Can minimalist travel & packing and consulting co-exist?
Simply put, yes. Like the topic of this article, I’ll keep this post minimal. Let me tell you why you should take the first step and begin to practice Minimalism – or at least be minimalistic adjacent. But before we get into the benefits, let’s first break down what Minimalism is and why it’s beneficial for you. The minimalism life style is defined as living with only the things you need. Bam, it’s that simple. However, strictly speaking I’m not an advocate of extreme minimalism. This form of minimalism encompasses your entire life from the clothes in your closet to the number of forks in your kitchen. Personally, I am more what we’d call minimalistic adjacent or a travel minimalist.
A travel minimalist is methodology that I’ve cultivated during my travels as a consultant. So, what does being a travel minimalist mean? Let’s break it down in layman’s terms. I pack only what I need for the 4 days I am on the client site. And the beauty of that is that I travel light and almost always can find a space for my carry on in an overhead bin – and we all know this a prolific issue amongst all airlines. If one of you geniuses can manage a successful upgrade and deployment a space maximizing, cost reduction overhead bin for all airlines, I think I can speak for all of us when I say it would be greatly appreciated. But I digress, I think we know how important mostly for convenience sake it is to be able to have your carry on stowed near your seat.
But what does this mean for packing? I can only speak for the men, but I think the women can glean insight from this article too. Well, let’s start with what I am wearing on the way to the airport. My client’s dress codes have been and will be for the foreseeable future business professional – so tailor as needed. 6am Monday morning, I’m wearing a suit, a dress shirt, an undershirt (optional, I think? This is going to be preference), a tie, a belt, a watch, and dress shoes. And here’s the kicker – of my Monday morning ensemble, the only thing I need to pack to go to work for the rest of the week is one more dress shirt and second undershirt. Add layers if you are traveling to/from a cold area and have it coat hung on the plane.
Yes, to be a travel minimalist requires some pre-planning, like packing a full business professional outfit that will match with two different color shirts – tough, right? But, I don’t wear suits to sleep or to go out to casual dinners or god forbid the gym. I, also, pack one pair of casual jeans or slacks, two casual t-shirts, four socks (one is a spare), four pairs of underwear, and one to two pairs of workout clothes/shoes. That leaves plenty of room for my toiletries and my travel accessories – are you new to travel accessories, check out our top 11 travel accessories here.
The beauty methodology allows you to constantly iterate and refine/update/personalize your style. I personally own five suits and a baker’s dozen of dress shirts and ties – not very minimalist. But to travel, I rotate each week through them to keep them from getting dirty. Pro-tip, suits need to be dry cleaned twice a year to maintain quality and cleanliness. For my dress shirts, after I’ve cycled through all but two (for the next week), I get them dry cleaned – or have the hotel dry clean your dress shirts over the weekend. I have plenty of casual clothes, but I opt to wash whatever I bring every week when I get home.
So, let’s talk about what’s inevitably on everyone’s mind – don’t your clothes smell gross after wearing them. The short and the sweet of it is no. Here’s why, if you buy quality suits they won’t retain moisture (aka odor) all that much as you hang them over night. I wear undershirts as a preventative measure for sweat stains for my dress shirts. And here’s the real treat – there are wonderful fabric cleaning/freshening sprays that will keep your clothes clean and smelling, well, fresh. There are many other ways to mitigate smells or the occasional stain from coffee. One, I recommend stain remover to go sticks or wipes. And two, when you are traveling every week, your hotel will be kind enough to store luggage and a garment bag for you. Utilize this. I cannot emphasize this point enough – it will make your life so much easier to manage if everything you think you need to pack is already at the hotel.
Preplanning for your travel week in conjunction with packing only the necessities will alleviate the need for checked bags or even large carry-ons that you may not find space for in the overhead bin! And, remember to utilize the hotel as your closet away from your closet.
Do you have any minimalist travel and packing tips? Let us know in the comments below!