Be More With Less

Courtney Carver

I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but used to be a chronic over-packer. I brought everything I needed plus everything I thought I might need "just in case." I’d wait at the luggage carousel, drag my heavy suitcases everywhere (if they actually arrived at my destination), only use a fraction of what I brought and then pack it all up again and drag it home.

Living with less at home and simplifying my life inspired me to simplify my travel too. These travel and packing recommendations remove the stress of traveling.

I enjoy traveling so much that I made it part of my work. I visited 16 cities in 2016 for the Tiny Wardrobe Tour and I’m planning 17 for 2017 in addition to personal travel and other work related trips. I am usually up in the air for 2-3 trips a month so I’ve developed some strategies and curated some of the resources that help me do this in a healthy, joyful way.

When I'm Traveling

How I fly

Reading on an airplane doesn’t agree with me so I’ll either watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or meditate with guided meditation. I never work or purchase wifi on an airplane. I like having protected spaces to be disconnected and in-flight is one of those spaces.

Signing up for TSA Pre was a great investment. $85 for a 5 year membership means shorter lines and I don't have to take my shoes off or take my liquids or laptop out of my bag.

What I do (and don’t do)

I don't buy trinkets or souvenirs. I don’t do a lot of extra stuff in terms of sightseeing or socializing. I love meeting people at the Tiny Wardrobe Tour events, but afterwards I look forward to a quiet dinner and cozy bed. I know I'm going to miss out on some things, but I look forward to that. I choose JOMO over FOMO.

When I do have extra time in a city, I like to visit local coffee shops, juiceries, restaurants, libraries, churches, and yoga studios or fitness classes. The last time I was in Chicago, my daughter and I went to a Soul Cycle class. That was an experience!

How I move around when I get there

I walk whenever I can and aim for at least 5 miles a day especially while traveling. I never rent a car because I don’t enjoy driving, especially in unfamiliar areas. Instead I take public transportation or use a car sharing service like Lyft.

I practice my morning routine when I travel, even if it’s an abbreviated version ... a little writing, a little meditating, and a little sitting quietly with my hands on my heart.

How I work

I used to try to “get ahead” so I could work less on the road but since most of my trips are work trips (even though they are fun too) I work a little each day instead of trying to do everything in advance, or feeling like I have to “catch up” afterwards. I stopped playing the endless game of catching up.

Where I stay

If I’m visiting somewhere for a night or two, I usually stay in a hotel but if I’m staying longer or if I’m traveling with other people, I’ll rent an apartment or house from Airbnb. I’ve stayed in Airbnb properties in New York, Paris, Sydney, Portland, Seattle, and Arezzo, Italy. I’ve always had a safe, pleasant experience and have future stays booked in Austin and Portland. It’s nice to have easy access to a refrigerator and washing machine while traveling.

What I pack

I bring my 33-item wardrobe on the Tiny Wardrobe Tour so ironically, I pack more than usual. To remove the guesswork and anxiety of packing and wondering what to put in my suitcase, I keep a list of trips in Evernote as a quick guide. For instance, I have a Tiny Wardrobe Tour list, a beach list, and then warm weather/cool weather trip lists.

Here’s my Tiny Wardrobe Tour packing list:

33 Item Wardrobe (less winter boots/coat if traveling somewhere warm)

Additional clothes for climate if necessary (not usually necessary)

underwear

sleepwear

workout clothes

cosmetics + toiletries (not shampoo/conditioner/soap)

brush + flat iron

notebook + pencomputer + phone + chargers + earbuds

vitamin D + Athletic Greensglasses/sunglasses

snacks (usually apple chips and cashews)

Optional

bathing suit

kindle or book

water bottle

thank you cards

Everything I pack fits into a small carry-on suitcase and tote bag or I don't bring it.

When I come home

Unpack

The first thing I do when I get home is hug my husband. Then I unpack. I don't wait a day or even 10 minutes. I put everything away almost immediately. I don't feel all the way home until my suitcase is empty.

Build resilience

I usually allow at least a week or two in between trips to come home and reconnect to the people and practices I love. My work trips are usually less than a week long unless I'm going out of the country. My husband or daughter sometimes travel with me too.

When I get home from a trip, a yoga class helps me reset. If you are in Salt Lake City and looking for a friendly, affordable, nourishing yoga class, try The Bhakti Bunch Yoga Club.

If packing for a trip stresses you out

If you are overwhelmed when it comes to packing for travel, try these recommendations.

Challenge yourself to only pack for half of your trip. If you are going to be away for a week, ask yourself what you need for 3 or 4 days. Because most of us lean towards over-packing, you'll still have more than enough.

Make a packing list before your next trip. List everything you bring with you, and then cross each thing off when you use it. At the end of the trip you'll know you can leave anything home that wasn't crossed off. Keep your list handy with details about where you went and what time of year, and save it in Evernote or somewhere else so the next time you take a similar trip, you'll know exactly what to pack.

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