loads to choose from so a little Google search wouldn’t be a bad idea.
All you need to do is keep reminding yourself that you don’t need everything you think you do.
Repeat it to yourself;
“I don’t need everything I think I do”
And remember it when you reach for that onesie that you haven’t worn since 2009…
The Minimalist Manifesto
Now before I give you my full gear list, here are a few tips that are related to your style endeavours.
Swerve the jeans
Don’t pack jeans – or any extra trousers for that matter.
If your goal is to be ultra-minimal and get everything packed into your backpack, then jeans and trousers are going to take up a whole lot of space. They go really thick when folded or rolled up and it’s just not cool dude.
Obviously you’re probably going to want to wear jeans at some point on your trip, so just wear them to travel in. That’s simple enough isn’t it?
The 2 shoe policy
Don’t take any more than 2 pairs of shoes. Any more is just overkill.
You’ll also want them to be super versatile so pick ones you can wear in the gym, with shorts and with trousers – Converse and Vans are great for this.
Wear what you can
This is a cheeky way of getting around airport baggage rules.
I’d advise only taking one coat/jacket and wearing it on the way there and back so that you don’t have to take up valuable space in your bag.
That way, you’re still staying stylish while travelling light aren’t you?
Wear as many of your clothes as possible – not to the point of Joey – but I mean, maybe try a t-shirt with a shirt over it and then your jacket on top. Along with that, put any accessories on and in your pockets.
You’re technically wearing the stuff, not carrying it, so you’ll be able to get a bit more through with you.
The more you know…
Do your research.
Check what weather you’ll be facing, what the climate’s like where you’re going and if you’ll need any special gear.
Will you need little weird sandals for the beach? Is it a shorts-only job? Or will you need a poncho for 3 out of the 7 days?
The possibilities can be endless, but with a bit of research and planning on your part, you’ll probably end up cutting down the stuff you bring massively.
Fail to prepare – prepare to fail.
Mix and match
Be sure to pack stuff that you know works well together. That sounds straight forward I know, but I mean – you want all of your stuff to well together.
This way, you can keep mixing up all your pieces to make new outfits, even if you’re wearing the same t-shirt for a second day or you decide to wear your shorts for three days in a row.
As long as everything coordinates then it should feel like a fresh look each day.
Don’t be afraid to wash
Remember, your hotel will have a laundry service and most Air BnB’s have washing machines so if you’re desperate for more clean undies, just throw them on a wash and dry cycle and they’ll be as good as new in a few hours.
Sweaty balls will be a thing of the past amigo.
Righty-ho, let’s get to the official checklist for staying stylish while travelling shall we? The following is what I would (and have) pack for a week away.
My example will be right down the middle in terms of weather just so you can get an idea of things. What you pack for hot weather will be completely different for cold weather – obviously – so I’ll sit on the fence and go for that sweet, sweet medium weather.
We all love medium weather don’t we?
- 4 t-shirts (grey, white, striped & navy)
- 3 polo shirts (striped, khaki and navy)
- 2 short sleeve shirts (Khaki & Navy – both the same type of heatgear shirt from Zara).
- 1 smart shirt (Blue oxford from Reiss)
- 2 pairs of shorts (black & navy)
- 1 pair of jeans (black or blue depending on what I’m feeling)
- 2 pairs of shoes (Vivobarefoot Stealth II & Loake Sprints)
- 7 pairs of boxers & 7 pairs of socks (4 invisible & 3 normal)
- 1 light jacket (ASOS denim jacket is my usual go to)
How to utilise this checklist?
It’s not too hard to wrap your head around my ‘Minimalist Manifesto’. All you have to do is get yourself in the mood by perusing the benefits on offer, then just start.
After simply getting the ball rolling, you won’t want to stop. Culling your wardrobe can be a really liberating experience and you may even end up getting a bit carried away, chucking out just about everything since you realise that you basically wear the same 5 things every week.
Anyway, check over the manifesto, look at my recommendations for travelling light, see where you can apply that to your own holiday/trip and go from there.
In fact, copy my exact packing criteria if you want to be an unoriginal amoeba.
At the end of the day, you do you – but if you can take little steps to becoming a minimalist, you’ll be able to travel light for the rest of your life. Stress will erode, your holidays will become far more fun and you’ll look bloody stylish whilst doing it.
And that is that my good sirs.
If you want to see my minimal style and travel escapades, bookmark the blog and give me a follow on Instagram.
Until next time amigos!