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How to Travel with a Minimalist Mindset


You’ve been there. You’ve sat on your suitcase in order to close it. You’ve paid unexpected baggage fees at the airport. And you’ve come home from that vacation with clothes that you haven’t even worn. This likely says that you may have just a little bit of trouble embracing the minimalist travel lifestyle.

Here’s how you can embrace travelling minimally, which will help you maximise the items you do bring and pack more efficiently every single time.

Make a list

Packing can be overwhelming, and what happens most often is that travellers do it last minute. What’s the fastest way to pack? Throw everything you think you might need in a suitcase of course! The only problem with that is that you tend to end up with a lot of items that you don’t actually need.

Going away for a weekend? What if something spills on the jeans that I wear? What if two dresses aren’t enough? What if I need more than one bathing suit? Hastily packing because you feel overwhelmed is one of the number one ways that individuals fail to be minimalist in their approach.

Before you put anything into a suitcase, think hard about what you actually need. Make a list of the days you’ll be gone and what you want to wear on each of those days. Pick items that can be mixed and matched. Aim to bring only 1-3 pairs of shoes depending on how long you’ll be gone for. Once you’ve made your list, stick to it! Use it as your minimalist travel guide, so you won’t deviate from what you know you actually need.

Only carry on

A great way to limit yourself with space when you travel is to only utilise the carry-on travel option. While checked bags can be a solid option for long-term travel or relocation, travelling minimally means you should avoid checking in any luggage. It’ll naturally help you restrict what you bring while saving you money and time at the airport. Check-out the convertible Rain’s Large Travel Backpack.

Have travel-sized items

When you carry on your luggage, a lot of the time it’s a must to have travel-sized items but switching over all your toiletries can also help to save you room. You can find these at your local supermarket or check-out Muji for their range of travel size containers. Additionally, be conscious of other items that tend to take up a lot of room as well like electronics, chargers, brushes, etc. Anything that can be made smaller should be! This all contributes to the minimalist style of travel.

Pack items that can be used or worn more than once

This goes back to your brainstorming in #1. When you make your list, put some thought into what can be worn again or used over the course of your trip. A large part of how to travel with a minimalist mindset is realising that an item can be dual purpose. Think about that pair of pants that you can wear for a few days or a shirt that can be mixed and matched. You probably only need one jacket or bag to get you through the trip as opposed to 2-3. It’ll take some practice, but once you do it once you’ll see how you can use one option for many uses.

Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate

Make your list, pack your bag, and then eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. Travelling minimally is about seeing what you have and continuing to eliminate until you’re at a comfortable spot. Ask yourself, “Will I use this every day?” or “Is this something that I’m absolutely unable to function without?”

Take the basics and what you know you need to survive, but when also know that there’s likely to be stuff that you can use along the way. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash? Hotels often provide it. Travel pillow? Try balling up a sweater, scarf or sweatshirt that you already have in your bag. Travelling minimally is about making it work with as few items as possible.

Final thoughts

Travelling with a minimalist mindset is often new and uncomfortable for most when they take it on. However, with practice, you can come to see the benefits of travelling lightly. It’s less cumbersome and allows you to truly enjoy where you are without having to worry about all the stuff you brought along. Remember to plan what you’re going to bring and eliminate time and time again. You’ve got this!

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