Do you find yourself obsessing over what to pack for your next trip? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Many people have the misconception that efficient traveling involves packing your entire home into your suitcases.

However, this practice yields negligible results. Overpacking not only forces you to drag around multiple suitcases but also increases your carbon footprint. Unnecessary travel items often end up in the trash.

If you want to start packing more efficiently, keep reading. We listed down the practical, eco-friendly essentials that every minimalist traveler has in their suitcase. This guide will give you invaluable insights into traveling light.

Reduce your luggage by relying on multi-function, reusable items, such as:

Here is A List Every Minimalist Traveler Should Have in Their Suitcase

1. Light Clothing

packing less clothes

If you want to free up luggage space, the first thing that you should work on is packing less clothes. These garments likely make up the majority of your luggage. We understand that you want to look nice while traveling, but you will not benefit from packing your entire wardrobe. In the worst case, you might not even get the chance to wear all your clothes.

Strive to pack only light clothing like your tops and undergarments. You can wear the same pants, shoes, and jacket for the duration of your trip—especially if it’s a short one.

2. Laptop or Tablet

Multi-functional devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones will save you a lot of luggage space. Instead of packing bulky books, music players, portable DVD players, maps, or travel journals, you can rely on your gadgets. However, if you don’t need the features of a laptop or tablet, use your smartphone.

3. Basic Skincare Kit

Fair, healthy skin is crucial when traveling. Just imagine how your travel pictures would turn out if you suddenly get an acne breakout. Fortunately, you can combat skin issues by packing a small skincare kit. At least bring your facial wash, toner, makeup remover, and moisturizer.

Pro Tip: Have you ever considered how many cotton pads your skincare routine wastes? Most people probably go through thousands each year. Reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating single-use cotton pads and switching to safe, eco-friendly LastRound reusable rounds from LastObject.

4. Soap and Shampoo Bars

Soap and Shampoo Bars

The complimentary bottles of body soap and hair products in your hotel might come in small packaging, but they leave a significant carbon footprint. They contribute to the country’s worsening plastic waste problem. A cleanup drive by Starwood Hotels even shows that 95 of their hotels waste over 80,000 lbs. of these tiny plastic bottles collectively.

Sustainable, minimalist travelers can help reduce their plastic waste by using soap and shampoo bars. These items consume minimal luggage space, yet each bar lasts weeks. You can check out the eco-friendly, zero-plastic bars from The Package Free Shop.

5. Reusable Grocery Bag

Americans use about a hundred billion plastic bags per annum, all of which go straight to garbage dumps. Furthermore, each piece takes decades to decompose. As things stand, plastic waste will soon take over every landfill in the world.

To reduce your plastic waste while traveling, make sure to pack reusable bags. TOPDesign has cute, minimalist tote bags that you can use for various purposes, from carrying groceries to segregating dirty clothes.

6. Refillable Water Bottle

Stop buying bottled water! Not only do these cost a fortune overseas, but the plastic bottles they come packaged in contribute to the growing global plastic problem. Almost every country in the world has efforts to eliminate plastic bottles.

As a foreigner, you can do your part by using refillable water bottles instead. For ease and convenience, try this sports bottle jug from the H2O Capsule Store. It can keep half a gallon of water chilled for hours on end, so you don’t have to refill it repeatedly.

7. Essential Medication

Essential Medication

Never leave your prescription medication behind. In fact, we strongly suggest consulting your physician before leaving. Visiting another city or state, much less a country, requires you to be at your peak physical and mental condition. Do not hesitate to postpone your trip if your doctor has doubts about your situation.

Pro Tip: Do your pills keep getting lost inside your large suitcase? Check out this compact pill organizer from the Sukuos Store. Despite its small, space-saving size, its compartments can collectively hold 7 to 14 days’ worth of medication.

Travel With Lighter, Compact Suitcases, and Backpacks

While this list serves as a starting point to traveling lighter, the actual items you pack will still vary based on several factors. One-size-fits-all packing guides do not exist. For instance, you cannot expect people traveling with their entire family to pack as light and compact as solo backpackers.

Despite these variables, however, you can still strive for a minimalist, sustainable trip by downsizing your luggage. Eliminate all non-essentials. Instead of fitting your entire home into several suitcases, only pack the most functional and space-saving items that would make your trip convenient.

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