Minimalism is a concept that can be applied to almost any aspect of life, be it interior design, home organization, budgeting, and, of course, traveling. Whether your goal is to stick to your budget or to strengthen your self-discipline while on vacation, incorporating minimalism into traveling is always a great idea.
However, minimalist travel is not only about packing light or keeping your itinerary simple, although these are major parts of it. Here are some essential tips on how to travel the minimalist way and experience a more fulfilling trip for less:
1. Bring only what you really need
People who overpack tend to overestimate their needs. Whether it’s an additional five pairs of socks or an extra can of your favorite shaving cream, it always seems to make more sense to just stuff it in your luggage “just in case.” If you are guilty of this habit whenever you’re going somewhere, it’s high time to change your mindset about traveling.
Chances are, something will go wrong on your trip and you’ll just have to find a way to go around it. No trip is perfect, and you can’t expect everything to go according to plan. Yes, you might need extra shirts in case you spill something on yourself three days in a row, but there is something called laundry detergent. You’ll be okay with packing only what you need, so stick to the basics and if there is room for some “just in case” stuff, that’s the only time you can pack a few extras.
2. Keep your tech to a minimum
Unless you will be working while traveling, you probably don’t need to bring your laptop along. And unless you vlog for a living, bringing your entire arsenal of cameras and tripods won’t make much sense. You can do almost everything on a smartphone these days, hence, it’s probably the only piece of tech that you need for a simple trip. Just make sure to protect your phone with something like a real wood smartphone case to keep it safe while getting knocked around in your pocket or bag.
3. Reevaluate your grooming needs
Shaving cream, electric shavers, trimmers, and beard creams are all nice to have while traveling, but they can make your toiletry bag a little more crowded than necessary. Instead of bringing what you usually use at home, downsize your grooming kit by buying travel-sized containers of your essentials. Similarly, you may also want to invest in a wireless electric shaver so that you don’t have to pack the bulky wires as well. Resist the urge to pack extra batteries, too; the corner store from your hotel will probably have some.
4. Do laundry
The idea of doing laundry while traveling may seem unappealing, but it’s an excellent way to keep your luggage light. Bring enough clothes to cycle through your entire trip, and then do laundry in-between wears. You can wash clothes in the hotel sink with some laundry detergent and they’ll be dry in a day or two. Alternatively, you can find a nearby laundromat and wash your clothes there.
5. Simplify your itinerary
Unless you’re staying at your destination for a long time, you probably won’t be able to do everything that you want to do within the length of your stay. That said, plan your itinerary with only the places and activities that you really want to visit and do. Revisit your itinerary from time to time and see if there are things that you want to add or take off. In this way, you can maximize your trip with things that you truly want to experience and save money at the same time.
Moreover, by keeping your itinerary simple, you can spend more time at one spot and get to enjoy it fully before starting the next leg of your trip. If you try to do everything and have to spend half the time in transit, you may not get to experience the actual places and instead be on public transportation most of the time.
6. Embrace a minimalist wardrobe
For men, the essential wardrobe pieces (apart from the basics such as t-shirts and underwear) for travel are:
- A jacket or blazer that can be used for both casual and formal wear
- Classic straight-cut jeans or chinos
- A dress shirt that is appropriate for both nights out and business events
- A sweater or cardigan for layering
- A leather belt
- A casual watch
It can take a lot of time before you can be truly comfortable traveling the minimalist way. However, you’ll never be able to fully embrace minimalism in traveling until you start. So, keep these tips in mind when you’re planning your next big trip, and always remember that it’s okay to make mistakes the first few times.