The Snowball Method Will Change How You Pack

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
I love traveling. I love walking off a plane into a different climate and time zone and being surrounded by different languages and people. I love eating foods that taste like the high-def version of what I thought was authentic back home. I love having to remember to stand on the other side of the escalator and hand over a credit card with both hands. I love struggling to remember how to say “thank you,” and noticing when an “obrigado or a “kop khun kha” become second nature. Most of all, I love seeing the outfits people wear and finding out where they buy them so that I can wear those things while I’m there, too. When in Rome, right?

I only really hate one thing about traveling, but it’s a really, really big hate. I despise airports. Every single minute I’m standing in line after I exit a plane is a minute less of fun. Mostly because of that, I’ve learned how to become an efficient packer to avoid checking any luggage and having to wait at the baggage carousel. I only do carry-on vacations, and so when I began thinking about what I was going to bring on my four-week-long #r29sabbatical throughout Southeast Asia, I knew that I had to really be ruthless. Not only did I have to fit 36 days' worth of things into one carry-on, but I also had to leave enough room for things I might/would definitely pick up while abroad. I had to go beyond “minimalist packing” and adopt a new strategy. Enter: The Snowball Method.
On paper, it was simple: I wouldn’t bring anything except what would be absolutely necessary and hard to buy, and I’d shop as I traveled, filling up my suitcase with each stamp in my passport. But in practice, it was much harder to get comfortable with the fact that I was about to board a plane with only two pairs of shorts for a month-long tropical vacation. But, in the end, I had the best shopping month of my life, largely thanks to what I didn’t bring.

So, for anyone who loves to shop, loves to travel, and wants to maximize both while minimizing their time spent in line, click through for what might be the most extreme packing strategy out there.

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