A few months ago our kids took their first trip where they packed their own luggage and managed it throughout the trip. It was a milestone that we have repeated a few times since, and each time we made clumsy mistakes but those have helped fine tune our process.
It was pretty easy to move the kids into their own bags as our oldest was glad that her clothes wouldn’t be next to our underwear. Next we just need to get 2 adults to fit in only carry-on bags for travel. Over a year, we overhauled our wardrobes and accessories with travel always in mind.
Clothes that Didn’t work for Travel
- Bulky clothing
- Heavy clothing, shoes or accessories; example: Our Swiss army backpack weighed 4 lbs empty.
- Non-versatile clothing or stand alone pieces that didn’t go with several other pieces in the wardrobe
- Excessive clothing; i.e.: 20 pairs of socks reduced to 5 pair
- Dated and unattractive clothing
- Ineffective and inefficient clothing
- Clothing that required belts
- Purses and fashion backpacks
Minimalist Travel Wardrobe
- Effective and efficient clothing – comfortable, lightweight, stylish, utilitarian, low-maintenance (no iron) clothing
- Mix and match clothing. Imagine that the lights are off. If you grab a shirt and a pair of pants, they should work together.
- Neutral palette pants or shirts that allows the paired shirt or pants to be more vibrant.
- Items that will work in the most adventurous of situations – Survival clothing.
- Minimalist shoes. (Luna Sandals, Tieks, Soft Star, Merrill, Vibrams, SKORA Base, & Vivobarefoot) Reduced weight by several pounds and recovered luggage space.
- No purses. Make it work with the pockets or other bags that are carried. Cargo pants, Hips Sister, and Holsters are options.
- 2-4 pairs of shoes (Workout sneaker or 2, sandal, dress shoe, flip flop or slipper)
- 1 special occasion outfit that utilizes same shoes, belts, and accessories of your compact wardrobe
How We Pack For Trips
- One Carry on bag per family member and one backpack. No checked bags.
- The kids mostly pack their own bags with a bit of jollying along or at the minimum check our work.
- Under-the-seat bag of electronics to have them ready for on-board use.
- Under-the-seat bag of foods and water, plus additional items we’ll possibly want during flight.
- Kids under-the-seat bags usually have their tech, headphones, jackets, scarves which double as blankets, and stuffed animals.
- Bring 1 or 2 stainless steel water containers to fill after security
- Carry-on overhead bags: shoes, clothes, heavy items, and healthcare items that we will not need during the flight. TSA Pre/ Global Entry eliminates needing to have healthcare items on the ready in the United States.
- Each person brings one pair minimalist sandals and one pair of minimalist sneakers
- All clothes are light weight and interchangeable and transitions from casual to nice.
- Light jacket that works for warmth and rain.
- Lightweight cargo pants to carry phones to eliminate purses and backpacks (Johnny Was, Marrakech, Travex-Mens)
- Hipster, phone wallet, hip purse or backpack instead of purse
- One booster seat if you need it like the Ozzi Clek
Leaving Extra Room
Leave extra room to bring home items purchased on your trips. Items we brought back from our last trips included useful items like thrift store purchases, soap, clothes, and stainless steel containers.
One of our relatives packs clothing that she donates at her travel destination to have extra space in her luggage for local finds. I love the idea and consider it on every trip, but have yet to make this strategy work for us as we tend to purge on a regular basis.
Benefits of Traveling Light
- Skipping baggage claim saves us time and the kids are SO much happier not having to wait for bags.
- Room for special items from our place of destination.
- No lost bags! Our bags end up where we end up.
- Zero theft from checked bags. I have had items lifted from my checked bags.
- Checking bags costs these days.
These days, we don’t even need to check bags for international flights. We recently took a flight on Emirates that offered free checked bags, so we figured, why not? We forgot one of the reasons that we don’t check bags is to save time. We waited nearly 30 minutes for our bags to arrive at baggage claim. It was late in the evening and our kids were tired from travel – the baggage delay really wrecked what was a lovely time traveling with Emirates.
Keep it light for the flight!
Additional Reading: Shop and Pack for Carry ons and Why you should never ever pack your kids suitcases for them
xo – Bar