We survived 10 days using a mini fridge

We once stayed 10 days in an AirBnB studio apartment that had a dorm-size refrigerator. At first we worried it wouldn’t be sufficient to hold anything, but we quickly realized it actually offered more than enough space.

Two people staying 10 days doesn’t lend itself to a lot of food hoarding. Think of what’s typically consuming space in your fridge: the average person has an extensive condiment collection, one that has taken months to accumulate and maintain; then there’s a few gallons of milk, orange juice, and other beverages; they might have stocked up on bread and cheese, plus other bulk purchases or “two for one” deals that get you to buy more than you need. (Pro tip: when something is, let’s say, 3 for $5, you don’t actually have to buy 3 to get the deal. One will cost $1.67. (tweet that)) 

But, thanks to preservatives and extra space in the typical fridge, you can take your time and leave things in there awhile! And meanwhile, keep buying more!

When you’re only going to be somewhere for 10 days, you don’t stock up. You buy what you need and keep ingredient lists pretty simple.

Dinners usually consisted of rice, chicken, and vegetables. We’d buy the chicken the day of from a local shop, and bought only a few vegetables at a time which we kept in the fridge.

Another meal staple for us was sandwiches, which required sliced meat, mayo, and sprouts in the fridge, as well as any left over tomato and avocado. The lettuce we bought just happened to be hydroponic (it still had the roots on it) so we kept it in a bowl of water on the counter.

We bought a ton of fresh fruit because there were awesome farmer-owned fruit stands all over, and the fruit tasted amazing where we were visiting. This was a major part of our diets during our stay, and most of it didn’t need to be refrigerated. Also, eggs are perfectly fine outside the fridge, which blew my American mind.

Other miscellaneous refrigerated items included orange juice, apple sauce pouches, some butter, and a mini soy sauce.

Sometimes being forced into tight quarters shows you how little space you need. My boyfriend even remarked during our stay that he really doesn’t need his full-size fridge at home, and that he might switch to an efficiency-size (in between the dorm-size and the full-size).

One downside of that small fridge was that it was in a cabinet only a few inches off the floor. Bending down to get everything wasn’t as easy as standing up surveying your options. If I had a small fridge like that at home, I’d put it up higher!

I know for larger families, big refrigerators can be useful. Although how much of what’s in there actually needs to be refrigerated? Can your bread, butter, fruit, or eggs go on the counter/in the pantry? I know some people refrigerate everything, even apples, which is so strange to me! (Cold apples hurt my teeth biting into them.) But to each his own.

As for us, we learned on that trip that we can live with less than we have. Which is always an empowering feeling.

I’ve written before about buying groceries, and how stocking up can be tempting but can lead to way too much. I’ve realized that I prefer buying fresh foods more frequently, over buying frozen stuff that will last longer. Doing it this way lends itself to a smaller fridge, fresher food, and a more organized supply.

That’s what I’m trying these days. What about you?

You can never get enough of what you don’t need

While clearing out my Pinterest boards the other day (I feel really lame typing that but that’s part of my digital decluttering regime and it’s helpful don’t judge me) I came across this pin with a quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks that I wanted to share:

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need wont satisfy you.” — Elder Dallin H. Oaks (tweet that)

Wow! This is so true. I have seen this in my own life with:

  • Clothes
  • Anything to do with social media (likes, followers)
  • Excessive or unhealthy food
  • Mindless entertainment
  • Drama in relationships
  • Home decor

The list could go on.

I used to spend so much money or time on those things, and they either brought temporary satisfaction followed by buyers remorse and sadness, or they brought nothing at all — only more emptiness.

We cannot fill a void with meaningless things. It’s like trying to fill a hole in the ground with air and expecting to walk safely across it without falling in. The hole is still there. We need to fill it with something solid.

What can you incorporate into your life that will actually satisfy you?

I think things that truly satisfy are often things that take hard work and dedication (I know, ew.)

Things like:

  • a healthy diet + exercise
  • nurturing healthy relationships
  • dedicated mindfulness / meditation / prayer time
  • progress toward a hobby or business
  • learning a new skill

Those are things which require energy and some motivation. Things like mindless entertainment require none of that and can be much more tempting after a long day at work. But they only lead to less energy and less motivation to self-improve.

Fill your life with the things you need. Things I’ve been putting energy towards lately, to try and achieve satisfaction in my life, are: this blog, learning Spanish, and exercising regularly. These things have brought happiness to my life because I can see my progress. I know I’m doing meaningful things which bring me joy and fulfillment. I value my life so much more doing these things than I did when I watched countless hours of YouTube videos and sat on the couch snacking all day.

Sometimes finding direction is hard. We don’t always know what we need and what we don’t need. It might take some trial and error. But when you do recognize patterns or habits that you don’t need, try and eliminate them! There is so much more to life, so much more happiness to be had.

aspiring minimalist

Why are you still just an “aspiring” minimalist?

Something I’ve seen a lot lately while browsing Twitter for new friends to follow is people labeling themselves as an “aspiring minimalist”.

Aspiring? Aspiring to me sounds dreamy, like those far off dreams we have of living on an island and being a surf instructor, when we have never even touched a surf board. It lacks the concreteness of reality.aspire definition

Why limit yourself?

If you “want very much” to be a minimalist, why not be one?

Perhaps those self-defined aspiring minimalists are just waiting to find the time to go through all their belongings. Maybe they long for a clutter-free home, yet see the process as so grand and daunting, they can never quite seem to spare an afternoon.

I invite them to find 30 minutes to clear one junk drawer.

Perhaps there are some aspiring minimalists who have taken those first steps, gone through the KonMari method with their wardrobe, and yet still don’t feel they’ve quite achieved “minimalist” status.

To them I say, you don’t have to live in an empty room to call yourself a minimalist. (tweet that)

How do you become a “minimalist”?

Minimalism can be a long, slow process. For some it can take years. You don’t have to wait until your mission is complete before claiming your title.

I don’t remember when I first started calling myself a minimalist. I think it was when I realized how much physical clutter affects me and when my perspective on possessions changed. With my new perspective came my new label.

But in retrospect, I’ve always been a minimalist — I just didn’t realize it for many years. I lived in clutter for most of my life, and felt the emotional repercussions of it. I was a minimalist living in a cluttered house.

Do you have to wait until you’ve achieved Christ-like perfection before calling yourself a Christian? Or wait until you’re floating around in enlightenment before calling yourself a meditator? Or until you can bend in ways previously thought impossible before calling yourself a yogi? No. These things are practices, lifestyles, or ways of life. They are ideologies you can choose to follow because they resonate with you.

Minimalism isn’t as extreme as you think it is

We often picture a minimalist as someone who sits on the bare floor of an all-white apartment with maybe, maybe, a glass of water and a lamp in the corner.

Minimalism is not that extreme.

Everyday people living everyday lives can be minimalists. Your neighbor or child’s teacher or coworker might be one and you don’t even know it!

Minimalism doesn’t even have to be a huge change for you. You might find that you only have a few extra things around the house that aren’t serving you — yet what a difference it makes to remove them!

Making the jump

If you resonate with the ideas of minimalism, you are a minimalist. If you’re a minimalist and haven’t started decluttering your home or changing your purchasing habits yet, I invite you to start now. It’s uncomfortable to live counter to what feels true to you. And living with intention feels so much better.

You don’t have to say thank you if you aren’t grateful

The other day, I was in the grocery store picking up some cold medicine. As I was holding a bottle and considering my options, a woman came up next to me and said,

“Just make sure you don’t take that for longer than 7 days. ‘Cause I did and it was bad — and then I read the directions!”

I knew this woman was trying to be helpful. Everything in me told me to smile at her and say an enthusiastic, “Oh! Wow, thank you! Good to know!”

But that’s not how I felt. How I felt was:

  1. I don’t know who you are
  2. I don’t feel comfortable with you looking at what I’m purchasing
  3. I didn’t ask for your pharmaceutical consultation
  4. I always read the directions before taking a medication, so I wont make your same mistake anyway

Now, I live in a small town where people feel that it’s appropriate to look at what others are buying and to freely comment. I also live in a town where people have strong opinions when it comes to health and remedies.

So I’m used to the polite nod and “Oh, really? I didn’t know that” type of response. I’ve learned how to pacify people.

But I did not feel comfortable doing that the other day. I felt that if I pretended to be grateful, this woman would think that what she did was socially appropriate, and desirable even. And I decided not to lie to her like that.

I don’t know if she thought I was rude or ungrateful, or if maybe she didn’t even notice I didn’t thank her. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I did what felt right to me.

I hope this story serves you, as a reminder that you are free to make your own choices and do what feels right to you, regardless of how you have been taught to live. Be honest with people. Stand up for your feelings and perspectives. Don’t feign gratitude just to validate someone else’s choices. (tweet that)

For further reading on this topic, I recommend Sam Harris’ super quick read, “Lying“. He makes a strong case for why we owe it to others to always be honest, even when it might be a little uncomfortable.

In what area of your life can you stop pacifying others and start being true to your own feelings?

 

The least you could do — A minimalist guide to relationships

I had a difficult week awhile back. My boyfriend and I had just set out on our first big trip together (literally, we just got there) when he became sick with the flu. We were in a completely new place, and my understanding of the local language was still quite rough. I was tired and stressed and now had to embark to the store all by myself to get food and medicine — and quickly.

I cleaned, I prepared meals, I sorted out travel details. On top of doing everything for the both of us, I spent most of my downtime by myself, because my boyfriend was mostly just sleeping. Usually when you do a lot for someone, you also get the joy of spending time bonding with them, which refuels you a little. But this week, I was giving him 100% and getting hardly anything in return. It was hard.

In my struggle, I thought about what type of girlfriend I wanted to be. What characteristics did I want to bring to this relationship?

Here’s what I came up with. I listed them so they spell “least”, so they are easy to remember. I told myself, In times of trial, maintaining these characteristics is the least I can do.

  • Loving
  • Encouraging
  • Affectionate
  • Selfless
  • Thoughtful / Tolerant

Now these are intentionally pretty vague, so you can form them to what you feel is important. I’ll share mine with you to give you some ideas.

Loving

I might feel tired or angry, but I will respond with a loving tone instead of a harsh one. If I feel that I’m carrying more weight in the relationship, I will choose to act towards him with love regardless of the “score”.

Encouraging

Even when I’m barely holding my own life together, that doesn’t mean I wont still encourage my partner. Everyone needs encouragement, and what I’m dealing with doesn’t take away whatever he’s dealing with.

Affectionate

If you’ve read The 5 Love Languages (I can’t recommend this book highly enough!) then you know that Affection is one of the 5. For me, it’s the most important, and it’s also one that’s pretty easy to return. When someone gives you a hug, it doesn’t take much to hug them back. But what’s more challenging is initiating affection, especially if it’s an aspect of your relationship that has gone lost or that never was a big part to begin with. To me, affection goes along with encouragement, in that a simple hug or hand on the arm can instill a little bit of life back into someone who’s having a down day. And while I think affection can require more vulnerability than some of the other qualities, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Selfless

This one was especially important to me while I played nurse the week my partner was ill. I was running around catering to his needs (any parent can relate to this feeling I’m sure!) and making his comfort a priority over my own. In moments when I felt it was getting to be too much, I reminded myself that being selfless is a quality I would like to bring to this relationship, and therefore what I was doing was right.

Thoughtful / Tolerant

I started using thoughtful for “T” but later realized tolerant is just as important. Being thoughtful to me means being aware of what my partner might need, and offering it. Examples when he was sick included another glass of water or a foot massage. Day to day examples can include picking up his favorite food at the grocery store or setting out a bottle of sunscreen next to his backpack before a day out with his friends.

Tolerance in my view is patience combined with being loving. It’s not losing my temper on insignificant things and it’s understanding that he might do some things differently than I do — and accepting that that’s perfectly okay. I like to be tolerant of both the situation and, more generally, of who my partner is as a person.

Easier said than done

I want to be clear that while this simple list is the “least” I can do, it’s also a lot to ask! It’s hard to be loving when you’re angry, or to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own. But I use this list as a list of goals or mantras, more than a list of strict requirements. It’s a list that I customized to fit who I want to be in a relationship — who I try to be, whether or not I always succeed.

I invite you to customize the list to make it fit who YOU want to be in a relationship. It wont be intimidating if you customize it to feel right for you.

These characteristics can also apply to non-romantic relationships. You can customize the list again to fit how you’d like to act with your parent or your friend. Or for that matter, yourself!

<3

If the tan lines aren’t cute, it’s not worth it

I bought a new swimsuit in 2007. A simple, black bikini.

Last winter, I finally bought some new bikinis, because I was cold and dreaming of warmer days. I shopped on a cheap fast fashion site based in China, where they had hundreds of trendy styles, each for about $11 or less.

I bought four. All for under $50. Pretty amazing deal.

When they arrived, I tried them on and, surprisingly, they all fit and were nice quality. I made a point to be in the water as much as possible that summer, and I did indeed wear each one at least once, plus the black bikini I’ve had for 10 years now. Did I need to show up at the pool in a different swimsuit nearly every time I went? Certainly not. Did I anyway? Yes.

I’ve reflected on this swimsuit purchase and asked myself if they were all necessary. I’ve asked myself if I really need them all and if any of them could go.

To be honest, I still decided to keep three out of the four. But let me tell you about the one I got rid of. It had criss-cross straps across the chest, a style which I have seen a lot and I love. But, after wearing it to the pool and laying out for a few hours chatting with girlfriends, I got home to realize I had criss-cross tan lines across my chest — high enough to where they would show underneath the neckline of some of my tops.

It made me realize that although the design was cute, it is terribly malfunctional for a swimsuit. I knew I’d never wear it again. It’s one of the major flaws of fast fashion when there is an adverse affect from simply wearing the piece in its intended environment. Something like my classic black bikini, however, leaves normal looking tan lines and thus I can reasonably keep wearing it for years to come.

Where in your wardrobe — or in your kitchen, or living room — do you have an item that looks good, but ultimately lacks functionality or even detracts from your quality of life when you use it? What did you buy based on appearance only to later realize it was a mistake?

It’s important to mention, I think, that mistakes are okay here. Sure, ideally we never waste any money or endure an unnecessary hassle. But I think it’s about what you do after the mistake has been made. I wrote a whole post on that subject, so I’ll just leave you with this:

We can find ourselves with a bunch of stuff we don’t need, don’t like, or even have negative associations around. Getting rid of it wont undo the mistake of buying it — but it can give you a fresh start looking forward. (tweet that)

Isn’t that better than hanging on to something?

 

How and why my priorities changed

The dream

There was a time, believe it or not, when I strived to be one of those Beverly Hills housewife types. The blonde, Juicy Couture tracksuit wearing, small dog toting, cosmetic surgery flaunting women seen with jewelry and sunglasses and mimosas. This, to me, was the picture of success and desirability.

How would I do it? Get a high-paying job in marketing or something, straight out of college, and earn my way up the corporate ladder (I always pictured myself as a career-woman); or “marry a rich man and all our problems will be solved” as my college roommate suggested. One way or the other, it was my goal and I sure hoped it would happen.

Obviously, none of it happened. I was lucky enough to get a waitressing job straight out of college, let alone anything else. With my frugality strong from childhood, I navigated the world of eBay and did buy myself a used Juicy Couture jacket, and a few other “designer” items. It was a slow start but I didn’t lose hope.

I bought other clothes, too, for the fancy LA parties I would some day attend. I just bought them to have them on hand, really. You never know, and I wanted to be ready.

The Other dreams

To say I was living my life in delusion only covers half of it. I was spending the little money I earned on clothes for events I didn’t go to, because it was more comfortable to keep the vision of what I thought I wanted to be, rather than give up the vision in favor of practicality.

Eventually though, my vision changed. I stopped buying things that fit the socialite imagine, in favor of yoga pants and athleisure wear. The fact that I hardly ever practiced yoga wasn’t going to stop me from my new dream of becoming a yoga teacher. Yoga teachers were fit, chill, and likable. They seemed to have their lives balanced and to be happy and free. Sounded good to me.

Fast forward another year or two and I was reading Seth Godin books, following Tim Ferriss diets, and watching Noah Kagan conferences. I was destined to be an entrepreneur. With minimal business-sense and a deplorable work ethic, this was sure to finally be my thing.

I needed a “thing”, right?

The crash

Needless to say, after spending the majority of my 20s hopping from one persona to the next, I was left feeling like quite a failure. But I still didn’t have my thing, or know what I wanted to be.

I was also single, at a time when my entire social circle was married with children or at least well on their way. I was feeling the most depressed I had ever felt, and finally, although I hated the idea of being a quitter yet again, I quit my office job, with no backup plan. I just needed a break from it all.

With everything fallen apart, this was the first time I started asking myself what I actually wanted for my life.

I wrote up a mental list of things I thought would bring me happiness, and for the first time ever I did not factor in how much a job would pay, what others would think of me, or what the long term career potential could be. I simply thought about the now.

I decided I wanted to work outside, not at a desk; and to do work that directly helped my community so I felt purposeful. I wanted to throw away my career-woman wardrobe (it was so stuffy and uncomfortable!) and to stop playing some part in order to fit in with a job. I wanted to reel everything back in and strip everything to the absolute basics, so that all that was left was my authentic self.

And that’s where I started building from.

Minimalism + Simple Living

Around this time my book club read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and my life literally did change. My stress from living in a cluttered space had reached a boiling point and I finally pieced it together that the affect of clutter is real. Once that set in, I was on the fast track to minimalism. I started with my wardrobe and ruthlessly donated pieces I disliked or didn’t regularly wear.

I delved into the topic online and discovered the term simple living. All at once I felt understood. This term put into words the lifestyle I truly desired at my most fundamental level — not what someone else desired for me. The freedom I felt from giving myself a chance to speak up and say what it desired was new to me. Finally I had something that felt true.

Looking back

I guess you could say I was always a minimalist at heart — but I was living inauthentically. You could say I always got stressed by clutter — but it took me years to realize it. You could say I always longed for a simple lifestyle — but I let society lead me in a different direction.

Sometimes it can take decades to give your true self a voice. What is yours waiting to say? (tweet that)

 

Do I have to pay hundreds for this bachelorette party? | Ask LFB

Dear Brianna,

A good friend of mine is getting married next year and her bachelorette party is coming up. The girls who are planning it seem disorganized but want us all to commit to chipping in a certain amount for it. It seems like a lot of money for one weekend and I’m not sure what it could possibly be going to. I do know they want to do some extravagant things like fancy dinners and spa treatments, which I would personally rather not spend money on. It’s important to me to show up and support my friend, but I feel conflicted about committing when they aren’t sure what the final budget will be yet. What if I commit and then have to pay hundreds of dollars for something I don’t want?

—Sincerely, Crystal

Hi Crystal! Welcome to the LFB fam!

First of all, let me tell you that you are not alone. I’ve talked in depth with friends who know the wedding struggle all too well. Between bachelorette parties, bridal showers, the wedding and reception, plus gifts for each occasion and airfare and hotels and dinners… it adds up real quick.

It’s all done in the name of supporting your friend and the love that she has found. Which, really, what better things could we celebrate in life?

But is spending tons of money the best way — or the only way — to support them? What if you end up going into debt to do it? Or working overtime and burning yourself out trying to afford it all? What will you sacrifice that you’d rather put that money towards?

Bachelorette parties can be tons of fun, but it sounds like some of the activities they have planned wont be much fun to you. You have to decide: if you do spend money on those things, will you likely end up having fun afterall, or will you likely resent it and just be stressed the whole time?

Two things are important to remember:

  • You always have a choice (tweet that)
  • You can set and keep your standards without limiting others (tweet that)

So here’s what I would do:

First, tell the girls in charge that you will commit to attending, but that you might not participate in all events. That might mean that everyone else goes off to the spa while you go for a walk around the city by yourself, or do another cheaper activity. Send this in a group email if you can, so that the other girls see that one person was brave enough to voice concern, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others speak up, too. If enough girls speak up, they’ll make alternative plans. If only a few, at least you wont be alone while the majority go out.

Next, tell them that you are definitely prepared to chip in, and will do so once the final budget has been established. Wording it this way, you’re setting your standard without dissing their current organization skills.

Third, ask them to have the final budget broken down by event (ex. ~$100 dinner here, ~$75 tickets here, etc) so you can see where the money will go and make your own final budget from there. Let them know that you will then pay an amount based on the activities you will participate in, so they can be assured all your expenses will be covered.

I’m sure you’ll be able to attend the party and still stay within your financial comfort. And you’ll have fun even if you skip a few events! These occasions are more about bonding together as women than they are about the activities.

And, for any readers in a similar situation who decide to skip the whole weekend altogether, remember that that is a perfectly acceptable choice and that there are many other ways to show the bride your support. You never have to spend money you can’t afford to show your love for someone. (tweet that)

Have fun and congrats to the happy couple,

Brianna

It’s easy to have a giving heart when you’re minimizing

The holidays may be over but you can still have a giving heart. And it can serve you just as much as it serves others.

Right now is that period where we’re past the New Year’s resolutions and haven’t quite hit Spring Cleaning. But for a minimalist, any spare time is a chance to bring more peace of mind into your home by letting go of the things you don’t need.

A few years ago I bought a really nice handbag. I had recently gotten a new job and treated myself to a cute bag that “fit” with my new work-look and my new paycheck. I tend to take really good care of my things, so even after wearing it for about a year, it still looked new. But the more I got into minimalism, the less I carried around in there and the more I realized I only needed a much smaller bag.

I didn’t want to just donate the bag, because I had spent money on it. So, as I usually do when I go through my quarterly Kon-Mari session of my entire closet, I took a picture of the bag and sent it to my girlfriends on Snapchat, offering it.

I’ve done this with all sorts of things I don’t need. I accidentally bought the wrong kind of Crest Whitestrips, and offered them to a friend who I know also uses them. When a piece of clothing no longer fits my style, I send its picture to a friend who’s my size. I’ve tried a brand of shampoo that I didn’t like, and given the almost-full bottle to a friend who ended up liking it.

This is a great method for me, because not only do I get rid of stuff, but it’s fun for my friends the next time we see each other.

The other day I spent the afternoon with some girls, drinking champagne with frozen mango chunks in it (9/10 would recommend), and when I arrived I pulled from my bag a sweater, the aforementioned Whitestrips, some hair clips, some extra trial pair colored contacts, and some designer sunglasses that I had remembered the hostess saying “if you ever get rid of those, I’ll take them!”

I could tell it was fun for my friends as I pulled one thing out after the next and alternated giving them gifts. Some they had been expecting, some I offered on the spot.

Presents are fun on holidays and birthdays, but sometimes they are even more fun on normal days. And there’s less pressure to have it be “new” from the store. It gives you an opportunity to share things with friends all year long, and everyone gets to try new things in the process!

As someone who “isn’t really a gift person” in the traditional sense, I love being able to express generosity through alternative means. This is one way I do it.

How do you prefer to give gifts?

What I’m packing for 2.5 months in South America

Awhile back I wrote a post on how to pack like a minimalist. This time, I’m sharing with you the specific things I’m bringing on an extended trip to South America.

My boyfriend and I are heading out from the USA to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, for a 10 week adventure. We’re staying in Air Bnbs and hostels, mostly in large coastal towns, with one inland city thrown in half way through.

I plan on spending the majority of my time on the beach, but anticipate lots and lots of walking around the city and some hiking outside the city. We are going in summer so the temperatures will be in the 70s-90s during our stay. We will have access to laundry at some of our apartments. We are each checking one large hiking pack on the flights, and each bringing a daypack as our carry-ons.

Here’s what I’m bringing for 70 days:

Clothes

  • dresses x4
  • short-sleeve tops x6 + long-sleeve top
  • sweatshirt
  • shorts
  • workout shorts + yoga leggings + workout top + sports bra
  • lightweight nightgown + bra + pasties
  • underwear x 20
  • socks x9
  • sunhat + swimsuits x3 + beach towel
  • scarf (functions as headwrap for dreads + beach sarong)
  • baseball cap
  • sneakers + sandals

Toiletries
  • Dailies contact lenses (30 pairs… monthlies would be better if I had any!)
  • sunscreen (spf 50 sport + oil-free x2 for my face — and I’m sure we’ll buy more there)

 

  • makeup bag (2 shades lipstain, under-eye concealer, eyelash curler, mascara, mineral foundation ( + small one in darker shade to mix in as I get more tan), mineral blush, foundation brush, blush brush, tweezers, nail file)

 

 

  • shampoo
  • face wash x2
  • St. Ives exfoliating scrub
  • razor
  • natural deodorant + himalayan salt deodorant bar (both being natural, neither is perfect so I often wear both at the same time)
  • toothbrush + toothpaste + floss
  • bar of soap
  • mineral bath (bit unnecessary but we might want to indulge after the long flights 😉 )
  • bandaids (waterproof and regular)
Gadgets
  • cell phone + charger
  • laptop + charger + case
  • headphones + headphone splitter
  • Spotify playlists + podcasts/audio books downloaded
  • outlet adapters
Documents
  • passport + driver’s license (and photocopies)
  • saved pdfs of hotel/flight confirmations (accessible without wifi)
  • saved Google maps (accessible without wifi)
  • credit card + debit card + cash
Odds and Ends

  • herbal tea (Air Bnb’s often only have caffeinated teas stocked)
  • cbd oil
  • melatonin
  • Dramamine
  • toilet paper
  • handkerchiefs x2
  • sunglasses + case ( + Rx sunglasses + case)
  • crossbody handbag + daypack

And that’s it!

Update: If anyone’s curious, when I checked the hiking bag at the airport check-in, it weighed 17-20 lbs (differed a bit from airport to airport). Not bad! That was with everything listed above inside, minus the daypack which I had taken out to be my carry on, and inside the daypack I had my electronics, crossbody handbag, handkerchiefs, and some snacks we bought for the flight. The daypack weighed 6.5lbs.

Did I forget anything? Let me know if I missed one of your must-haves in the comments!