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16 Aug 2017

MINIMAL TRAVEL GUIDE -- summer holiday

I recently travelled through Portugal for 15 days with my friends from high school. We went from the Algarve in the south to Lisbon, Coimbra and lastly Porto further north – and I ended up bringing only a carry-on suitcase and a backpack.

Being the curious person I am, I decided not to pay extra for check-in luggage and see if my smaller hand luggage would be enough for a 15-day trip. When I was younger, I was always the one who’d bring a ton of clothes – you know, just in case. My dad and brother used to share a suitcase, while I’d have one of my own.

I’ve also been more and more inspired by the ‘minimalism’ movement and I’m really interested in the concept of living a minimalistic lifestyle: less stuff, less clutter, less stress, more experiences and more value, leading to a happier mind!

Let’s dig a little deeper into my minimal travel essentials.



I ended up packing 8 kg of clothes, shoes & toiletries. I was lucky to have a washer in most of our Airbnb’s, which meant I only had to pack a few outfits. When you want to downsize the amount of clothes you bring while traveling, only bring exactly what you need. This means you know what you’re going to wear, without bringing things you might want to try on but end up not wearing at all. I wore all of my clothes, some of them multiple times when I’d washed them.

List of clothes I brought:
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 thin jumper
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 short jumpsuit (I think it’s called a playsuit?)
  • 4 tops
  • 2 pyjama tops & bottoms
  • 1 bikini
  • 1 hat
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 sweater
  • All Stars trainers (Found these gems in a thrift shop for half the price!)
  • Sandals
  • Flip flops

As you may or may not have noticed, I folded my clothes the KonMari way. I know some people like to roll up their clothes to save space, but I honestly swear by the KonMari method. Everything sits upright so you’re able to see all your clothes at one glance (which is great if you’re like me and don’t unpack your clothes when traveling).

Besides these clothes, I also brought enough pairs of underwear and socks to last me about a week, which I would obviously wash for the second week. I also took a rain coat (I don’t even know why I did that), handkerchiefs (because I’m not a disposable-tissues-kinda-person) and a small beach towel. And I put my bikini and underwear in my hat to hold its shape. :)

*This is not extremely minimalistic though. Some people can travel around the world with one small backpack – which I admire and I would love to try one day!

Ooh and also, wear your bulkiest and heaviest items on the airplane – this will save you space and weight in your suitcase!


I think this is where most people over-pack. No, you don’t need a liter of shampoo and a liter of shower gel for a 2-week holiday!

This is all I packed for toiletries:
  • Sunscreen (This is an organic Aloe Vera sunscreen – SPF 50! I really like this sunscreen; it’s the most natural one we could find, it’s not sticky at all and it protects so so well. I only used it max. 3 times a day in sunny 30+ degrees Portugal and never got sunburned!)
  • Hair ties
  • A piece of solid shampoo + a piece of Marseille soap + a piece of Aleppo soap for my face (these are all super small and they fit in the small white container)
  • Small hair brush
  • Razor
  • Bamboo toothbrush
  • Homemade body butter
  • Reusable face wipes
  • Small bottle of after sun
  • Travel size toothpaste (I normally use a natural 2-ingredient toothpaste, but we still had this little one which is a bit easier for traveling)
  • Deodorant (I’m looking for a more natural replacement, but still had to finish this one!)

All of this fits in the little black bag! Oh and I normally wear a bit of mascara and eye liner at home, but I prefer not to when traveling!


As far as my backpack goes, I only packed a few things that I really needed.
  • Camera + bag
  • Earbuds
  • Travel guides + book
  • Sunglasses
  • Train tickets and other reservations
  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Pen

That’s it, I think? I really really loved traveling with this small suitcase and a single backpack. I think it would also be awesome to have one big backpack that holds everything so you don’t have to drag around a suitcase. 

But that’s for my next holiday I suppose! :)

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