I never used to think about what I threw in my suitcases when packing for a trip. This usually led to me overpacking, and even then— I would somehow forget the one item of clothing at home that I actually wanted to wear… EVERY TIME. Adopting minimalism as a way of life has been the most transformational experience for me. As someone who is naturally scatterbrained, the minimalist mindset has grounded me and helped me downsize, organize, prioritize and locate the items I truly need and care about. The most beautiful part is that this journey to living more intentionally is never ending. I continue to learn new things everyday. In this blog post you will learn my tips and tricks for traveling with the minimalist mindset, all while staying in alignment with the low impact, zero waste vegan lifestyle. Before we get into the packing list, let’s run through the general principles of minimalist travel:
1. When in doubt, leave it out
You will rarely find a traveler saying, “Man, I wish I brought more stuff.” If you are wondering if you need that extra pair of shorts, chances are you will be fine without it. Get creative and only pack items that are versatile and can be put to use over and over. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Multi-purpose everything
Colorful, funky clothing is fun, but rarely can it be paired with any hat, pair of shoes, etc. Pack clothing items that are neutral in color and style, and can be paired with just about anything. If you must bring that one funky dress or t-shirt– go ahead and have your moment. Ideally however, you would pack items that can be fashioned for many occasions, including a hike, a bar, an airport and even a date. If you do plan on going to some fancy gathering, simply pack one nice clothing item for the occasion.
3. Invest in quality gear
This is a big one. The last thing you want is having your only carry on or backpack fall apart while traveling. Investing in two quality bags (I recommend one backpack and one carry on luggage) will serve you in the long run.
4. Accumulate over time
Don’t worry if you cannot afford quality gear right away. Save up and make use of what you have in the meantime. Plus, it will take you some time to learn your needs and preferences while traveling. You may be even lower maintenance than you thought… ;).
5. Have fun with it
Traveling with the minimalist mindset is supposed to be a freeing experience. Have fun with it and do not put pressure on yourself to be perfect! Do the best that you can and simply use the following tips as your guide to navigating the world in an easier, more intentional way.
An awesome backpack with the following perks…
- Water resistant fabric
- Metal, lockable zippers
- Sturdy haul loop
- Comfortable straps
- Not too touristy-looking
- Flat compartment for documents and/or laptop
- Hip belt (if you’ll be hiking)
- Drink bottle pouch, clips to hang stuff on
- The compartments you need to store your phone, wallet and other valuables safely
- A pair of jeans
- A jacket (if needed)
- A few t-shirts (4)
- A dress (if applicable)
- Exercise clothing
- Swimsuit (if applicable)
- Socks (2)
- Undies (2)
The Footwear & Accessories
- Light scarf
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Hiking boots (if applicable)
- Sneakers (if applicable)
- A journal & pen
- A good book
- A yoga mat
- A bamboo toothbrush
- Homemade toothpaste
- Zero waste floss
- Tongue scraper
- Face lotion
- Menstrual cup
- Toiletries bag
- Reusable thin face towel
- Soap (my choice: Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap – Baby Unscented) for washing damn near everything (your clothes, your fruit/veggies, your body…)
- Makeup (my choices: 100% Pure Mascara, VAPOR lipstick, 100% Pure eyebrow pencil, Eco Tools eyebrow brush)
- Hand sanitizer
- Bar shampoo & organic body oil for conditioner
- Laptop and laptop charger
- Phone and phone charger
- Camera and camera charger (bring 2 batteries at least if you will be taking lots of video/photographs)
- Mini wireless bluetooth speaker
- World-wide plug adapter – charge up all my electronics from one adapter. Getting one with extra USB ports is great for charging my laptop & my phone at once
The Low Impact Lifestyle Products
- Zero Waste Kit
- Reusable water bottle
- Coffee travel mug
- Stasher bags (2 large, 2 small)
The Travel Apps & Services
- Maps.me: Download an entire country or regional map, then navigate offline without any WiFi or data. Usually comparable quality with Google Maps, and sometimes even better.
- Uber and Grab (Asia): A great alternative to price-gouging local transport cartels, with GPS pickup and dropoff, and linked to your card so you don’t have to mess around with cash.
- Transferwise: For moving money from home to an out of country bank account, as well as to pay people in foreign currencies. Not only does this eliminate ATM fees, you get the actual mid-market exchange rate instead of getting ripped off by brokers.
- Couchsurfing: I’ve had a great time hosting fellow travelers. Tinder is another good way to meet new people (seriously). I’ve written a whole article on making friends as a solo traveler which will be up on the blog soon
- Airbnb: the widest selection of accommodations around the world to match your exact budget
Lastly… the Essentials
- Boarding pass (digital to save on paper)
- Eye mask
- You vitamins, medications and any first aid stuff you feel called to bring.
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