Travel Accessories for Packing Light
This article is full of amazing accessories for minimalist packing and saving space so you can travel light. Tips and accessories to help you pack less and travel with carry-on.
For the last two years Max and I have been travelling full-time with 40L backpacks, the ultimate challenge of packing light. The first question everyone asks us is 'how do you fit everything into your backpack?!' Well firstly, we became really good at detaching ourselves from 'stuff' while we were saving for our trip. But the real key to success was finding some travel accessories which take up less space and have multiple uses.
So without further ado, here are our favourite travel accessories that every minimalist packer needs.
I'm a recent convert to packing cubes (or cells), originally thinking they were far too organised for me. But, as always, my mother knows best and bought me these for Christmas. They really do make it easier to group and access your clothing. Also great for when you're moving from place to place and don't want to completely unpack each time. I love my ones from Kathmandu as they are made from recycled plastic and are so thin they lie completely flat when they are empty but I haven't found them outside of New Zealand. But never fear, there are plenty of other packing cell options!
Shoes usually take up the most unnecessary space in my backpack. So for this trip I've made the effort to cut down and only bring three pairs! This means they need to be light-weight, durable, suitable for all weathers and activities and a least a little bit fashionable. Here's a list of great travel shoes.
For me Teva sandals are my number one travel shoe as they can be worn in so many situations including beaches, water, cities and easy hikes.
This is my absolute favourite product of all time. It's so perfect for travel and the wool comes from New Zealand's abundance of sheep. Merino wool is light weight, quick dry, warm when it's cold, cool when it's warm AND it doesn't hold smell! I love the entire Icebreaker range. I've recently discovered a store that sells it here in Frankfurt and have stocked up my wardrobe. I currently own sports bras, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, socks and a hoodie. All of which fold up super small and are easily hand washed.
I can't stand the feeling of microfibre but I can't fit a normal towel in my backpack so I shopped around to find my one. A large, comfortable towel that actually dries your body. Plus, it folds up to a very convenient size. It's called an Ortec Power Towel and I found it in a travel shop but if you're ok with microfibre you can get a huge range of colours and sizes like the ones here.
Many dry bags are thin, lightweight and waterproof. We use ours to store our dirty laundry so that we can compress the bag and keep it separate from our clean clothes. You also never know when you might need to keep things dry. These Osprey ones are perfect for our needs but you can read more in this article about choosing the best dry bag.
Any clothing that can be worn in multiple ways or for different occasions. Things like leggings can be worn for hiking, under dresses or even to sleep in when it's cold. Dresses that can be comfortably worn during the day but are also classy enough for an evening out are perfect. My favourite item is my reversible skirt from Kathmandu. It's light, comfortable, stretchy and looks great at the beach or in a restaurant.
My favourite versatile item is my travel wrap. It’s a scarf, blanket, headscarf, sarong or picnic blanket depending on the occasion and it folds up super small. It’s made from sustainable beech tree fabric and is quick-drying and breathable. They also have travel pillows and sleeping masks. Check out the colour range at Happy Luxe.
Fold-up Rain Jacket
This is the only jacket I'm taking with me as I can layer it with my merino hoodie for warmth. It folds up super small into a stuff bag. I can throw it in the day pack and it also frees up lots of space in my backpack compared with bringing a normal rain jacket.
My one is from Decathlon (UK and Europe) - click here to buy
Or if you are US based, these ones are very similar- click here to buy
Sleeping Bag Liner
I've never travelled with one of these before but since we want to get off the beaten track a bit it seemed like a good idea. I opted for a silk one because it is much smaller and lighter than other materials. It will definitely be useful on hot nights in the van and if we come across any questionable hostel beds!
We carry our soap, shampoo, face wash and laundry soap all in solid form. This saves us lots of space over carrying bottles, they last much longer and it's better for the environment. It's also a great solution if you're traveling with hand-luggage only. There are lots of solid toiletries on offer online but they are much harder to get on the road so make sure you stock up before you leave. We recommend the Ethique range which is made of all natural ingredients and are cruelty free.
I recently replaced my hairbrush with a comb. Ok, it takes a little longer to get the knots out of my hair. But the convenience is well worth it. Now I can slip my comb into any pocket of my bag and it lies small and flat. I can now fit all of my daily toiletries into a small zip-up bag, hooray for compactness!
Both my travel sized razor and my toothbrush have replaceable heads. For each of these I have purchased one 'handle' and several heads which can be swapped on when the last one gets old. This saves me having to find these items in other countries and takes up very little space. It’s also much better for then environment as there is far less plastic waste.
Our toothbrushes are similar to these ones.
Venus offer a travel sized razor like the one pictured- buy now