Carry Only a Backpack on your Next 2 Week Trip: A Complete Packing List!

Travel Light

There are a lot of benefits of packing light and yes you can go completely minimalist and wear the same one or two things the whole trip, but while I love traveling light, I also appreciate a little variety and having an outfit I am proud of while abroad :)… So today I will share with you my packing list for the 2 week trip I am currently on – where I am carrying a backpack on my back + 1 over the shoulder carry on (that also acts as a beach bag)! This is not for everyone of course, because some people have no interest in lightening their load… but I do get asked by certain family members and friends often how to pack lighter so I figured I would just share my list! One caveat to remember, beach or warm weather vacations are FAR easier to pack for than having to bundle up in the cold! There a lot of links here to travel items that I love so enjoy! Here’s to making your travels a little lighter 🙂

Chelsea’s Costa Rica Packing List for 13 days & 13 nights

2 maxi dresses – one casual (although often times simply wearing a long dress makes you appear more dressed up) and one that can be dressed up

5 short dresses – all can be worn out at night or during the day

2 pairs of shorts – one jean, one white

5 tops – 2 mainly for day time and 3 that can be worn out at night or during the day

***All of the tops/shorts I brought can be mixed and matched – a VERY important tip in packing light: never bring something that cannot be worn with more than one other item. This gives me the option of 10-12 different night time outfits and about 5 day time outfits (which is ok since I’ll be spending most of my days in a bathing suit).

1 beach cover up + 1 sarong – which I wore as a scarf on the plane (it’s a nice for a blanket or evening shawl as well)!

3 bathing suits – also that can be mixed and matched

1 sweater – I wore this on the plane and can wear at night if it gets cold.

2 work out bottoms – 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of crops (which I wore on the plane)

2 tanks to work out in – I wore 1 on the plane because it doesn’t really look like a work out top – I don’t like looking like a slouch while traveling but do enjoy being comfy. It is perfect to wear over a suit while working out or as a day time tank.

2 sports bras which can also act as a comfortable bra under certain shirts/tanks – I wore 1 on the plane

2 pairs of flip flops – 1 casual, 1 nicer (in the past I have brought wedges for when I want to dress up and in certain places I would still do so but I did not think they were necessary on this trip).

1 pair of Toms – I wore these on the plane because they are super comfy and look better than my workout shoes (once again, slouch is not the look I am going for!). These are also my preferred shoes to walk around a city in because flip flops just don’t cut it when you are walking all day…

1 pair of lightweight workout shoes – I got these specifically for travel. They work as a running/hiking shoe but are also lightweight enough to be a water shoe… oh and they are a super space saver compared to most athletic shoes.

1 pair of quick dry socks – The above shoe can be worn without socks so I only need one pair.

2 bras – 1 strapless (as this is needed for a few of the dresses) and 1 regular — if I wanted to pack even lighter, I would have only picked dresses/tanks that could be worn with the sports bra or one of these bras to avoid bringing two but I wasn’t too worried since my pack was so light anyway.

7 pairs of underwear – I plan to do wash while out there

1 pair of jammies – I plan to do wash while out there but can also sleep in a few of the tanks that I brought if needed

1 beach hat – gotta protect my face from those rays!

1 clutch that I can carry out with me at night.

Goggles + rash guard – for water activities

A few pieces of non expensive jewelry – I never travel with any sentimental jewelry but still like to spice up an outfit with a colorful necklace or pair of earrings. I also love acquiring items like this during my travels. In fact, last night I found a guy that let me pick my stone and made me a necklace while I grabbed an Imperial at the bar next door!

Toiletries – travel size everything! – brush, shower products, etc. although we tend to buy sunscreen, bug repellent, etc. when we arrive.

Electronics – phone, computer (since I will be working out there), camera, kindle, etc.

And that’s a wrap. It is so freeing to have few decisions to make while traveling and to not have to haul around a huge bag everywhere we go. I hope this list will help you on your next trip!

Happy travels,



  1. Michelle says

    This is great Chelsea! I have traveled for 5 months around Asia with a similar packing. I love traveling light too!

    I was just curious, how heavy was you backpack after packing and which kind of backpack do you have? I’m about to buy a new one soon and would love some suggestions.


  2. Annie says

    This is so awesome. And super helpful! I always struggle with figuring out how to pack effectively. Thanks for being such amazing travel inspiration! Where’s your next adventure??

    Annie (from the Peru Lares trek to Machu Picchu!)

  3. admin says

    Hi Annie! So fun to see you virtually after we accomplished that trek together. I’ll never forget that cold night in the tent!!!! Anyway, we are exploring in Costa Rica now and plan to head to Europe over the summer.

    Hope all is well.

    Happy travels,


  4. admin says

    One thing to note about the pack is that it doesn’t have the waist band. I haven’t had it heavy enough yet that its an issue but that’s the ONLY thing wrong with it in my opinion.

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