Ever reached the airport only to realise that you’ve packed more than the weight limit? Overpacking seems to run in the blood of us Indians. The stress of carrying all that extra luggage eventually catches up to you, mid vacation. Those extra bags constrain your sense of freedom in a sense which can take you away from your mental escape.
What is Minimalist Travel?
Minimalist travel is more than just packing essentials only. It’s about coming to terms with the idea that less is more. Minimalist travel can really refresh you and when you come back from your trip, you’ll have gained something unique. The memories created can stick a whole lifetime. Minimalist Travel is also about proving to yourself that you don’t need to be in your comfort zone to have a good time.
What are the benefits of Minimalist Travel?
Being forced to catch a taxi that costs Rs 2000 one way is extremely painful for us Indians, but when we pack 2 suitcases full of clothes we are kind of cornered into taking the easy way out after a long flight. On the contrary, if we had just one compact backpack with all our belongings we could easily explore the bus/train routes without worrying about excess luggage slowing us down. Overpacking on longer trips only causes more stress for us. Constantly keeping track of where we left what in a new country can get annoying real quick.
How to be a Minimalist Traveller?
Humans don’t do well with change in general and leaving behind your daily use items on a long trip can seem daunting at first. Not having access to your favourite brand of noodles or cereal can be really annoying at first but here’s the thing, you might discover a new favourite. Being a Minimalist Traveller is all about enjoying these small experiences. These small experiences leave enough impact for you to remember these moments years later. Refer to the list below and in 10 easy steps you too can pack Minimal just like me.
Have an open mind
The first step to this process is to clear your mind of any pre-existing notions you might have about this concept. You might feel biased against it at first but remember that this is just another experience. So, if you’re going to give it a try it’s probably best to do so with an open mind. The new faces and experiences will give you a new outlook at the end of your little escape.
Carry a light bag
The first step to packing light would be to choose a bag that’s light and compact. A smaller bag will ensure you can’t pack more even if you want to pack more, and if you have a light bag you will not think twice before getting on the move. You will be able to slow down and enjoy your vacation. Personally I would recommend this bag because it comes with a lot of compartments to organise your belongings and the padding on the straps don’t dig into your shoulder after a long day.
Pack for a week
Although your trip might be much longer than a week you should pack enough clothes for just one week. You don’t need clothes beyond the bare essentials. 2 pairs of jeans, 4 t shirts and 1 padded jacket are on my list of essentials. Write down your belongings on a piece of paper so you can evaluate whether or not those items actually make practical sense of carrying. Some questions you should ask yourself should be:
- Do I need this?
- Can I use this again?
- Can I adjust without this for the duration of my trip?
Tip: Make sure to buy a laundry soap from wherever you land to keep your clothes clean.
No more than 2 pairs of shoes
Shoes add a lot of unnecessary bulk and weight so it doesn’t make sense to carry more than 2. For warmer countries a pair of sandals of flip flops work even better as they’re practically weightless. As for places infamous for their rain I would recommend wearing gumboots to the airport and carrying your other shoes. Heavier hiking and snow boots kind of take away from the concept of packing light but count as a necessity for some people.
Manage your electronics
Be smart about your electronics and digitize whatever you can : Passports, Maps, ID etc.
Your smartphone should be more than necessary for most travellers but if you have the extra space a laptop or dslr might not be a bad idea. Battery is another important thing to consider. If all your ID is on your phone then I would certainly recommend carrying at least a 10,000mah power bank. If all your devices share the same power cable that’s even nicer.
Control your panic packing
After following all the steps on the list you might just feel like you haven’t carried enough and that you’re really unprepared for this vacation. Take a deep breath and just believe in yourself. You can get most basic items anywhere in the world so it’s no big deal even if you did end up forgetting something. Remind yourself that you’ve made a choice to travel this way and that this is an unforgettable experience. The inconvenience of not having your favourite toothpaste for a month is not worth giving up the sum of all those experiences you could’ve created in that month.
Get on the move
After all of this if you still feel like you have underpacked, carry a small duffel bag for some extra items here and there. Last but not the least make sure to enjoy yourself and not stress about the small things. Minimalist Packing takes small sacrifices and can feel tedious at first, but the benefits far outweigh the cons. More than making space in your bag you have to make space within yourself to take it all in.