Packing for a trip – it’s always great fun because it’s that part of the pre-trip preparations where you get to slowly and fully savor the anticipation of the trip while the excitement builds. So it’s also easy to go way overboard here, packing enough stuff, a lot of it unnecessary, that a sturdy pack mule would buckle under.

Let’s see, then, what you can do to lighten the load with some high-mileage, minimalist packing tips. And while we’re at it, let’s also see what what you can do to remain health conscious while you’re traveling light.

1. Pack Only the Essential Items

Forget the nice-to-haves and pack only what is absolutely essential. A toothbrush is essential, but body wash is just a nice-to-have extra because you can get a bar of soap anywhere you go. It may take a trip or two to figure out exactly what you have to have and what you can do without. But once you have it down pat, you’ll appreciate the lighter bag and the greater mobility.

2. Pack Versatile Items that Can Do Double Duty

Try to take as many versatile items as you can, ones that serve more than one function and aren’t for special use only. This will take some careful consideration and judicious selection, but it’s worth the effort when you can use what you bring in multiple ways. Suppose, for example, you’re traveling to Ireland where it’s fairly cool most of the time and often rainy. The coat or jacket you take for warmth should also be able to serve as rain gear.

3. Pack Only One Week’s Worth of Clothing

By packing only a week’s worth of clothing, you’ll save space, have a lighter load, and still have enough changes of clothing to carry you till you can do some washing. You might, for example, take 6-7 shirts (or T-shirts), 7 changes of underwear and socks, 3 pairs of pants, and your necessary outer wear and beach attire. And that’s it.

4. Don’t Be Shy – Ask

To ensure your health, ask about the cleanliness of the room and how often bedding is changed. Also be sure to ask for a room with a shower stall instead of a tub or Jacuzzi. The reason is that tubs and Jacuzzis are much more difficult to clean than a mere shower stall.

5. Research Healthy Dining Options

When you’re traveling, it’s far too easy to fall into the habit of subsisting almost entirely on fast food. To avoid this unhealthy situation, research healthy dining options in the places you’ll visit before you go. Then when you get there, you’ll know exactly where to go to get the high-octane fuel for your body.

So there you are: 5 tips for light, nimble, healthy, and, above all, enjoyable traveling. Besides, packing light for minimalist traveling will save you money on check-in fees and time at baggage claim. And who wants to lug around all that heavy luggage anyway?