What to Borrow for Travel

Why do we feel we can't borrow the things we need to travel?  I know it's easy when planning a vacation to get caught up in thinking we need to buy new clothing, new travel gear, and all the other things you can think of to buy ahead of a vacation.


Why are we convinced that we actually need anything more than we already have to travel?

Why has our society shifted away from borrowing things we only need occasionally?

In addition to borrowing before you buy be sure to take this challenge to start saving for your vacation by changing a few things in your household budget.  It's a relatively easy way to add to your vacation budget!

Suitcases travel

Why not borrow for travel needs?

Think about your circle of friends and family. Wouldn't you be more than willing to let them borrow anything that you have? I'm sure you would. And on the flip side, I'm sure they would be more than happy to lend you something for your upcoming trip. 

If you don't have the right size suitcase to travel with, why not ask your friends and family to borrow one instead of rushing out to buy a new one? 


Our society does a great job of marketing this feeling that we need to have one of everything “JUST IN CASE.”

It's absurd.

Why do you NEED to buy a ski bib for your upcoming ski trip or a wet suit for your upcoming snorkeling trip? You might only need these things once every year or two -- or possibly never again? Instead, just ask around! The chances are good that someone you know will have gear you can borrow for your vacation.


My family is on a journey to becoming a minimalist household, so it really doesn't make sense for us to store things “just in case.” I would much rather borrow or rent something I need for a special vacation. If it looks like it may become something we do three or four times a year, then I will absolutely consider investing in whatever it is for ourselves. But otherwise, I’d rather just borrow for travel needs (and many other things).


For basic trips -- those that don’t require special equipment -- all you really need is your clothes and a suitcase to carry them in. You DON’T need to buy new clothes and a new suitcase for every vacation.  It's fine to use packing lists as a guide....don't take that to mean it's a shopping list!

Why do we continue to allow ourselves to feel as though we don't have enough?

Somehow I feel our society has shifted to making us feel guilty if we ask to borrow things from people we know. For some reason we are more willing to just buy something that we will only use one or two times than ask a friend to borrow something for one vacation.

Packing for vacation

3 Things you Should Borrow For Travel

1. Luggage

DO NOT BUY luggage because you've planned a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

By definition that trip will be ONCE.  Why in the world would you buy something you'll only use once when you could borrow from friends - who will be happy to let you?

This doesn't mean you shouldn't ever buy luggage.  Of course you may need to at some point...just don't feel pressured into it.

We just recently invested in an amazing travel backpack that I can’t wait to give you a full review of after we get to break it in!  This purchase came over two years after we first considered owning a travel backpack. 

However I never want to feel rushed into making a purchase. I knew that we would use a backpack 10 to 12 times over the span of a year.  We waited until we were in a place where we could spend the extra money on a quality piece of luggage AND waited for a promotion so we could save money!

By borrowing first and buying later, we were able to  research and ask around for recommendations from friends.  

2. Clothing

I guarantee for the vast majority of vacations you do not need to purchase clothing.

Sure, it SEEMS like you should....we are a society that consumes SO MUCH.  We are made to believe (through specific marketing) that we have to buy a new dress for a fancy dinner out.  Or that we have to buy a new swimsuit because who would be caught wearing the same swimsuit as last year?

Again...this doesn't mean you shouldn't buy clothing for yourself but why do it right before a vacation?  Your budget is likely already stretched and little things pop up at the last minute...or on the trip itself.  Why not save that money for those things instead?

For everyday clothing we typically don’t need to borrow for the kids. Our last big vacation coincided with the change of season. I waited as close to our vacation as we could before I bought their spring/summer clothing (from a consignment store).

As for me, I sometimes need a cocktail dress (which I don’t own) or a pair of hiking boots (which I don’t own),  and I'll ask friends before I even consider shopping for these things for myself. I think I've worn a cocktail dress once in the past two years. If it was something I wore three to four times a year I would definitely invest in one for myself, but that’s just not the case for me.

I'm currently in between clothing sizes. Making better food choices and trying to be more active means I've lost weight, which makes me super excited! However, the shorts and jeans I've been wearing are now too big. I have some that are smaller and I can almost fit into them. But if by the time of my next vacation I am not at that size, I will not buy new clothing. I will find a friend who has the clothing size that I am in currently and will ask to borrow those.

3. Special Activity Equipment

We borrow ski bibs, heavy coats, boots -- can you tell we live in the south and have NO cold weather gear whatsoever?!

There may be an activity, like snowboarding for my son, that may require us to eventually buy our own equipment. Until we are at a point where we can afford 3-4 snowboarding trips a year I don’t feel it’s necessary for my son to own his own snowboard and snow boots (especially since he’s only 11 and still has a lot of growing to do!).

Golfing isn’t really our thing, but if we were going on a golfing trip, we would ask to borrow golf clubs. We certainly wouldn’t buy them. We could also factor in the cost of renting them if necessary.

For those who visit the beach 1-2 times each year, is it REALLY worth the cost of a surfboard?


Sure, I know you can find deals and that’s great. And, sure, you could resell once you were home from vacation.

Is the packing/unpacking and having it take up storage space in your home 98% of the year really worth it?

What about the time it takes to list the item for sale and then respond to inquires, meet potential buyers.

Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not.


Just think about what it really costs you - in terms of time and storage space in your home - before you push the "buy now" button on a big-ticket purchase.


Again, every vacation is different and every family is different. Our way isn’t the right way or the only way, but it’s our way to work with the limited budget we have. We have to make choices to stretch our vacation dollars each time we plan a vacation or even a weekend trip.


For us it means using all of the money we have earmarked for vacation for our actual vacation -- not the vacation accessories that we’ll have to store (and not use) the other 360 days of the year.

Suitcase camera travel

And another thing....do not buy a camera for vacation

Do not buy a camera for vacation.

I repeat....do....not....buy.....a....camera.

It is a completely unnecessary expense that will just collect dust on your shelf back home because unless you really learn how to shoot manual it won't be a wise purchase.

Obviously if you are a photographer and you "need" a camera or lens I'm not talking to you (but I kind of am....why not rent before you buy?  OR...do you *really* need it if it's just a personal vacation and not work related?)

Your phone will be just fine.  I promise.  You can check out this blog post to see a sample of the images I created with my phone during our European vacation.  No fancy camera required.

I've got a course in the works to teach you more about how to use your phone camera (be sure to subscribe to my email list because that's who will have the first opportunity to sign up for the class).

Don't be Embarassed to Borrow Items for Travel

I want you to really think about all of the items in your home that go unused 75% (or more) of the time.

Would you LOVE to allow your friends and family to borrow if they had a need so they wouldn't have to spend money?

Those same friends and family would do the same for you.

Use that money you would have normally spent on new items for your vacation and spend it on the vacation itself....it's so worth it!


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