Vacation packing and planning


Trunk-crateA minimalist needs very little, to have a full life. This concept is amplified when it comes to a minimalist going on vacation; He/she needs close to nothing for vacation. Just bare necessities.

Here is my procedure for vacation packing.

When it comes to packing for vacation, I always start with the wardrobe and toiletries. It helps to think of our “needs list” in order from head to toe. My list looks something like:

  1. Cap/hat (maybe)
  2. Hair brush
  3. Hair product (if there is any formal event)
  4. Prescription glasses
  5. Contact lenses, spare lenses, case, and solution
  6. Q-tips for ears (depending on how long the vacay is)
  7. Tooth brush, paste, and floss
  8. Razor and shave cream (depending on how long the vacay is)
  9. Deodorant
  10. Climate appropriate shirts*
  11. Climate appropriate pants (JEANS, and jean shorts mostly)*
  12. Underwear*
  13. Socks*
  14. Climate appropriate footwear (not more than two pair …. and one of them I am wearing)
  15. Plastic trash bag to hold all the dirty clothes
  16. Collapsible travel bag (backpack) and sling bag
  17. All the typical necessities one must have with them at all times which nowadays includes:  Wallet/purse, smart phone (with charger and ear buds), maybe sunglasses.

*The quantities of these match the number of days I will be on vacation, capping off at seven; except for jeans. Two pair of jeans and/or jean shorts are plenty for an entire week. In the event we run out of clean clothes or an accident happens and we need more, most hotels have a washing facility.

And that’s 90% of what I pack. Easy pa-cheesy. The rest is just a few destination specific items. Example: If my vacation is a beach vacation (and it usually is), I would pack a beach towel, trunks, tanning goggles, and sunblock. It is important to weigh whether it is more worth renting/buying these items once we reach the destination than bringing them with us.

Example: It could be a pain to lug a beach chair around everywhere just so you can use it once when we are finally at the beach, when we can rent a beach chair AT the beach for only $5. Usually those chairs are better built anyway. If the cost to rent these things is cheap enough, it’s not even worth owning them in the first place. Usually one can rent a chair and umbrella at most beaches (beach umbrella’s are really hard to lug around). These are items that usually break in a couple of years anyway. It never pays to own them unless we live on the beach.

I then pack all these items in a 1’x 1′ x 2.5′ bag.


Now for planning the vacation itself. This is very important to do, but again, this also should be very light. Obviously we want to book all the things that need to be booked (flight, hotel, time sensitive events), but beyond that we should only have a good knowledge foundation of all that our vacation destination has to offer. We should educate ourselves on all the upcoming events, activities, popular places, and dining that our destination has to offer. After that, just a general outline of all the things we want to do will suffice.

It’s been my experience that when we create to rigid a schedule for vacation, we end up always in a rush to fit in as much as we can; and often times we miss something. Also, our vacation turns into a chore, a job. Furthermore, when we follow the narrow path we set for ourselves, we often put blinders on, thereby closing ourselves off from other opportunities that present themselves which we might enjoy even more; we leave no room for spontaneity.

Other Vacation Tips:

  • If the trip is only a week or less, don’t even bother to unpack the luggage. take things out only as you need them. Why waste the time and effort of actually putting everything in drawers and cabinets.
  • Toiletries. If you are going to a hotel, they already have shampoo and soap. If they don’t, body-wash serves both functions. So a tiny bottle of that will do.
  • I can’t believe there are people who still don’t use EZ pass.
  • No laptop computers unless we have to. Despite the fact that they are laptop, they’re still a hassle to lug around. Not to mention they can get stolen. Doesn’t a good smartphone serve most of its functions anyway?
  • I mention above that I bring a back pack and sling bag. Well, If you are on vacation there is always a change you are going to have some cargo when walking around. Whether we are bringing amenities to the beach (towel, sunscreen, etc), or we are cruising the strip shopping, it is convenient to have a hands free carryall that we don’t have to pay much attention to. A sling bag cannot hold as much, but it is so much more compact. When not in use it can be folded up and put in our jeans pocket.
  • If we are not staying at a hotel, trash disposal may be a concern. So for this circumstance, I recommend packing a couple industrial sized trash bags. Load them up, and throw them in a dumpster. Any dumpster.
  • Vacation in places where everything is in walking distance from each other. I have found that too much time is wasted in transit during a vacation from one event to another. It kinda breaks the momentum of enjoyment.