A Guide To Minimalist Holiday Packing

Team Hoo
25th November 2021

If you’ve been wondering why travellers are suddenly moving towards packing light, we’ve got all the answers for you. Here, we’re going to give you our hints and tips on what to take and how to pack your bag, as well as give you all the benefits for minimalist holiday packing. By the end, bringing less and experiencing more will be at the top of your agenda for your next trip. 

Benefits to Minimalist Holiday Packing

When it comes to minimalist holiday packing, there are both physical, financial and environmental benefits to packing lighter; from reducing the physical toll from carrying your luggage, to being kinder to the environment and saving you money. But, did you know it also aids more enjoyment when on holiday? This is because taking less frees you, allowing you to live and travel with less worry over what you have taken, to enjoy the places you’re visiting and the cultures you’re experiencing. 

Financially, minimalist holiday packing helps you ditch bad ideas such as overspending on purchasing new products or clothes for your holiday. Instead, adopt a capsule wardrobe of things you already own, because usually when we overpack, we don’t wear everything anyway. This saved money can then be used to experience more and make memories, as well as opening the possibility to use carry-ons and have shorter waiting times. 

For our environment, packing less and taking what is necessary is the first step in creating meaningful change. Reducing how much luggage we carry with us directly impacts the CO₂ emissions we emit when travelling. If we pack more consciously too and think about what we are purchasing, we can lower this impact even more by reducing the emissions caused by manufacturing.

Guide To Minimalist Holiday Packing

If the benefits above have you excitedly wondering where to begin, here’s our guide to minimalist holiday packing. Below are some ideas of what essentials you need to pack and suggestions on how to reduce and fill the rest of your suitcase. 

Purchase A Smaller Bag

First thing on the list, make sure to grab a smaller bag that won’t allow you to overindulge in packing clothes or other possessions you won’t need. Be sure to look at the size requirements for carry-on luggage if this is something you’re considering, as some airlines have strict restrictions. It’s also wise to see if it has additional pockets or spaces to help organise, so things are easy to grab if you need them. 

If you prefer to travel with a case, look at grabbing one made from lighter materials to keep the weight down. Consider opting for materials such as polyurethane rather than leather to ensure it’s ethically sourced. 

The Essentials 

These items are ones you cannot travel without, regardless of packing lighter or not. Depending on your trip there may be more, but we’ve done the basics for you. 

  • Your passport or Driver’s License.
  • Copies of passport, VISA and Driver’s License.
  • Insurance Documents/Travel Documents
  • Any Credit cards, Debit cards, Cash cards or cash
  • Your toothbrush and toothpaste. 
  • Comfortable walking shoes or trainers. 
  • A collapsible, reusable water bottle (when not in use, this will collapse down to save space). 
  • Any medications you require. 
  • Charging banks required gadgets such as phones, laptops. 
  • An appropriate jacket or waterproof. 
  • Map (if backpacking or travelling). 

Consider grabbing a waterproof A4 wallet or bag, which you can have access to when packing your suitcase, and protect any paper items above. 

Clothes and Shoes

Clothes and shoes are the bulk of what we pack, but to aid minimalist packing, we need to adopt a new way of shopping and only purchase things which fit into our new minimalist lifestyle. A capsule wardrobe contains clothes that never go out of fashion, which doesn’t  follow trends. The items can be interchanged with others, to create new outfits. Doing this will not only save you money, but it’s also less waste and better for the planet. 

When it comes to choosing your items, lay them out in each of the sections below:

  • Sleepwear and underwear
  • Daywear
  • Evening wear
  • Layers
  • Holiday-applicable clothes (such as swimwear).

Then, see what can cross over with others, such as a shirt that can be worn day and night, eliminating down to the minimal amount of clothes necessary covering you for your trip.

Once outfits are chosen, it’s time to choose shoes, being sure to pack appropriate shoes for the trip such as ones for the day and evening, plus holiday-applicable shoes (flip flops for a beach holiday and walking shoes for a hiking holiday).  


To save space, and be more environmentally conscious, repurpose the products you already have at home rather than buying new for your trip. Taking essentials you cannot be without is important too, we’ve made a helpful list just in case: 

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Body Wash/Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razer/Nail clippers
  • Dental Floss/Ear Cleaners
  • Menstrual Products 
  • Pain medication (Paracetamol/Ibuprofen) 

To reduce bulk in your bag, buy a small reusable plastic-free bottle for each item you can, and fill it up from the products you have at home. Not only is the bottle more environmentally conscious, but you’re then able to repurpose it for other trips, therefore buying less and saving you money for activities and trips. 

Other Items To Limit

For the technology lovers, where you can, see if any of your technology can double up to have multiple uses. If you usually take a tablet and a laptop, can you take the one? Can any of the charging cables double up to charge other products you’re taking? These are minor adjustments, but when it comes to packing, they can make all the difference. 

If you’re staying in a hotel, inquire what products they lend out and what is available in the room, i.e., hairdryers, beach towels, so you don’t have to pack them.

For book lovers, if you have a Kindle or on your tablet or phone, you can download a book reading app where you can download and read several books during your trip without taking up space in your luggage. 

How To Pack Like A Minimalist

While you may be packing less, there’s still a fair amount that needs to fit into a small space. If you’re wondering how it’s all going to fit, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips on how to maximise space in your suitcase or bag: 

  • If you can, wear the bulkiest items to the airport to increase space.
  • Roll clothes when packing, lining items inside others to keep it organised. 
  • Stuff socks and underwear in shoes, placing these at the bottom of the suitcase and placing other small clothing items around them (i.e., vest tops or swimwear). 
  • Invest in packing cubes to help organise and stack. These are usually thin and don’t add weight to your bag/suitcase either. 
  • Add a tote bag for dirty laundry for when you travel back to help separate clothing. 
  • Pack your toiletries and electronics on the top to save time at security. 

While this is the first step, it’s one of the most difficult. But, what you’ll gain from it quickly outweighs it. Cutting down what we take with us isn’t just freeing us from worry but allows us to take in what’s important: the country we are visiting. Minimalist holiday packing helps free ourselves from our possessions and instead experience the world around us, the things we see, and the moments we experience.  

Have you tried minimalist holiday packing? What did you think? Let us know on Insta or tweet us @justhooit, and don’t forget to check out how to make an offer on a hotel room with hoo.

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