We just got back from a 10-day trip to Madrid and Salamanca and I took the above shot whilst unpacking my handbag. I travel with just my Packsafe Citysafe 100 (a 4 litre handbag) for most trips in the summer with the bare minimum stuff. As you can see on the photo above, it’s not a large bag by any stretch of the imagination, but it does pack a lot in. Here is my minimalist packing list for 10-days summer trip.
What went into my bag
(from top to bottom, left to right)
- Mobile phone
- Liquids bag with contacts, moisturiser, deodorant, sunblock and laundry detergent
- Eye drops
- Lip balm
- A packet of tissues
- European to USB plug
- Quod pod that can charge my mobile and my ipod touch
- A wide scarf
- 2 sporks
- 2 shopping bags
- Moo card case with moo cards
- 2 pens
- tooth brush
- Moleskine notebook (pocket, plain)
- ipod touch (aka my life saver)
- Spare SD cards
- Spare camera batteries
- Medical pouch with basics
- Spare Icebreaker tank top
- Spare underwear (not in photo)
This is pretty much my standard set of things I would pack for a short holiday in summer. I used every item I packed, with the exception of the packet of tissues.
The scarf was surprisingly useful. I wore it daily, in the mornings, evening and when indoors (I tend to cough when I am hit by air conditioning). It’s a long strip of scarf, which was really versatile and I had lots of fun arranging it in many ways. When going through an area famous for pick pocketting, I wrapped it around my waist and covered up my trouser pockets. When I wasn’t using it I wrapped it around the strap of my bag, which covered over my bag zip and added some more security to my handbag.
ipod is THE way to travel – I ran our whole trip off the ipod touch. We didn’t take any guide books or maps with us. I did some research before the trip (such as at least two ways of getting from the airport to the hotel), loaded up the ipod with guide books, translation apps, and guide apps with detailed maps. We were given maps of each area without even asking for them when we got to the hotels. That was plenty for us to get by and get information on anything we wanted to know.
What I wore
- Northface convertible trousers
- A tank top
- A fleece (only whilst in Edinburgh!)
- Underwear (no socks)
- Keens sandals
Only one pair of trousers – I was a little worried about only taking one pair of trousers with me, but the convertible trousers dried in just few hours so I was able to wash them every 3 days and dry them overnight without any problems. Nevertheless, I was still uncomfortable with no backup trousers, so I think I will take shorts or something next time.
Super quick drying time – Everything item of clothing I took washed really well and dried within just few hours in the warm Spanish weather. We got into a routine of doing the laundry at the start of the siesta. By the end of the siesta, they were pretty much bone dry. I highly recommend getting into this siesta washing routine, particularly if you get fully committed to eating out really late at night, leaving you with little time & energy to do the laundry.
What’s not in the photo
- Ear plugs – real life saver in very noisy Salamanca
Thank goodness for ear plugs – Was I glad I packed 2 pairs of ear plugs? Oh heck yes. Salamanca turned out to be unusually noisy (combination of hotel right next to Plaza Major, Euro 2012 football matches and 4 nights of free concerts in Plaza Major). The ear plugs really saved our sanity, particularly on the last night when we had a looooong day of travelling to do the next day.
What I didn’t carry but used
- Bar of soap – shared with James
- Multi-vitamins – shared with James
- Razors – bought in Madrid
I could’ve cut a small piece of soap and wrap it in cling film, and took my own pouch of multi-vitamins to fit into my handbag but it seemed a little redundant, so we shared them (i.e. James carried them in his ruck sack).
Lessons learnt from this trip
Pack your favourites first – I forgot to pack my cotton ear buds. I go crazy if I get itchy ears and so cotton ear buds are an absolute necessity for me. I can’t believe I forgot to pack them! Always put items that might not be necessary (so you’re more likely to forget them) but cannot live without first into your bag.
Rucksacks are safer than wheeled cases – it’s tempting to take a wheeled case because it takes the weight of your luggage off you. However, having been on planes, trains, tubes and buses, on this trip, they are perhaps not the safest option. Often, people with the wheeled cases had to put them in a seperate holding area, away from their seats. If you take a (reasonably sized) rucksack instead, you will be able to have it with you, under your seat, on your knees or on the overhead shelf. It just makes for a far more relaxing journey when you don’t have to worry about someone running off with your stuff at every stop.
What are you packing for your summer holiday?