Minimalist travel – everything you need to know

Minimalist travel is a travel philosophy that prioritizes experiences over material possessions.

It can be hard to know what to pack for a trip when you want to travel light. Because of this, most people tend to overpack, which can be very inconvenient and heavy. But you can learn how to pack for a long-term trip as a minimalist. This will help you save space and avoid having to carry around too much weight.

Minimalism is all about paring down your belongings to the essentials, and this can be a great way to travel as well. When you travel with only the essential items, you can lighten your load and make your trip more enjoyable. Also, by bringing only what you need, you can focus on enjoying your destination and seeing the world, rather than worrying about lugging around a lot of stuff.

So, next time you’re planning a trip, consider traveling with only the essentials and see how much more enjoyable your trip can be.

Who knows, you might even find that you don’t need as much stuff as you thought you did in your day-to-day life.

What is minimalist travel?

Minimalist travel is a style of traveling that involves taking only the essentials with you on your trip. This can include packing light, only bringing carry-on luggage, and staying in simple accommodations. The goal of minimalist travel is to minimize the hassle and stress of traveling so that you can focus on enjoying your trip.

For instance, when packing for a minimalist trip, you would only bring items that are absolutely necessary. This might mean bringing fewer clothes, leaving your hair straightener at home, and packing only very essential toiletries. The idea is to travel lightly so that you can move around easily and don’t have to worry about lugging around a lot of stuff.

Another aspect of minimalist travel is staying in simple accommodations. This can mean anything from camping to Couchsurfing to Airbnb-ing. The goal is to find accommodations that are comfortable and convenient but don’t break the bank. By staying in simpler accommodations, you can save money that can be better spent on other aspects of your trip, like activities and souvenirs.

The idea of saving money for experiences rather than material things are the whole purpose of being minimalist.

What are the benefits of minimalist travel?

There are many benefits of minimalist traveling. Some of the most important ones include:

  • it allows you to pack light. When you’re carrying everything on your back, the less you have to carry, the better. This also means that you can move around more easily since you’re not weighed down by a heavy bag.
  • saving money. By packing light and staying in simple accommodations, you can save a lot of money on your trip. This leaves more room in your budget for activities, and experiences.
  • it’s less stressful. The amount of stress that comes with traveling can be overwhelming. By minimizing the things you have to worry about, you can relax and enjoy your trip more. For example, if you’re only carrying a carry-on bag, you don’t have to worry about lost luggage or waiting for your bags at the airport.
  • it can help you to focus on the present moment. When you’re not lugging around a bunch of stuff, or worrying about where you’re going to stay each night, you can relax and truly enjoy your surroundings. For many people, this is the best part of traveling – being able to disconnect from the everyday world and simply soak up new experiences.

How to pack for a trip?

Start by making a list of everything you think you need to bring. Then, go through your list and remove anything that isn’t absolutely essential. For example, if you’re only going to be gone for a weekend, you probably don’t need to bring 5 days’ worth of clothes.

Try to pack light by only bringing items that serve multiple purposes. For example:

  • A scarf can be used as a blanket, a pillow, or, why not, a head covering for a cold day or to protect you from the sun.
  • A T-shirt can also be used as a towel and it takes less space than a towel.
  • A pair of leggings can be worn as pants or as an extra layer under a dress.

The more versatile your clothing is, the less you’ll need to pack.

Another way to pack light is to choose items that can be easily washed. This way, you can pack fewer clothes and simply wash them as you need to. Synthetic fabrics dry quickly and don’t require ironing, so they’re ideal for travel. (Although if you have an obsession with cotton, I totally get it.)

Toiletries are another area where you can save space by packing items that have multiple uses. For example, a bar of soap can be used for washing your body, your hair, and your clothes.

Related: 20 Signs that you have too much stuff

What to bring with you on a trip as a minimalist traveler?

When it comes to packing, less is definitely more. The key is to try to pack items that serve multiple purposes.

  1. Clothes. Obviously, you’ll need to pack clothes. But how many clothes you pack will depend on the length of your trip, the weather, and your personal preferences. However, try to pack as fewer clothes as possible. You can always wash your clothes in the laundry or hand-washing them in the sink.
  2. Shoes. Depends on how long you are traveling. But if you are traveling for shorten than 2-3 weeks, one pair of shoes is enough (either hiking shoes or sneakers). If you are traveling for longer than that, I would go for 2 pairs of shoes, one for hiking and another one for lighter walks.
  3. Toiletries. I always opt-out for solid toiletries since you don’t have to worry if they leak, they last longer, and you don’t have to worry about them at the airport. You don’t need a lot of toiletries, only the essentials. For example, a bar of soap, a deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. In case you need to bring some liquid toiletries with you, transfer them to travel-size containers, to save on space.
  4. Electronics. For electronics, I would only take my phone with me. Of course, if you need a laptop for work, then you’ll have to bring it with you. But other than that, try to leave the other electronics at home.
  5. First-aid kit. This is always a good idea, no matter where you’re going or how long you’re gone. Even as a minimalist I would never leave without a first-aid kit.
  6. Documents. This is also something you really can not minimize. Make sure you have your passport, visa (if needed), and tickets with you.
  7. Water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when you’re traveling. I always make sure to pack a water bottle with me, so I can fill it up when I need to. It’s also going to save you money because you won’t need to buy plastic bottles all the time, and the environment since they decompose for so long.
  8. There might be other essentials depending on the area where are you going. For example, if going to a rainy environment, you might need a raincoat. If you’re going to a cold place, you might need a jacket.

P.S.: A travel backpack is your best friend when it comes to traveling. Try to find one that has multiple compartments, so you can organize everything in it. The GR2 backpack is an amazing backpack for travel. It has a lot of compartments, it’s comfortable to wear, and it’s perfect for carrying everything you need while still being able to pack light.

Minimalist travel tips

The following tips can help make your minimalist travel dreams a reality:

  1. Start by packing light. This means bringing only the essentials and leaving anything that you can live without. Leave your make-up items and hair straightener at home, they are not essential since you can easily live without them.
  2. Invest in some packing cubes. If you don’t know what packing cubes are, they are simply bags that help you organize your clothes better within your backpack. This can be a lifesaver when it comes to minimalist travel since they compress your clothes and help you be more organized, exactly what a minimalist traveler needs.
  3. Plan your trip in advance. Doing so, you will avoid overpacking and making unnecessary purchases along the way. Also, you will know what to expect and therefore can plan your wardrobe and travel itinerary accordingly.
  4. Travel with a carry-on bag only. A carry-on bag will surely force you to pare down your belongings to the essentials only. It is also more convenient since you won’t have to check in your luggage and wait for it at the baggage claim. Moreover, it is cheaper since you won’t have to pay baggage fees.
  5. Don’t buy souvenirs, take pictures. A great way to save space when traveling is to avoid buying souvenirs. Instead, take pictures of the places you visit and the people you meet. That way, you can keep the memories without having to lug around physical reminders.
  6. Use laundry rooms. Laundry rooms are your best friend when traveling light. Take advantage of them by washing your clothes often so that you don’t have to pack as much.
  7. Stay in simple accommodation. Minimalism is also about saving money. This means avoiding luxury hotels and opting for hostels, guesthouses, or apartments. You can also save a lot of money doing so. For example, you can rent an apartment with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals instead of eating out all the time.
  8. Embrace simplicity. Minimalist travel is all about enjoying the simple things in life. Slow down, unplug from technology and take the time to savor your surroundings.

How to pack for long-term travel as a minimalist?

When traveling for more than a month, you need to carefully consider what to pack. This is because you will have to carry everything with you for the duration of your trip.

Here are a few packing tips for long-term travel as a minimalist:

  • Think like a minimalist. A minimalist would not bring with him/her anything that is not essential. This means packing only the clothes you need and leaving all your sentimental items at home. Yep, no teddy bear on the road.
  • Pack only 4-6 days’ worth of clothing. Will you better carry with you a month’s worth of clothes or wash your clothing on the trip? Surprise! The second option is much easier to deal with. Keep in mind to bring clothes that dry easily and don’t require a lot of care, such as ironing. Also, try to pack clothes that are neutral in color, so that you can match them easily.
  • Roll your clothes. This will not only save space in your backpack but also prevent wrinkles.
  • Use packing cubes. As mentioned before, packing cubes are great for organizing your clothes and saving space.
  • Invest in a high-quality backpack. The quality of your backpack matters. A good backpack will make your travels much more comfortable and enjoyable, especially if you travel long-term.
  • Leave “maybe I will need this” at home. Be honest with yourself, do you really need that extra pair of shoes or that additional dress? Most likely, the answer is no. When in doubt, leave it out.
  • Organize your backpack so it doesn’t get messy during your travel. Keeping your backpack organized will help you easily grab what you need, without having to search through your entire backpack. Also, your travel will be much more pleasurable when you know that everything has its own place.

Final words

Minimalist travel is all about enjoying the simple things in life. By packing only the essentials and opting for simpler accommodation, you can focus on what really matters – enjoying your trip. So next time you travel, consider traveling light and embrace the simplicity of minimalist travel.

Happy travels!

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