Auburn Family

Zen Packing- Preparing for Your Trip Frustration Free

    Heading off on an adventure soon? One of the most frustrating aspects of travel is deciding what all to pack. Then you have to worry about baggage fees and lugging around your full dresser of clothes the entire time. While you can find much advice on what to take on any type of trip there is a certain mindset, however, that can greatly reduce the hassle of packing. This mindset can be described as zen minimalist packing. Here's how to implement this strategy to give you a much better travel experience.

     This first aspect of packing is all the little travel sized personal items we try to cram every where. Be it soap, toothpaste, razors, batteries etc. These items can sometimes make up the bulk of our luggage space. If you are like me, I usually come back with them full as well. To combat this, minimalist style, use the 'buy it there' technique. Anything that is a commonly used commodity or item will usually be sold anywhere you go.

*Note: If you're planning a 2 month escape into the Amazon hunting Leopards then it's probably best take whatever you think you'll need. 


What this technique does is give you lots of room and forces you to only buy what you really need once you arrive. Most airports will sell the basic items we carry anyways even if they are a little more pricey its a last resort. Unless there is medicine you know you'll need right away like for the plane ride, then you can also buy it at the destination. If you are going someplace you know will use a different electronic equipment then it's fine to bring it as long as it takes up little space. Voltage converters and travel adapters come to mind. These are very small, compact devices that you may need right away so it's fine to bring them. 

      The next concept is the process of finding one thing that's many things. Pretty deep huh? Using this zen technique we want to bring items that can double as other items. Can your socks double as a sunglasses bag? can your shorts also be used as swimwear?  The Iphone is a great example of this. How much space would it be to pack a map, camera, Gameboy, computer, phone, and mp3 player all separately?  Check out what clothes can be worn in the most situations. An example would be sneakers that are formal enough to wear to dinner but can also be used athletically.  Look at your travel pack list for things that have more than one use. If it doesn't have multiple uses, then contemplate not taking it. 

Here is absolutely everything Tim Ferris, author of The  4-Hour Chef, packed on his recent trip to Maui.

 If you are going to a colder region then obviously you will need heavier clothes. Some people will wear multiple layers on the plane and take only 1 carry on. 

   The last zen concept is how to pack. No one want's wrinkles in their clothes when they arrive at the destination. Here are a few techniques to prevent your clothes looking like they just came from a TSA search. 

  • Use plastic bags to hold individual shirts/pants in
  • Avoid applying pressure along the fold
  • Wrapping clothes around a solid object**

** This method relies on taking more wrinkle prone items wrapped around a solid object then wrapping less wrinkle prone ones around them. To learn more about this feature see here.

    Hopefully these techniques help to give you a better traveling experience. Once you learn to travel lighter you find out a lot that you use to carry was never really needed. The best way is to know what sort of activities may be required ahead and base your packing around those. While you may have to deal with some inconveniences, the money saved on baggage fees and energy saved carrying lighter loads can make it worthwhile.  Now you'll be all set to travel with other Auburn students on the 2013 Euro Trip in May! Get the details here: Auburn Euro Trip or check it out on Twitter !

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