Traveling Outside the Box with Minimalism
Who doesn’t feel the call to see the world after spending a few minutes on Instagram? However, each time you try and take off, you wind up taking way too many things. Some people need their entire closets and wardrobes in order to travel. Although if you’ve read our piece on tackling the closet conundrum, that might not be an issue!
Either way, travelling as a minimalist can be a shock to the system if you haven’t gone for it before. And while there are many ways we can define “travelling as a minimalist,” today we’re going to look at downsizing your travel accoutrements. I.e. “travelling light.
That’s right, you don’t actually need to pack your entire house and take it with you. Rather, let’s take a look at what could be when you travel the minimalist way; light, easy, and clutter-free.
Only Bring the Basics
The advice of “Bring only what you need to survive” may seem a little extreme. However, it’s not entirely untrue. By and large, we all have a tendency to overpack. After all, what if you need that extra pair of socks? Or that spare cellphone charger? And who doesn’t need two toothbrushes? You get the idea. It can quickly get out of hand.
Rather, plan out your trip. How many days will you be gone? You’ll need clothes for that many days. Will you have the ability to do laundry where you are? If so, maybe you need even less.
When it comes to toiletries, cosmetics, and other personal items; also consider what you’ll truly need. If you’ll be staying in a hotel, many toiletries may be provided. In any case, there’s no need to bring your entire bathroom with you.
In fact, unless you’re going to be travelling for a month, you may find that you don’t really need that much! In most cases, a single bag is all you need!
Leave the Office Behind
Sure, if you have a long flight, you’ll need some entertainment and distractions, but you don’t need every device. The less tech you pack, the lighter you can travel, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
Bring your laptop if you must, but avoid packing your wireless mouse, accessory dongles, physical movie or game cases, and other unneeded add-ons. Or, if you do need to touch base, use the hotel's business center or pop into a nearby Internet café.
Of course, bring your cellphone, charger, and other necessary accessories. Other than that, however; go lightly, brave traveller!
Pack Like a Soldier
One of the first things an armed service member learns regarding travel is the “Ranger Roll,” a compact folding method. When done right, it not only saves you precious free space in any bag but prevents wrinkles as well.
By starting with broad folds from the outer edges and working your way in, it creates a small rolled object. You can fit far more clothing items in the same amount of space, and you won’t see as many creases.
Use Smaller Luggage & Backpacks
You hear the same piece of advice for dieting over and over: use smaller plates and bowls for portion control. And while that may not always work when you go back for thirds, it does make sense for vacation packing.
Smaller containers, suitcases, backpacks, and other luggage items mean making do with what fits inside, forcing you to scale back. While it may feel like The Bachelor for your belongings, it can be useful for indecisive travellers.
Pack Around Your Activities
Whether you consider yourself an organized traveller with a full itinerary or plan on improvising, pack around any intended activities. If your upcoming trip is a relaxing beach vacation, how many things will you genuinely need to bring?
Taking a cruise is a great example, as you can either stay on the ship or participate in paid excursions. Whatever activities that you have on your list of must-sees, begin with them when packing your bags to avoid unnecessary belongings.
Use Onsite Washing Facilities
Rather than bring an entire week’s worth of clothes, check-in at places that offer onsite laundry rooms or services. Some lodging offers dry cleaning, washing, or have coin-operated appliances, allowing you to double up on the same wardrobe.
Or, instead, try and save up all your dirty clothes for when it’s time to fly home. When your laundry is already in rough shape, you don’t need to worry about wrinkles forming from tight packing.
How Much Documentation Do You Need?
When travelling abroad, it means keeping up with tons of official documents full of sensitive personal information. And while it may be required, do you need to bring the physical copies?
The Department of Homeland Security offers a Mobile Passport app, allowing you to check in using a smart device. While it isn’t recognized everywhere, it does get used in 26 international airports in the United States, and three seaports.
Other documents, such as insurance cards, boarding passes, even some credit cards have smartphone app replacements that can save space. Just double-check to know whether they will get accepted at the locations you will be visiting before arriving.
Go Forth And Travel
Travelling as a minimalist isn’t just about leaving the home with only the clothes on your back. You can take exceptional, enriching vacations just the same as anyone! Rather, it’s about proper planning and execution. The same principles of reducing clutter, waste, and excess apply to luggage as they do the bathroom or kitchen.
Minimalist travel also means paying careful attention to waste as it pertains to your wallet. But that, dear traveller, is another topic for another day. For now, you’ll feel confident knowing that wherever your travels take you, you’ll be prepared for it!