Minimalist packing list
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General Minimalist Packing List For Women

Are you sick of dragging your big backpack or suitcase around with you on holidays? Do you get impatient waiting for your checked-in luggage at the airport and worry about what would happen if the airline lost it? This was me just a few years ago when I was travelling with my massive backpack through Southeast Asia. Before I realised how amazing minimalist travel is! Since then I started travelling anywhere, no matter for how long with just one small backpack. And there’s no going back for me. Are you ready to give it a try? Check out my minimalist packing list to help you get started.

Minimalist Packing Tips

Before we’ll have a look at my minimalist packing list, I want to share some general minimalist packing tips with you:

Minimalist packing list
Minimalist packing makes travel so much easier

  • Minimalist travel is way easier in summer than in winter. If I add one thick hoodie to my backpack it’s already half full. So my first tip is to start your minimalist travel journey to a country where it’s warm. But of course, I also have some tips for travelling in colder weather.
  • Make sure you have the right bag. If you’re taking the plane to get to your holiday destination, check the airline’s cabin bag measurements and look for an appropriate bag. I only travel with a small bag which fits under the seat. But if that’s too abrupt of a change go for the cabin bag. 
  • Wear your bulkiest outfit for travelling. This point is quite easy for me because I freeze easily and most airports and planes have AC on, so I always wear jeans, a hoodie and trainers. Depending on the season I also wear my jacket or carry it on my arm if I bring one.
  • Bring outfits that you can mix up. Do you have one gorgeous shirt but it only goes with a specific pair of pants? Don’t bring it! Bring versatile pieces you can mix and match. That way you can spice up your wardrobe by combining different things. 
  • Start wearing layers. This tip is especially if you’re travelling somewhere where it’s not hot all the time. There might be some days when the weather is cooler or just when it gets cooler in the evening. For those days you need layers. If I go on day trips on my holiday or just if the hotel is a bit outside the city centre, I wear a skirt and top during the day and have leggings and a shirt in my small day backpack.
  • Use packing cubes. When I first saw them, I thought they are the most useless and stupid intervention ever. But now I like them, they help keep your things organised and I think you can fit more stuff in than if you just put your clothes in loose. To optimise your packing cube don’t just put your clothes in folded, but roll them up.
  • Bring clothes for a maximum of one week. If your holidays last longer, you need to wash your clothes in your apartment or a laundrette.
  • Lay everything out on the floor. Get everything you want to bring, look at it and ask yourself if you really need everything laid out. That way you have a better overview of all your things.

Packing Cube with clothes in it
Use packing cubes to be more organised

Minimalist Packing List

I’m gonna give you a general minimalist packing list here. You might need to change it up a bit depending on what your holiday is gonna look like. For example, I usually don’t bring my towel since every hotel/hostel/apartment/Airbnb or wherever I stay has towels included. But if I’m going on a beach holiday, I bring a towel.

What Clothes To Pack

minimalist clothes packing tips
Bring clothes only for one week

Pack clothes for only one-week maximum, if you stay any longer than that, you’ll just have to do laundry. I also don’t wash my clothes after wearing them once. This minimal packing list of clothes already includes my outfit while travelling. 

  • 1 pair of Pyjamas. The most minimalist way to sleep would be naked, I guess. But I don’t feel comfortable sleeping naked, so there’s a pyjama on my minimalist packing list. In summer I bring short pyjamas and in winter long ones.
  • Underwear and socks for 7 days. If I travel in summer I bring only half as many socks, since I wear my flip-flops and don’t need socks.
  • 1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of flip-flops. You don’t need any more shoes than that, it’s become quite fashionable to wear sneakers with skirts and dresses, I think. And even if it weren’t I do it anyway because it’s convenient and comfortable. 
  • 1 pair of long pants. Usually, this means a pair of jeans for me, which I wear while travelling. I only bring a pair of thin pants if I go somewhere very hot.
  • 1 pair of leggings and in winter one pair of tights as well. I know leggings are so 80s but they are so handy. I wear them on a chill day in the hotel or pack them on a day trip in case it gets colder towards the evening.
  • 1 skirt and 1 pair of hot pants in summer, in fall/spring 2 skirts which go with the tights. In winter one skirt and another pair of long pants.
  • 3-4 tops or t-shirts. In summer I only bring tops, in fall/spring a mix of tops and t-shirts and in winter one t-shirt and two long sleeve t-shirts. 
  • 1 shirt. At home, I don’t wear shirts that often, but while travelling I realised that  I love wearing them. They fold up small, so I can take them on any day trip and I can put it on over my top when it gets a bit chilly in the evening or when my shoulders get sunburned.
  • 1 hoodie or sweater for when it gets cold. You might have noticed a theme already, I worry that I’m gonna be to cold a lot ;). In winter I take 2, so I don’t have to wear the same one over and over again.
  • 1 dress which goes with my leggings and my shirt. I only take a dress when I travel somewhere in summer.

What Toiletries To Pack

MInimalist toiletries packing list
Bring only essential toiletries

This one is quite easy for me since I don’t use make-up or deodorant, so I don’t have many toiletries to bring anyway. If you do use make-up, try to bring your minimal version of it. Only add those toiletries to your minimalist packing list which you absolutely need.

Most of my toiletries are zero waste or at least plastic free, check out my list of zero waste alternatives to most common toiletries.

So here’s my no-make-up minimalist packing list for toiletries:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste. I always take my electric toothbrush even though it uses more space but my teeth don’t feel clean otherwise. Depending on how long the trip is I have to bring my charger as well.
  • Shampoo bar. Taking a shampoo bar instead of a bottle of shampoo is better for the environment since no plastic is involved. And it’s easier if you’re flying with only carry-on luggage since you don’t need to worry about having too many liquids.
  • Hairbrush. Just bring any hairbrush you have at home, I’m not a big fan of buying new/smaller versions of things you already use at home just for travelling.
  • Face lotion, body butter and sunscreen if necessary. Body butter is a great alternative to body lotion. Same reasons as for shampoo bars, no plastic and no liquids problem at the airport.
  • Reusable swab. If you use cotton swabs consider switching to a reusable version. In the long haul, it’s more eco-friendly and it’s convenient for travel since it’s small and can be used an unlimited amount of times.
  • Nail clippers, nail file and tweezers. If you’re only going away for a few days you might not need them. I always bring them anyway. Just remember that some airlines do not allow nail scissors in case you’re using those.  
  • 1 razor. I want to have shaved legs, especially in the summer. If you can do without, good for you, that’s way more minimalist.
  • Lip balm. That one is very important, speaking from experience. While writing this, I’m sitting in Spain with super dry lips because I ran out of my usual lip balm and the new one I bought just doesn’t help at all. 

What Electronics To Pack

Minimalist electronics list
What electronics are you really gonna use?

No modern minimalist packing list can do without electronics. We are constantly surrounded by electronic devices. For some holidays are a great way to get away from them, others need to work while travelling. To whichever group you belong, only take the things you really use.

  • Phone and charger. Of course, a phone is gonna be on every minimalist packing list. Don’t think I need to add anything to that. Maybe I do, I love those phone cases you can hang over your neck for travelling. At first, I thought they look stupid, but they are so handy. With it, you don’t have to dig out your phone from your bag every time you want to take a picture.
  • Headphones are, of course, great for listening to music. But they’re also useful to watch preloaded movies on your phone on the plane. Nowadays some museums offer audio guide apps which you can listen to on your phone, for those occasions, it’s also nice to have headphones with you.
  • E-book reader. It’s great that you only have to bring one small e-book reader and you can have hundreds of books with you. The light is good for reading and the battery lasts a long time.
  • Camera and equipment if you need them.
  • Laptop if you need it. I sometimes used to bring a tablet but I don’t think it’s worth it. So bring a laptop if you’re working while travelling, otherwise you’ll be fine with just your phone.
  • Battery bank. I use my phone for navigating, taking pictures and looking stuff up online. All those things use up a lot of battery. So I always bring a battery bank with me on day trips. 
  • Adapter if you travel to a country with different sockets. You can easily check online what plug is used in your destination country.

What Else To Pack

Other things to pack
What else to bring

Here I’m gonna list what else is on my minimalist travel list, some of those things might be obvious but I want to give a complete packing list with nothing missing. So here we go:

  • Passport if you’re leaving your country on your holiday.
  • Backpack or suitcase which fits a plane’s carry-on luggage requirements. I just travel with one small backpack, but you can go for whichever you prefer. 
  • Small day trip bag. While travelling I walk around a lot and I need something to put my stuff in, like my wallet, camera, water bottle, leggings and whatever I might need. I don’t want to bring my normal backpack since it’s too big for a day walking around in a city. But I found a small backpack I absolutely love for small day trips. You can change the backpack to a handbag, you can wash it in the washing machine and it comes in so many different colours. My bag accompanied me on trips to the US, Southeast Asia and many other places. I also use it in my day-to-day life and I’ve washed it countless times. Now, after over 5 years, it’s starting to fall apart but I would still recommend it. It did a good service and when it finally dies for good I’m gonna get the same bag again in a different colour. 
  • Packing cubes. Like I already said in my minimalist packing tips, use packing cubes. There are multiple options out there from many brands. The important thing to watch out for is that they are light. So far I only had normal packing cubes. There are also fancy ones that are supposed to compress the content by a double zipper system. 
  • Water bottle. I always bring my own steel water bottle. It’s an easy way to reduce the waste you produce.
  • Health supplements and medicine. Bring whatever you take at home as well. I usually only bring B12 and DHA with me. 
  • Menstrual products if you need them on your holiday. I use reusable sanitary pads which is not the best for travelling, to be honest, but I want to try out period panties. Once I’ve tried them, I’ll keep you updated on how I like them. 
  • Sunglasses, because I love going where the sun is but it’s too bright for my eyes without sunglasses.

Minimalist Travelling

Discovering minimalist packing was life-changing for me. I can not imagine going back to waiting for the luggage to arrive at the airport and carrying my big massive backpack around with me which is almost the same size as me. 

I’m still discovering things while doing them and so will you. Just pay attention to what you actually use on your holiday. I try to pack minimalist already and still I sometimes discover things that I could have done without. 

Hopefully, you can take away a few things from my minimalist packing list. Just give it a go and try minimalist travel once, you might realise how great and freeing it is to not have to carry so much weight all the time. 

Minimalist packing list pin
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  1. Wow, you have thought of everything! I tend to overpack and packing for little ones on top of that makes your advice very helpful! Thank you for sharing!

  2. These are great tips for minimalistic travel, I can’t ever seem to do with out my suitcases though on the most part we have downsized to a carry-on each

  3. Awesome list, thank you so much! This is super helpful for when I have to pack for an upcoming 10-day trip. Thank you for sharing your tips!

  4. Even I used to believe that packing cubes are such futile travel accessories until I saw one of my friends using them on our last trip. Her suitcase was the most organized, and so did her mind.

  5. Packing cubes are a life saver, I love them.
    I agree that it’s much easier to travel light when you’re headed to warmer destinations. I find it challenging when I’m going to switch from warm to cold and so forth.
    These are great tips (the one about planning for only one week is awesome).

    1. When you travel from a warm climate to a cold one or the other way around, layers help a lot! I love bringing skirts and tights, I’ll wear just the skirt in warm weather and put on tights underneath in cold weather.

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the day bag I wrote about in my blog because it broke just before I set off on my trip. I still really like it though, I used it for many years and washed it many times before it broke. It was from Gary Mash, an Austrian brand but I think they ship worldwide. In the video, I have a very basic day bag from Adore June.

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