The forced minimalism of a hotel stay

La Quinta guest room

Image courtesy of La Quinta, which means I lifted it from the company’s website.

Last week I traveled to Austin, Texas, for a weeklong conference. I stayed at a hotel, which reminded me of one of the things I love so much about a hotel stay.

The beauty of a hotel room is it forces you into a state of temporary minimalism.

I traveled with only three bags: one backpack for the entire conference that held my computer and other needed gear, one duffle bag with my workout clothes, and my favorite travel bag (instead of a  suitcase) the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. I quickly learned I had packed too much. My intentions of working out were just that: between the Texas heat, the large number of steps I took each day at the conference, and having my time gobbled up with all the educational sessions, I simply didn’t have the energy to put in some extra miles.

In addition, I determined I could have packed my travel bag a little lighter. In the closet was a plastic bag that I could have used for laundry service for a few extra dollars. Had I to do it over again, I would have had the hotel wash my clothes a couple of days into the trip rather than bringing multiple changes.

My hotel room looked much like the one pictured above. It had a comfy chair to relax in, a bed, a desk to do some work at, a dresser, closet, and a bathroom. There was even a tiny fridge and microwave. The TV was the only real luxury in the room, but it was nice to have. The first channel on the TV had a computer generated image of the ocean with sounds of waves playing in the background. I would turn it on and fall asleep to that almost every night.

All of that was enough. It wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little, it was enough.

At home, we’re still plowing away on our journey toward minimalism. I’ve been systematically working my way through the garage — easily one of the worst offenders to minimalism in our home — with the goal of having a garage sale in early August after we’ve sorted through all we own. I’m excited to see how we end up at the end of the summer. I predict good things to come.

But I keep thinking back to that hotel room. Why own more than that? I feel calm and stable in environments with less, so why have more?

It is difficult for me to pare down. I find it very challenging. But when I see what the other side might look like, and how it makes me feel, I have hope.

3 thoughts on “The forced minimalism of a hotel stay

  1. Jeff

    I know you aren’t looking to buy more stuff but [Packing Cubes]( are travel gold and break down to be compact. Even if I just need a spare set of clothes for a quick flight or for a weekend, I roll my clothes and fit them into a cube and I use them in my suitcase or carry on.

    1. ericjgruber Post author

      Those look interesting. So you don’t use those in place of a suitcase, but with them? I wonder how they’d work with my Aeronaut. Currently I just roll everything up and stuff it in that thing.

      1. Debbi

        Way late reading this one, must have missed it– but OMG packing cubes are awesome. I’d never even heard of them, but in researching how to best pack for our trip to Europe, I ran across them. Yes, you use them with your suitcase–I bought a pack of three (all different sizes) and was truly amazed at how much more efficient and organized my packing was.


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