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Minimalist Travel Guide: How to Pack Light Like a Pro

by Esther Kuok. |


All ready to grab that break you so deserve? You throw a bunch of stuff into your luggage, only to pack and repack and repack to meet that minimum luggage requirement. Next thing you know, you find yourself sitting on the floor, clothes were strewn all over, feeling frustrated over what is supposed to be a fun getaway. We’ve all been there, so we’ve put together a guide on how to pack minimally and fuss-free!



1. Make a list and stick to it

More often than not, we pack our essentials and find ourselves aimlessly throwing whatever catches our eye into the bag. Before long, your suitcase is overflowing and you’ve to spend more time taking everything out and assessing if you should bring them along. That process is not only tiring and tedious—but unnecessary time and energy is spent on doing so!


To avoid this, make a list, check it twice (just like Santa does!) and ensure anything else added on has the same thought process behind it. Do I really need it? What are the chances that I will actually use it? Do I actually need another pair of shorts or a fancy dress? Making a list and ensuring unnecessary items are not included, then sticking to it when you pack is an important but often overlooked step for minimalist packing.



2. Bring along travel-sized items and sample

Travel-sized items are not only adorable in their mini packaging but practical too! There’s no need to bring your daily cleanser or moisturiser sitting in your bathroom or your 300ml makeup remover when you are only going away for a couple of days. Invest in a travel kit that includes everything you would need in a simplified daily skincare routine—cleanser, toner, moisturiser, etc. Tip: You can look out for trial kits as they contain essential trial-sized products of a skincare line, which serves the same purpose albeit with different marketing.

Image: classicallycontemporary


Personally, I love the Laneige travel/trial Perfect Renew Trial Kit as well as the Bio-Essence Bio White Advance Whitening Trial kit for a more budget-friendly option. In addition, this is the best time to utilise those samples you’ve been hoarding (I know I’m guilty of this). They take up less space than travel kits, totally ideal for a short getaway!


Bonus tip: I usually throw in a facial mask for a quick fix, and an intense surge of moisture and soothing for my face if I skip out on any routine steps by leaving out my normal skincare products.



3. Avoid packing last-minute.

This is a travel tip that saves the hassle you might face later on by putting a little smart planning to work in advance. If you’re staying in a hotel or an AirBnB you can check with the accommodation ahead of time to ensure you don’t bring unnecessary items if it will be available during your stay—for example: towels, hairdryers, shavers, you name it. These are not only bulky but will take up essential space in your luggage.


What’s more, you might have to bring bulky extension plugs and travel adapters if the country you’re visiting doesn’t have the same plug points as Malaysia. In some cases, the accommodation might have certain products that may not be listed in the booking details. Hence, it wouldn’t hurt to check with your accommodation in advance to see if it is possible to have the items prepared for your stay.



4. Dual-purpose creates double space.

Start getting creative and utilising dual (or multiple) purposes of the same item. Having this thought process is important to cut down on duplicate items that serve similar purposes, even if not originally designed to be multifunctional. It lends to the overarching idea of minimalist packing.


For example, a lipstick could be used as a blush (dual-purpose achieved) and additionally, as an eyeshadow even (and we level up to multi-purpose). A versatile glimmer eyeshadow (in a pot, don’t bring a huge palette) could be swiped on the cheeks as a highlighter or even dabbed on the lips to turn a matte shade into a glamourous glittery one. A scarf or shawl could double as an accessory to layer over an outfit, a beach wrap or a cover-up when it gets cold. Understandably, this might not be as luxurious as having a specific function for each item but hey, it’s only for a couple of days, right? It’s the little things like this that end up saving a lot of space in your luggage.



5. Go basic

We all don’t like being basic, but in this case, basic is the way to go, and this applies to our travel wardrobe. Instead of packing for each occasion—beach, airport, party, exploring; pack versatile clothing. The idea of a capsule wardrobe comes to mind. A capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

Image: mstravelsolo


Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with a basic tee, a denim jacket, a good pair of shorts and jeans, and a cute dress. A pair of statement earrings, a necklace or a scarf can easily dress up an outfit. In addition, a cute pair of sneakers (that are comfortable for walking) and a pair of flip-flops are my go-to footwear. I also wear my bulkiest footwear and clothing when travelling on flights to make room in my luggage. Bonus tip: roll up your clothing and stuff your socks in the empty nooks and crannies for efficient space usage.


These simple tips will transform your packing experience from frustrating into a fuss-free one! Not only that, packing minimalist and essential items will maximise your luggage space (for more shopping *wink*) but not at the expense of comfort.


Bon voyage!

You may find out more about Esther on her Instagram too.

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