why minimalism enhances your travel experience


It’s 2017, you’ve heard of it.

Whether you’ve seen The Minimalists’ documentary, Marie-Kondo‘d your life, or think it’s a silly millennial thing… you’ve heard of it.

Minimalism is, as I understand, eliminating unnecessary STUFF in order to truly enjoy, experience and appreciate your life. You can apply the concept of having less to the things you physically own or certain less tangible aspects of your life (though we won’t get into that here).

Whatever you think of utilizing minimalism for your general lifestyle, you can’t deny it makes travel simpler.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you…

  • didn’t always have to pay to check a bag at the airport?
  • never had to worry about overflowing suitcases?
  • could instantly find whatever you’re looking for in a bag?
  • always had room to bring home a keepsake?
  • spent more time exploring than worrying about getting your stuff around?
  • could explore on layovers without having to find a place for your luggage?
  • never had to worry about your clothes wrinkling from lack of space?

YES. Yes it would. So here are the ways you can start embracing minimalism while traveling…

First, simplify your wardrobe. Even if you love fashion and changing up your attire all the time at home, keep a separate set of clothes to travel with. Buy items in neutral colors, like white, grey, black, blue, green or brown. Invest in a few high quality pieces that are super functional, instead of bringing a million layers. For example, instead of having to don a different jacket for rain, wind, or cold, get one black (goes with everything) hooded, lined raincoat.

This already sounds simple, I know. But if it’s so simple, why are you still overpacking??

All you need to carry with you on any trip shorter than a month, depending on climate, is 1-2 shorts/pants, a handful of shirts, a good coat, maybe a hat, a solid pair of shoes and some undergarments. Again, invest in a high quality version in each of these in a neutral color and you won’t even have to think about what you’re putting on in the morning, because it’ll always look good and be functional.

My next tip is to bring less tech. So many people carry around an assortment of chargers, cords, wires, etc, for just a few electronics! The easiest way to fix this is to just bring a laptop with a wall charger (make sure you have the right charger for the country you’re going to!) and a USB cable.  Charge everything (camera, phone, iPod, whatever) by connecting that cable to your computer.

In that vein… One extra electronic thing that’s worth being along is some kind of e-reader. If you’re like me and can consume 6-7 books while traveling, especially on trips with long flights, do your back a favor and consolidate them into an e-reader, so you aren’t lugging a library around all the time.

Beyond clothes, a camera and some entertainment for the journey… what do you really need? Are you going to a big city or modern town? Chances are, if you really need anything, you can buy it there.

When you use the idea of minimalism to reduce the amount of things you have to worry about carrying with you and looking after, you free up more space to truly enjoy your travel experience. The less unnecessary travel gear you buy, the more money you have to eat out at that beautiful place on the Seine, or to go on a camel tour in Marrakech.

Next time you travel, really think about what you’ll need when you’re abroad. It’s always worth it to be able to spend more energy on enjoying the trip.

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