Ok! This was the challenge. Fit everything for an 11 day trip to Costa Rica into one simple backpack. Easy enough, right? Not so much…Over the years I have made progress. Each trip I pack a little lighter. But truly, how do you expect a girl to only bring one pair of shoes. On top of that I am a dreamer. I think about my trips months before they actually happen, probably to an unhealthy level. I day dream about sights and sounds and things I will need along the way. When the trip actually comes, I’ve figured out how to incorporate my whole wardrobe into the ordeal.
I decided this time, I was going to limit myself to one carry on bag. My goal to minimize my baggage over time has taken baby steps. Wow! That sounds like an analogy about something deeper and maybe it is. Like my last post, it is refreshing to carry less with you. Whether it is physically or mentally, the less you have to drag around the more free you feel. I have a long way to go before I would consider myself anywhere close to a minimalist but being aware and trying something new is a start at least.
After lots of thought and consideration, here is everything I choose to bring on this adventure.
Starting left to right, we have 2 dresses, a netted cover up, 1 sweatshirt, 2 tanks, 2 t-shirts, 1 blouse, 2 dry fit shirts, a waterproof jacket, 2 pairs of leggings, cargo pants, jean capris, and pajama/lounge pants. Then we have a sports bra, 2 mix and match bikinis, 1 pair of dry fit shorts, 1 pair of jean shorts, bra, sun glasses, my two favorite necklaces, a spork, a tiny box of earrings and hair accessories, my camera, 2 lenses, ipad, iphone, headbands, toiletries, my backpack, yoga rug, and finally, 1 pair of sandals. 4 pairs of underwear, my passport, chargers, and memory cards are already packed away in the bag.
To be honest, when I looked at all of this, it didn’t exactly feel like I was travelling light. After all the narrowing down I thought I did, my luggage is still sprawling across this rug. However, you have to take a step back and figure out what is right for you. How do you balance personal style and need versus excess.
I will give myself props for areas that I did cut down. I am only bringing 1 pair of shoes. I also cut 4 bathing suits down to two by mixing and matching my favorite pieces.
I also made sure to purchase all travel sized accessories so that I could maintain my goal of only bringing 1 carry-on bag and no checked luggage. Remember, all liquids need to be in 3.4 ounce containers or less for a carry-on. In prep for this tropical and seriously humid environment, I had to pack some extras – bug spray, sunscreen, and weather proof hair spray. I also decided to skip on the face lotion and just bring my small maracuja oil by Tarte. This product keeps my face just as hydrated as moisturizer and doesn’t take as much space. Less is more! Less is more.. I have to keep repeating this to myself.
Now, some of you might be thinking, how in the world did I attempt to fit all of this stuff into that little backpack. My new secret weapon…ZIP LOCK BAGS. I’m telling you, it is the cheapest easiest packing tip you will ever learn. Roll your clothes up tight. Stick as many articles of clothing as you can into a gallon sized zip lock bag and lay it on the floor. Lean on it with your knees and use all your weight to press out the air as you seal it up. This will seriously condense your luggage and allow you to fit twice as much as you normally would. I am not advertising carrying more, but it does help you save space.
Last but not least, I also think it is important to keep a sense of style. While I have a lot of pieces that are just solid colors so I can mix and match, I also packed a few accessories that make me happy. I grabbed a few pairs of my favorite earrings and packed them together in a tiny card board box and then chose my two favorite necklaces. While minimizing is the end goal, you don’t have to go completely bare bones. I always say, do what makes you happy!
Although I have a very fat backpack, I am proud to say it all fit! Goal accomplished!
Next time you travel, take a look at your extra baggage and see what you can leave behind. The way I see it, the less time you spend waiting in baggage lines, the more time to explore. In this day in age, where it seems as though we live to work versus work to live, it is so important to find ways to lighten your load. We all could use a little more freedom.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo Da Vinci
Next Stop, Costa Rica!