As minimalist travelers will attest, it’s not easy to build a travel capsule wardrobe. There will be some tough decisions choosing what to pack and what not to pack. However, it’s not impossible, and the rewards become clear that moment you step out on your adventure with everything you need neatly organized within a single bag, like this lightweight 55L backpack.
In this blog, we’ll look at the ideal travel wardrobe and also a few other essentials that should be on any woman’s minimalist packing list.
What’s a Travel Capsule Wardrobe?
Before you get into the packing list, we’ll explain what a travel capsule wardrobe actually is.This trend began in the 1970s. A capsule wardrobe then was a small number of clothes, which are refreshed at the beginning of each season. The COVID pandemic has brought a resurgence to the idea of a capsule wardrobe as the fashion industry and consumers alike experienced a massive shift in how we dress and buy clothes after a year spent overwhelmingly indoors and online. Designer sweatpants anyone? In the 1970’s it might have been Nouveau Fashion to pair down and accessorize, but in 2021 it's a matter of practicality.
With the world starting to emerge from the cocoon of COVID (hopefully!) and the idea of travel possibly becoming a thing again, the concept of a wardrobe collection for travel is perfectly timed. Minimalist travel outfits are versatile, easy to pack, and suitable for the seasons or climates where you’ll be visiting.
What Bag Should You Use?
The clothing and essentials you choose for your minimalist travel are nothing without a good quality backpack to carry them around in.
It’s best practice to have a small day bag, like this Packing Cube backpack, for carrying around your travel essentials that can be stored in or used in conjunction with a larger backpack for when you’re on the road. You want to make sure the main travel backpack you choose is:
- Machine washable
- Carry on compatible s
- Comfortable and organized
- Purposefully-designed pockets for what you need to carry
- Compartments that are easily accessible (especially easy access to a water bottle and tech pockets)
What Clothes Should Be On Your Women’s Minimalist Packing List?
Or alternatively, read our guide to packing a men’s minimalist travel wardrobe here.
The minimalist packing community seems to agree that 10 items is what you should aim for. This is usually 8 items of clothing and two pairs of shoes.
Here’s a good basic list to get you on your way:
- 3 tops, including a basic white T, the essential to any collections
- 1 dress, such as a maxi skirt, which go great with any type of tops
- 2 bottoms (jeans, leggings or a good pair of shorts depending on the weather where traveling).
- 1 cardigan, because no capsule is complete without it
- 1 jacket, denim or leather both travel well and accentuate any outfit
- 2 pairs of shoes, which while hard to pair down, a pair of flats and athletic shoes should cover most types of outings
And when it comes to underwear, we recommend bringing five pairs, plus five pairs of socks. If you’re going longer than a week, be sure to do laundry!
Now, you know some general rules of thumb to follow when choosing your minimalist travel outfits, here are a few tips to get the most out of the minimal carry:
- Choose subdued colors - You want to pack clothes that can mix and match with one another. Black, Blue, Green, and Gray all mix together very well. However, if you want to add some flourishes of color, the cardigans you chose can break the monotony.
- Limit accessories - As we said above, experienced minimalist travelers determine that 10 items of clothing is the magic number. This gives the impression that there’s no room for accessories. We don’t subscribe to this but you should definitely limit accessories - especially if you want to travel with one bag! You can save space by wearing accessories while you’re on the road.
- Keep the shoes simple - This depends on your trip but, in general, you don’t want to pack ballet flats or large heels. They are impractical and offer little support for the rigors of travel. A good pair of sneakers and boots or walking sandals - season-dependent - are a good place to start.
What else do you need?
Everyone is different, but there are some items worth packing that won’t take up too much room on the road:
- Travel Documents - You won’t get very far without them! It’s particularly helpful to scan images of important documents and keep within a secure storage space such as a thumb drive or protected folder on your phone.
- Powerbank - Very handy when your electronic devices run out of juice on the road. As a side note, make sure you have chargers and adaptors (if leaving the country).
Toiletries - With the time you spend in cars, planes, and buses, it’s nice to refresh. So bring your favorite skincare on the road. To save space, opt for dry shampoo.
- E-Reader - Books take up a lot of space so investing in a Kindle or another brand of e-reader is more effective for minimal travel.
Of course, this will vary from woman to woman. You want to pack light but you also want some home comforts with you whether it’s your favorite skincare product, minimal makeup, or your own pillow.
Minimalist Travel Packing for Women - Final Thoughts
It may seem wild to some people that one bag can fit all your needs. However, minimalist travel is now increasingly popular, particularly with women who are regularly or constantly traveling.
Whatever the weather, minimalist travel is still possible. If you follow our minimalist packing list for women, you’ll be able to get up and go with great ease and speed. Moreover, by cutting down on non-essentials, packing is a whole lot simpler. For your next trip, consider switching from a large suitcase to a more purposefully-designed and lightweight travel backpack to make traveling that much easier!