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Rachel Laurendeau

How Not to Overpack for a Yoga Retreat

Struggling with an awkward suitcase or hefting an oversized backpack around is hardly a zen way to start your wellness journey. Just like when we’re at home, all that stuff can be cumbersome, physically and emotionally. So why not try some of these pointers the next time you’re packing for a yoga journey, or any type of travel?

6 Tips for Packing Lightly

1) Do some research on the climate at your destination and pack accordingly. Bring lightweight base layers and outerwear that you can layer for coziness on cool days and peel off when you warm up. This will be particularly important if the yoga shala is open to the elements or if you’re travelling during the rainy season. One of my absolute must-haves when travelling is a pashmina. It works as a blanket or pillow on the airplane and is great when it’s a little chilly out in the evenings.

2) Look closely at your itinerary. What types of activities will you be taking part in? Not all yoga retreats are created equally. Some are more introspective and the focus will be on staying at the retreat centre, while other yoga journeys will be more adventurous and include local sightseeing or cultural experiences. Your active wear would be fine for a hike in the jungles of Costa Rica, but may not be appropriate at a temple in Bali, or a wine tasting in France.

3) Choose lightweight multi-purpose footwear. You don’t need to haul three or more pairs of shoes with you on a wellness retreat. Shoes and hiking boots are easily the biggest culprits when it comes to taking up space in luggage.

4) Choose items of clothing that you can mix-and-match to create a variety of outfits that suit both your yoga practice and the other activities. When it’s time to pack, roll everything up tightly. This will save space and reduce the wrinkles.

5) Bring along a little baggie of biodegradable laundry soap so you can hand wash and hang dry your clothes. This way, you bring fewer clothes and wear them twice. No one will notice, and let’s be honest, we all have our beloved leggings that we live in day in and day out anyway.

6) I’m generally not an advocate for single-use products like travel-size toiletries. I have reusable 100 mL bottles that I refill before each trip for things like eco-friendly shampoo and soap. These use up very little space, plus, they are small enough that I don’t have to worry about them in my carry-on luggage.

Take it from a woman who spent six weeks travelling in Central America with nothing but a 20L backpack (that’s about the size of school backpack): packing lightly is an art that you’ll be happy to master!

If you’d like more information on any of our group trips and yoga journeys, please email me at: rlaurendeau@travelonly.com or sign up for my newsletter.