When I was at university in Norway, I spent a year in the UK as part of my degree. Moving from one country to another when you’re only allowed 20 kg in the hold + 5 kg hand luggage is a bit of a challenge, to put it mildly. Reports from students who had done the same thing before me taught me one important thing, though: don’t bring too much stuff. They all felt they had packed too many belongings, only to realise that they could buy pretty much everything they needed there – and cheaper, too.
This experience was probably an important part of why I became a minimalist. It taught me that less is more, and that there is no need to pack for every eventuality. Unless you’re visiting a very remote corner of the world, you will be able to buy what you need to get by.
These days I rarely go away for more than 10 days (because of my Albert-monkey), so I always travel with hand baggage / cabin luggage / carry-on only.
If you’re curious to see what a minimalist would pack for 10 days away (2 in the UK, 8 in Cyprus), keep scrolling. Obviously you don’t need very bulky clothes in Cyprus – even in October – but I used the same bag when I went to Norway for a week in March (when there was still snow everywhere), so this is totally doable.
I ordered the Cabin Max Edinburgh carry-on backpack pictured above in March, before my trip to Norway. It is designed to match the hand luggage allowance of most airlines and measures 50 x 40 x 20 cm , so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will be allowed to bring your luggage into the cabin. I love it – it is designed like a suitcase, but has all the benefits of a backpack. Most airlines (though not easyJet) also allow you to bring a ‘personal item’, in my case a Michael Kors Jet Set tote bag, in addition to your cabin luggage. This is all I need for 10 days away, and it leaves room for presents and souvenirs as well. (Here’s a handy list from Skyscanner where you can check the hand luggage allowances of most popular airlines.)
So here’s what I packed:
Cath Kidston Little Birds backpack (discontinued – similar here)
Dulcis Stardust gold kitten heels (preloved fleamarket find)
Tesco white crossover sandals (discontinued – similar here)
Adidas Infinitex swimsuit
Decathlon microfibre xxl towel (discontinued – similar here)
Rab silk sleeping bag liner
I love my Cath Kidston backpack, and bring it on most of my trips. You never know when an extra bag might come in handy, and this one takes up no space at all as it can be tucked into its own front pocket. Since it is made of nylon, it is very practical as a beach bag, though it is great for sightseeing and shopping as well. It is a shame that this model been discontinued, but the new ones are very similar.
I always bring a big towel, no matter where I’m staying. If I’m crashing with friends I think it is only fair to spare them the extra laundry, and many hotels won’t let you bring hotel towels to the beach, so a towel is a must. So far, this Decathlon microfibre xxl towel has been my towel of choice, but from now on I will bring one of the Turkish towels I bought in Nicosia – they take up even less space and probably dry just as quickly. And they’re prettier, too. (You can find similar towels on Etsy.)
The Rab silk sleeping bag liner feels so amazingly soft and luxurious against my skin that I sleep in it every night, even at home! I have two so I don’t have to go without on washing day, though to be fair, they dry so quickly that I could probably make do with one. It is great for when you’re spending a night or two with friends – just as the towel, it saves them having to do a lot of laundry just because you’ve stayed there for a few nights. I’m also a little squeamish about hotel bedlinen – they’re not always washed at 90C, and after one unfortunate incident with some extremely smelly bedlinen at a hotel chain that shall remain nameless (they are usually very good!), I prefer to keep an additional layer between myself and whatever’s provided…
I also packed:
Michael Kors Jet Set crossbody bag
Underwear for 10 days
Harry Potter sleepwear (similar top & shorts at Primark)
3 tops (2 white, 1 navy)
2 dresses (one sundress, one formal; both navy)
1 long-sleeve top with thumb holes (white)
2 camisoles (1 navy, 1 pink)
2 pairs of shorts (1 navy, 1 pink)
1 pair of trousers (navy)
1 below-the-knee leggings for hiking (grey)
I always try to colour-coordinate my clothes so I can mix and match while I’m away, and navy and white is a classic combo. Also, after numerous trips where I’ve had to beg a friend or relative for a t-shirt to sleep in, I have finally learnt to bring sleepwear – and you can’t go wrong with some Gryffindor merch!
Even if you’re going somewhere hot like Cyprus, I recommend bringing a warm-ish top and bottoms. I always get really cold in the evenings when I’ve been out in the sun all day!
If you’ve read this far – thank you! By now you’re probably wondering what I pack in my tote bag? Whether or not you would like to travel like a minimalist with hand luggage only, there are some things you should always bring on board your flight. I will share my packing tips for your ‘personal item’ in my next blog post, so stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe in the side bar!