Spending 7-10 months a year in hotels and on flights, I noticed something about myself.
I ain’t got time for full sized stuff weighing me down!
But really, dragging around half my body weight in oversized luggage got old REALLY fast. The old me would think “You are so smart Kashlee! You’re going to bring all the things you need for the next 6 months, so you don’t have to shop and track things down later. Plus, you’l never be without your favourite products or tools.”
I thought I was clever, until I actually had to drag everything around.
Overpacking is hell.
Bringing things because “I might need this in the next 6 months” is downright ridiculous.
I’m a reformed woman and I’ve learned my lesson. From here on out, it’s only packing the best travel size items for me! Learning to pack like a minimalist is a game changer!
What is Minimalist Packing?
It’s packing what I NEED and not throwing everything I ‘kind of like’ into my luggage.
Minimalist packing utilizes mini versions of items, streamlined product choices, and just the right amount of clothes/shoes. Finding smaller versions of my favourite items has opened up 25%-40% of my bag for clothing I really wanted to bring.
Every square inch counts!
Since I started using mini and travel sized items, I am able to pack EVERYTHING I need, without the headache of an over-weight bag.
The Best Travel Sized Items Every Girl Needs To Pack
Travel Size Hair Products
I bought my mini navy one at Sephora almost 2 years ago, but I see they just came out with a new model that is pink. I have to rave about this one because it works like a hot-damn! It’s just teeny tiny, but packs a real punch with heat and blowing power. It even has dual voltage so I was able to use it in Europe and Asia. I used to have a Babyliss Pro which was like doing an arm workout each time I used it. This mini blow dryer is about 75% lighter and smaller! For sure, it’s one of the best travel size items out there!
Nothing can prepare you for how tiny this is! I figured my normal Nume straightener was slim and small enough, until I saw this bad boy at a friends house. She told me she will never go back to a normal sized straightener because this one has way more control over fine hair. I was a believer after I tried it for myself!
If you have short, thin or fine hair, this mini straightener will save you 60% in size and weight while travelling. I probably wouldn’t recommend it for thick haired girls.
I’ve had super long hair for all my life and never started using a brush until last year. While traveling in hot, humid places where I was in the ocean and chlorine pools a lot, my curly hair got major tangles. So smart me, I buy this huge paddle brush that takes up as much space in my bag as a novel. I quickly traded it out of one of these cheapy fold up brushes. At the end of the day, a brush is a brush, they all untangle hair. This mini brush saves me 70% in room and weight than my old one. Not to mention I can pretend I am Kelly Kapowski, a la ‘Saved By The Bell’.
Travel Sized Dry Shampoo
Just like I don’t have time to lug around big bags, I also don’t have time to wash my hair every day. I feel like women have 478,625 products for every different scenario, but I find Pret a Powder is super versatile! I use it as a dry shampoo, when my hair needs a little fragrance, as a texturizer, and also as a backcombing powder. The mini travel sized version of it lasts FOREVER. I think I am still using the same bottle after an entire year.
Travel Size Beauty
Travel Sized Creams
Beauty Magazines and people trying to sell you crap will tell you it’s NORMAL for women to use 10+ products on their face. No. It’s getting a little excessive, don’t you think? I want to look young and beautiful beyond my years, but I can’t haul around a trunk full of f***ing cream. Ya know?
Lately I have been trying out a few different brands and deciding which I like, but whatever I settle on must have travel sized versions available! Right now I’m liking Ole Henriksen and Clarins.
IMO- I don’t need to use a massive amount of each product, a little goes a long way. I also don’t have to use dozens of face creams to get my desired outcome. I call that a marketing scheme.
So here is my hack: I sparingly apply my expensive/favorite creams, so a mini version will last me a while. Then, once I get to the destination, I will go to a local store and pick up a MUCH more inexpensive cream to use on my neck, chest, body, and sometimes face. There is no point of me using fancy creams when I am going to dive into a pool 5 minutes later.
Mini Roller-Ball Purfume
I don’t trust travel perfume bottles. I had a terrible experience with an explosion all over my cloths and laptop a few years ago. Because of that, I stopped wearing perfume altogether. Last year I noticed that many perfumes (including my OG scent, Viva La Juicy) have cute little roller balls that are leak proof and super slim.
Travel Sized Concealer
Unless I am getting super glam, I don’t really wear foundation anymore. Instead, I like using concealer under my eyes, on the sides of my nose, and on any blemishes. This super tiny tube from It Cosmetics is so easy to pack and lasts a long time, considering how small it is. Switching to that instead of full sized foundations and powders made my makeup bag a whole lot lighter!
Travel Sized Makeup
Makeup can take up a TON of space! There are about a million pretty palettes that we all want, but never use all of. I stopped carrying palettes for that very reason. I only used 10-20% of the shades in them, so I decided to just buy those specific shades in single sized pots. I also started using makeup for my every-day look that doesn’t take up tons of space. Things like this tiny drug store liquid eyeliner, or a mini lip gloss.
Travel Size Accessories
Mini Pill Organizer Case
If I am traveling there is a 100% chance I’m getting a headache, cramps, or indigestion, but I don’t want to bring the whole bottle. The last thing I want to hear in my bag is the tell-tale shaking noise that screams out “I’ve got a whole pharmacy in here!” I just need a few tablets of each in case of emergencies, so a tiny pill box works great. I have yet to travel to a destination that didn’t have a basic pharmacy, so there is no need to pack my own.
Mini Silicone Travel Bottles
I used to think these were a big waste of time and money, until I tried them for myself. My shampoos and conditioners come in pretty hefty bottles and I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it really just added extra pounds to my bag. I now squeeze out of my mega bottles into these smaller (and leak proof!) squeezable bottles. If I run out, there is always a salon a can by a refill at. I stayed at a hotel that had a decent line of shampoo that I totally used to fill up for free. 😉
Travel Size Wallet
I used to travel with an oversized tote bag until it gave me shoulder issues. Once I switched to a smaller Arden Cove bag, I was completely hooked. (Arden Cove is also an anti-theft/RFID brand!) Now they are launching their new line which includes even SMALLER wallets which optional straps that can turn into mini-cross body bags. I have pre-ordered their new style and will report back!
Mini Jewelry Case
Big, boxy jewelry cases are cute, but take up WAY to much room. I have been using a jewelry roll from Travelon and loving how light and flexible it is. It’s also just the right size that I am not chronically overpacking every cute statement necklace I’ve ever owned
Mini Hangers For Clothes
Hotel rooms never, ever, ever have enough hangers. In what world does a travelling woman only use 3 hangers? Not this one!
For that reason, I BYOH.
I know there are small foldable ones like these, but I have just been using 5 mini ones (I think they are for babies/kids?) I found at the dollar store! They are so light, I never notice them in my bag at all, but they always save the day when I can hang up extra outfits.
Travel Size Tech
So this isn’t really MINI, but it is compared to what I used to carry around. A few years ago I thought it wise to equipment up to a DSLR with 3 lenses, extra battery, and a carry case. The stupid thing was so cumbersome and heavy that it stayed in my luggage 100% of the time, and I just used my iPhone for pictures. As good as the iPhone is, I need something a little more robust for video and great travel shots.
I picked up this mirrorless Canon M50 which is half the size and weight than my old Rebel DSLR. It’s good enough for me with just the 1 lens and 1 battery pack. I’m not going all Nat Geo up in here.
It’s such a good size that it slips into my small Arden Cove bag, or Trevor’s man-purse, so no need for the bulky carry case either!
This tripod weighs only 1 pound and can fit easily into my super small carry-on bag. That is everything I’m looking for in a tripod! Granted, it can’t stand up tall like an extendable one, but it gets the job done. I can attach this to a tree, sign post, fence, railing, and so many other objects that I don’t need it to have super long legs. Plus it really good for selfies!
Mini Hard Drive
I love the cloud, but it’s pretty tough to zap huge files into it on 3rd world internet connections. A portable hard drive is a MUST for my job. I can’t go around losing content that I am creating for brands and tourism boards, so I need to have a back-up system. This is the smallest hard drive I’ve found that still has great ratings and a ton of storage space. It’s so tiny, it looks more like a battery than a hard drive!
My 'Under The Seat' Carry On Bag
I just wrote an entire blog all about this bag (and my best carry on tips) in detail, but in a nut shell, I went for the smallest carry-on possible. This one is so petite, it fits under the seat in front of me on an airplane and into the shockingly small racks on trains. I will never go for a bigger carry-on bag again, this thing glides like the wind at the airport.
One Last Tip
Remove packaging from everything. I know it seems like micro-managing, but packing on products (especially beauty) take up SO much room! I always take my mascaras out of the cardboard, razors out of the plastic container and creams out of the boxes. You would be surprised at just how much weight and physical room packaging is taking up in your bag!
Once I switched to over 20 mini and travel size versions of items, I all of a sudden had a TON of room in my luggage. Not kidding! It freed up almost an entire side of my hard-case Samsonite checked bag. That means I can pack some extra clothes without the guilt, or maybe even a few personal development books I really wanted to bring.