All Things Considered: Minimalist Travel

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As a former material girl that struggled with an abundance of things, it’s no surprise over-packing for trips was also a problem I’d frequently run into. Recently, I made my own attempt at minimalist travel to push myself out of my cozy comfort zone and into the ice cold pool of curiosity and suffering all for inspirations sake. ✨

Oh, but how could I live without my UV gel polish set (primer, base coat, color, top coat) nail dryer, epilator, body wax, several pairs of shoes, and clothes I probably wouldn’t wear but I’d bring just in case? My luggage set was just as ridiculous as the amount of things I’d tote along with me: big, bold, Barbie. 💅🏻🎀

Nothing terribly fancy, but very easy to spot and grab at the baggage claim: Anne Klein Palm Springs Luggage Set in Pink/Blue. I lusted after the Baby Blue/Soft Pink set, though, because it was a bit more Barbie.

From Over Packing to Backpacking

Why would I do this to myself? Short answer: I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel. Don’t you dare forget it. Slightly longer answer: Challenges keep life interesting, and when I’m pissed off because I don’t have all of my creature comforts, I’m more inspired artistically. 🎨 Hey, I’m complicated.

This year, I’ve  gotten rid of a lot of things that were more like paperweights than anything useful. Material things just don’t rustle my jimmies like they used to; now I fill that void in healthier ways. Personal growth is magical, man. 🌈

Material Girl No More

Letting go of that part of myself is unbelievably freeing. Most material things aren’t important at all; neither was the emotional baggage I also shed to reach that revelation. Minimalism is my theme this year, and I needed to apply it to my travels. Enter: the backpack.

Challenge: allowing myself to bring only what I could fit into my backpack on a week-long  trip to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents.

The chosen backpack was a purple ProEtrade I found after 45 minutes of “research” on Amazon. My backpack requirements were: lots of pockets, under $30, and somewhat normal looking. This baby also matches one of my shirts. 💜

Light Packing Life-Savers

Compartmentalize. Packing cubes are raved about by travel bloggers because they help save so much space. More importantly: they keep you organized. Shortly after my backpack purchase, I returned to good ol’ Amazon for this set of packing cubes and they are heaven sent. 👼🏼

Oh, the things I’ve learned along the way. If you’re going to do this, do this:

  • use the roll-up method for packing your clothes (here’s a video), and pack them into packing cubes.
  • take strictly what you need. Nothing more.
  • I stress this: you don’t need that entire bottle of hair cream. Put a small amount in a smaller container.
  • don’t forget the things that could make your life easier, in general. Make sure you have room for: a water bottle, a fork and spoon, an umbrella, a knife, pain meds, ear plugs, a sleep mask, a travel pillow… etc.
  • you’ll probably need power, a portable charger would be wise.

Things I Own and Mentioned Here

Frankenstein’s Makeup

Poor Too Faced blush; I was very clumsy and dropped it while throwing this thing together.

My most genius minimalist travel breakthrough was definitely the custom palette I Frankensteined together. My materials included a Dollar Tree first aid kit, a hot glue gun, and makeup samples.

This night-owl-by-nature had already taken sleep aids and was racing the clock before being consumed by sleepiness. If you’ve got time to wait, a better option would be a magnetic Z-Palette. However, I happen to have more samples and mini sizes than I know what to do with!

The Sweet Details

First, I removed the pans from their packaging and hot glued them inside a plastic case that used to be a Dollar Tree first aid kit. For the face powder: I scraped it out of it’s original pan and added alcohol so that it was a paste I could scoop into an empty pan.

Voila! This palette, a set of travel makeup brushes I got from Wish, a Diorshow mascara mini, and a Kat Von D eyeliner mini was all I needed to look like a fresh-faced, youthful teenager. At least, that’s what they kept telling me.

  1. E.L.F brow kit wax in Light
  2. E.L.F brow kit wax in Medium
  3. Tarte shadow duo in Via Del Moro
  4. Too Faced Candlelight Glow hightlight sample
  5. Stila Puppy eye shadow single
  6. Too Faced Love Flush blush sample in Justify My Love
  7. Maybelline matte white shadow
  8. Loreal Paris True Match face powder in Porcelain
  9. NYX Tea Rose and Peach Bellini lipstick melted and mixed

Frankenstein’s Makeup Pro Tips: If you heat the bottom of the original containers, you’ll loosen the glue that is holding the pan in place. This makes it way easier to get out! I did this by resting my hot glue gun on it’s side, and sitting the makeup item on top of it for a few minutes. I melted my lipstick down in an empty pan by setting the pan on top of my hot glue gun, also.  💄🔫

Minimalist Travel Problems, Forgets, and Fails

One thing I’d change: I wish I had left a little more room in my backpack to account for souvenirs and gifts. Other than that, everything worked out perfectly. We skipped plane travel this round and opted to travel by bus. That means I had to rely on my backpack more than I normally would have. For that, I’m going to give myself an extra cookie. 🍪

Never miss an opportunity to escape the confines of your comfort zone; I promise it ain’t so bad out there. Safe travels! 🚀

November 13, 2017

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  • It can be hard going from everything to the minimum, but its freeing and when you do make the change, its so much easier to travel and move around.

  • I am a notorious overpacker and these are great tips! I also appreciate the PeeWee reference, one of my favorite lines 😉

  • Sarah Jean

    I find I end up wearing the same thing a few times when I travel and because of that, I overpack! I need to learn these tips better

    • I totally did the same thing. Too many “just in case” outfits lol, but I only wore what was comfy.

  • Kari Carter

    I take as little as possible when traveling too. If i can fit it into one oversized purse, perfect!

  • Abigail Howard 🦄

    Hi! Have you experimented with longer trips? I’m spending a month back home with my mom over the holiday season, and though I doubt one backpack will get me through, I’m still looking for ways to cut down on my tendency to overpack. Any advice for longer stints away from home base?