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The Minimalist Travel Packing List may seem a bit extreme for a weekend trip let alone a Round-the-World adventure. However, Travel Fashion Girl can’t take all the credit for this unique packing list.
The 4 Item Minimalista Packing Guide was inspired by 22 year old backpacker Deanne Ballard.
The Ultimate Minimalist Traveler
The contents of her bag consisted of convertible trek pants, one sleeveless top, one long sleeve shirt, one sun dress, rain jacket, travel sized toiletries, and her treasured kindle. Talk about packing light!
At first thought it would seem that Deanne is a natural minimalist. On the contrary, at home in Vancouver she’s no Plain Jane. In fact, she’s the exact opposite – she has a massive closet filled with beautiful dresses and towering high heels.
Read on to find out what inspired fashion forward Deanne to ditch her clothes and opt for an uber minimalist travel style.
Deanne’s unpacked day bag at the end of her trip
Q: What influenced your minimalist travel style with just one day pack for 6 months?
I travelled with a full size backpack on a previous trip to South America and quickly realized I didn’t need most of the items I brought with me.
A couple of months into the trip I couldn’t stand lugging around all the weight and ended up tossing both the bag and its contents. I trashed the stuff I hadn’t been using – mostly clothes (extra jeans, sweaters, shirts) and decided to travel only with the detachable day pack which was the best decision I could have made.
For this trip, I made sure not to repeat my mistakes and planned each item very carefully.
Q: How did you select the items for your current trip?
After careful consideration, I chose items that best met my travel needs – beaches and treks. I only brought things I didn’t think I could find in Central America. If I forgot something like sunscreen or nail clippers I knew I could find it here.
If you buy things as needed, you don’t end up with excess weight and useless items you could do without.
To preserve my clothing, I also carry a small sewing kit to make repairs instead of throwing items away or having to buy new things. I started the trip with a skirt but had to buy a new sundress in Mexico when it ripped to the point of no return. I’m using what’s left of the fabric as a sarong until I buy one.
Check out TFG’s My 5 Must Have Travel Essentials.
Q: What are the benefits of minimalist travel without a large backpack?
It’s so much less stressful getting around especially from the bus station to your accommodation. On my previous trip, I spent too much time worrying about getting to a hostel as quickly as possible just to store my bag. It’s also more feasible to do multi day treks and convenient for lockers too.
Q: What are the downsides about traveling with just a day pack?
The one downfall is that I don’t have much room if I do want to buy more stuff like jeans or a sweater as I get into higher and colder climates. Although, I also have a shoulder bag which offers a bit of extra room.
Packing Light with One Day Bag
Q: How does your travel style differ from your style at home?
At home I have a more polished feminine casual style and like to wear high heels. I like to be creative and have a stylish girl next door look.
Traveling with just 4 clothing items in a daypack, I can’t be very imaginative with my travel outfits and get bored quite easily. I try to creatively mix and match my options and use a thin scarf to help accessorize. I use the scarf as a belt, headband, etc. At home, I can go more than a month without repeating an outfit and almost never wear the same outfit twice.
Q: What ,if anything, do you miss from your wardrobe at home?
Shoes. I have so many shoes at home and miss them very much.
For tips on choosing travel shoes, check out this 10 step guide!
Q: Would you make any changes to the items you packed if you could do it again?
I made the mistake of not planning travel outfits in advance. I would have brought a different tank top because the one I have doesn’t coordinate well with both the pants and the skirt (before it ripped).
Learn how to plan travel outfits in advance.
Q: Do you have any tips to travelers that are hoping to minimize their gear but are having trouble letting go of their belongings?
Prioritize. Pick five things that you would be happy wearing but are also versatile. Every item MUST be multi-use. Nothing in your bag should have only one use.
Post Trip Thoughts:
During her trip, Deanne added 2 extra clothing items to her pack (second hand jeans and hoodie) when she found herself in cooler climate and higher altitudes. Fortunately, everything still fit into her daypack! What an inspiration!
Check out the Travel Fashion Girl Packing List: What to Pack for Mexico featuring 6 cute travel outfits with just 6 clothing items.
Do you consider yourself a light packer? Could you pack light with just four clothing items? Share your travel style!
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Author Bio: Deanne Ballard is originally from British Colombia, Canada, 22yrs old and a cook. She’s backpacking solo through Latin America for 6 months. Deanne chose minimalist travel for 6 months around Mexico and Central America with just one day pack and a handful of clothing items – 4 to be exact.
Wow! What an inspiration! I find myself packing more and more minimally, able to do a weekend easily in a backpack since I tend to use value airlines. But shoes are my total downfall. Im I’m the search for the unicorn pair that will take me from light hiking all the way to dinner out and not look too “travel”, if you know what I mean.
Here’s another hack: I pack clothes that are old but don’ t have the courage to throw away. On your way back, toss them, as this will create extra room in your small luggage for the shopping you will have done while travelling. Plus, you get rid of your old stuff.
Thanks for sharing!
This is really inspiring! I traveled Europe for 3 weeks last year with 1 bag and did pretty well for a first-timer, but I am definitely paring down even more next time!
What brand is the blue backpack you used?
Packing light is the way to go. It’s the ultimate freedom. I have found this to be true with possessions at home too.
The things you own, end up owning you!
Hi Andy, thanks for reading! When you pack light on the road you do realize that you don’t need so much “stuff” at home too. One of the many wonderful lessons of travel. 🙂