The Zen of Packing

If your New Year’s resolutions included a vow to detox, do more yoga and rid ones life of excess in general, you might be keen to know how to pack as if you need nothing when going on holiday. After all, turning up to a detox mini-break or yoga retreat with half your belongings in tow is not the way to get off to a “mindful” start!

Don't forget your socks! By Craig Sunter CC BY-ND 2.0

Don’t forget your socks! By Craig Sunter CC BY-ND 2.0

So – what is Zen, and how can it be applied to packing?

Zen is a state of mindfulness, often expressed in meditation. The point of meditation and being mindful is so that we can live in the “here and now” rather than focus on the past, which can result in depression, or on the future, which in turn can cause anxiety. That second fact may ring bells with frequent travellers – packing everything for every eventuality can be very stressful indeed, especially when you end up paying to check in an extra suitcase because you’ve packed far too much!

So, the aim here is to offer some mindful packing tips…

  1. Go backpack not suitcase, preferably something that you can take as hand luggage – that way you can’t pack more than you really need, and you’ll be one of the ones that packed lighter rather than one of the ones that wished they did.
  1. For every item you plan to take ask yourself if you will use it enough to justify taking it -Not just use it, but use it lots, maybe it is something you can pick up over there, then leave behind again, like a snorkel set.
  1. Don’t pack stuff that “might come in handy” – you should pack as if everything is going to go to plan, and if it doesn’t, have enough spare cash to buy it if you really need it. Taking a big winter coat to the south of France in summer is an example of what sort of “might come in handy thing” not to take.
  1. Don’t bother with 90% of your toiletries – “WHAT?” I hear you say, “no soap, shampoo, toothpaste or deodorant?” Yep, that’s right – believe it or not, they sell that kind of thing EVERYWHERE. If you are staying in a hotel, you probably get it for free.
  1. Your mantra is: Fold and Roll – This packing technique is a saviour for when you just can’t seem to decide between five tops and just want to take them all. Note: this does not work with shoes.
  1. Remember you can wash stuff on holiday – So just take a select few items, that can be mixed and matched, and ask your hotel or pop to the local shop for detergent when you get there. They say that three of each is enough: wear one, wash one, dry one… repeat.
  1. Wear your most bulky items for travelling – That way you don’t have to try and squeeze them into the back pack.
  1. Pack a sarong – We found out – so blogged about – the fact that there are at least 30 Ways to Use A Sarong On Holiday. Read it.
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