Even though I aspire toward minimalism in many aspects of my life (Gabe’s toys, my wardrobe, and how I’d rather get rid of stuff than organize it), I have never been a light traveler. The cliché five pairs of shoes! What if it’s cold? Rainy? Warm? I need options! Not to mention all of the paraphernalia for traveling with a little one.
However, our last two trips (to Puerto Rico in December and to DC last weekend), I was a minimalist packer – as you can see above. Okay, so I wasn’t that minimalist, but for traveling with a toddler, it was as good as it gets for me!
The anatomy of packing light (for us)
– Wear the same clothes more than once. I brought a pair of jeans, three shirts, yoga pants, TOMs, Tevas, a swimsuit, and a dress for a 5-day trip. For a 9-day trip, I also brought a skirt, a pair of shorts, and another shirt or two.
– Use the hotel Pack N Play, let Gabe sleep in our bed, or use his air mattress instead of lugging his Pack N Play around. Save space, save baggage fees.
– Want to be able to walk around easily? Time for a backpack!
– Wash stuff if necessary. I’ve washed things in my hotel sink and hung them todry. And when we stayed an Airbnb place, we had access to a washing machine! It was glorious.
Mike called it our hobo cart when we’d get Gabe out and play at park.
The perks of packing light:
1. Save a little money.
It (usually) costs money to check baggage. By not bringing Gabe’s Pack N Play and a suitcase, we saved $100! That’s $100 we could spend on gelato.
2. Less clutter to bring home.
With less room in our luggage, we are ruthless about keeping “mementos” of our trip. Instead of saving every museum pamphlet and postcard, photos are our keepsakes from trips.
3. Packing and unpacking is a breeze.
It’s so much easier when we get home after midnight with a sleeping toddler to be able to just carry a backpack up to our apartment instead of lugging 12 million odds and ends. Also, we unpack in 10 minutes since it’s a less daunting task.
4. Getting dressed each day is easier.
Less choice means the process of getting ready for the day is super easy. It’s like a hardcore Project 333, where I learned that fewer choices made my life easier.
5. Hop off the plane and go!
This is possibly the biggest perk for me – instead of having to haul our stuff to the hotel after we landed, we were able to just take the Metro, go to out breakfast, and hang out on the Mall. All of these pictures were taken while carrying around luggage after we landed and before we left (our flight wasn’t until 9:30 pm):
Mmm. Chocolate breakfast.
At the National Mall. Gabe is less angry than he looks.
Sculpture Garden – we had a photo workshop ask to take our photo there!
At George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Well, in the giant front yard.
Instead of going straight from the hotel to the airport, we were able to explore Old Town Alexandria, where there was a jazz festival going on.
I am a convert. I want to always travel like this. No more big suitcases for me!