Minimalism is a movement characterised by simplicity and purpose. It is the internal promotion of the things we value most — which often means living with less items. Popular in numerous areas such as art and interior design, minimalism is also a freeing way to travel. Many travellers enjoy engaging in minimalist travel to increase comfort travelling, eliminate time wasted waiting for bags to arrive, limit theft risk, and increase their freedom. Without lots of heavy bags, travellers can feel free to travel and explore as they please.
Minimalist travel requires a shift in mindset, time, and dedication. Though it can be difficult for some to embrace, a few simple modifications can make minimalist travel simple to approach. Whether you’re new to minimalism or an expert, we have the fundamental minimalist travel ideas you need for your next holiday.
Invest in a Quality Bag
Minimalist travelling and packing starts with a compact, quality bag. A large bag is unnecessary, as most of us will continue packing until the bag’s entire space has been filled. A well-organised laptop bag is a minimalist travel essential. The more compact, the more practical, as it’s easier to carry and stores exactly as much stuff as what you need. Be sure to choose a bag that has plenty of pockets, an ergonomic fit, and is your preferred carrying style.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
Packing clothing for travel can be complicated. Though it can be tempting to pack the outfits that you think you may want to wear during your trip, minimalist travel focuses on simply packing the items you’ll need. Minimalist travel requires strategic outfit planning. Embracing minimalism and sustainable dressing simplifies your packing. A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing that can be mixed, matched, and layered to create numerous outfits, typically focusing on comfortable clothes in solid colours with a limited palette. Packing items that can be styled for multiple outfits maximises the space in your bag and ensures light travel.
Wear Versatile Shoes
Like clothing, shoes can take up unnecessary space in your bag. While the shoes that you pack depend on your travel destination and activities planned, wearing versatile, comfortable shoes is a minimalist travel essential. Minimalist travellers should wear comfortable shoes while en route to their destination and pack another pair in their bag. Limiting shoes to two or three pairs reduces the weight of your bag and helps minimise space used.
Bring Only the Essentials
Minimalist travel means just bringing the essentials, whether you’re travelling long-term or short-term. Consider the items that you love, the weight of the items, and how often you’ll use the item while travelling to guide which things you need to bring and the things you don’t. This could include choosing to bring outerwear, a water bottle, and medications. You want to avoid making packing mistakes like selecting the wrong clothing or bringing excess items. Ensure that your items are necessary, small, and multipurpose. If you’re unsure about whether you should bring an item, leave it behind! Only the items that you’re certain you will need should be packed when travelling as a minimalist.
Limit Your Toiletries
Toiletries can take up unnecessary space in your bag. Rather than taking all your toiletries used in your normal daily routine, limit them to the essentials. While it is a matter of personal preference, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and deodorant are basic items that take up minimal space and can be packed away into a small carrying bag. Any other toiletries can be purchased upon arrival at your destination.
Packing can make all the difference within a bag. Proper packing can help maximise space and stay organised. Tightly rolling clothes or using packing cubes can help save space in your bag, make packing easier, and help prevent wrinkles. Small items like socks or toiletries can be placed inside your shoes to save space, while bulkier items can be worn to limit your bag’s weight and save space. Bag space should be utilised to the best of your ability, without overpacking.
Every traveller is different with technology. While some bring one item, others like digital nomads bring all of their tech. However, embracing minimalism at its core means limiting the non-essentials and consolidating. Electronics, cords, and adapters can add weight to your bag and take up space. They can also be easily broken or stolen while en route. It’s important to consider which devices are needed for travel and which can be left at home. Smartphones are typically a must-have device for safety, help for directions, and photography. Others choose to also add a tablet for things like entertainment while travelling and directions. As with other areas of minimalist travel, the electronics you choose are your decision.
Shopping for souvenirs can be a fun and exciting part of travel. As fun as it is to shop for them, souvenirs can be heavy to carry and take up space in your bag. However, minimalist travel does not mean that you cannot shop and buy souvenirs while on holiday. If accessible, ship souvenirs you find on your travels back home or to family and friends via post. This eliminates the need to pack and carry the items with you. If this option is unavailable, another option is to buy smaller, more portable souvenirs to take home. This way, souvenirs can still be purchased and your travel bag remains easy to carry.
Much like overpacking, overplanning can weigh a trip down. It’s normal to want to see every major location and sight when travelling. However, minimalist travel embraces making the most out of your trip without overwhelming your day with excursions. Engage in more mindful travelling. Try editing your itinerary and investing in the experiences that will be most meaningful to you. In addition to saving time and stress, it will enable you to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
If you’re planning your next holiday and want to leave the heavy luggage behind and embrace minimalism, it can be done. The movement is being embraced by travellers all around the world so they can carry minimal possessions and feel empowered. Though it requires time and dedication, anyone can be a minimalist traveller. The key is sticking to the bare essentials and being intentional with the things that matter most to you when travelling.