Minimalist packing for a 2 week vacation

Anyone who has known me knows that I am an habitual over-packer. I can easily pack 4 pair of shoes for a long weekend! Over the past year or so though, I’ve tried to pack less. In fact, I’ve tried to buy less “stuff” in general. Last year, we visited France in one trip and England/Scotland in another. Both times I tried to pack less and failed pretty miserably. So I took our Thailand trip as a challenge to finally get this right. I watched a ton of travel and packing videos on YouTube. I downloaded packing lists from various websites. I even bought some new clothes and a new carry-on suitcase. And I finally packed my bags this past weekend and managed to fit everything I’m taking into a carry-on bag and a backpack. Here’s how I did it and what I packed.

First and foremost, the two most important pieces of advice are:

1) Find and use the right bag that works for you.

2) Lay everything out you want to take. Then get rid of at least half.

Regarding point number one, the bag I finally settled on is the Away Bigger Carry-on by Away Luggage. It is a modern hard-shell bag that has a limited lifetime warranty. It’s sturdy, comes in some cool colors, has a removable battery pack to charge up your devices when outlets aren’t available, and rolls smoothly and easily.

The second point is harder to do, but the rule of thumb is to think of what is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t have that item available to you? If it’s not that bad, chuck it back into your closet or drawers.

I also now swear by the amazing qualities of merino wool. Whether it be hot or cold climates, long or short trips, Merino Wool clothing has become my go-to essential. It is expensive, that’s true, but I don’t mind paying for quality and honestly, if I could replace every item in my wardrobe with a like item made of merino wool, I would do it in a heartbeat. I already wear the socks and underwear daily.

For those who don’t know, Merino Wool is not your typical wool. For one, it is smooth and soft, not harsh and scratchy. It has anti-microbial properties that keep it from smelling even if you’ve worked out in the same tee for three days in a row. It is the perfect insulator, keeping you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. It’s also very lightweight and dries extraordinarily fast, making it the perfect travel companion.

So without further ado, here is my packing list for two weeks in Thailand in just a carry-on:

5 pair merino wool underwear

5 pair merino wool ankle socks

1 long sleeve dri-fit tee

1 short-sleeve button down shirt

3 merino wool tees

2 merino wool tank tops

1 dri-fit tee for lounging/working out

1 pair convertible pants (converts from pants to shorts)

2 pair shorts

2 swimsuits

1 pair of lounging/workout shorts

1 merino wool lightweight v-neck sweater

1 canvas web belt

1 pair Chacos (sandals)

1 baseball cap

1 shell jacket

1 Mavic Pro drone

1 Mavic Pro drone controller

insect repellent

2 bottles of sunscreen

2 mosquito bands (1 for each of us)

1 pack towel

Tortuga Setout Packable Day-pack

E-bags Pack-it-flat toiletry bag (with toiletries)

multi-plug outlet

Laundry kit (includes Scrubba wash bag, clothesline, detergent sheets, merino wash)

In addition to my carry-on, I do have a backpack to take on the plane with me that contains all my electronics and sensitive gear. The backpack I use is the Tortuga Setout Backpack. In it you will find:

13” MacBook Pro

External hard drive

Battery Pack


Kindle Paperwhite

Dopp kit (for all my cables, chargers, etc.)

DJI Osmo Pocket camera (and accessories)

Polar Pro Mini-tripod


Many memory cards (in hard-shell case)

3 Mavic Pro drone batteries (can’t go in checked luggage)

Grayl water filter bottle

Simple Human water bottle

Titanium utensils set (spork, straw, chopsticks)

Universal travel adapter

2 pens

Field Notes journal (or notepad)

Taotronics wireless, noise-cancelling headphones

Sleep Phones (a soft, light sleep mask with built-in bluetooth earbuds for the plane)

2 rolls of travel toilet paper (because apparently Asia is known for public restrooms not having toilet paper available)

Anyway, this is my packing list for our upcoming trip. After our trip is complete, I’ll let you know how it went, what I used (or didn’t) and if there is anything I would change in the future.



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