If you’re planning out your summer vacation, here are 5 minimalist travel tips that are sure to help you cut down on the unnecessary and boost your travel experience.
The $20 - 20 Minutes rule
A great tip, that minimalist travellers swear by, is this: if you can get something for under $20 in under 20 minutes at the location you are going, do not pack it. This is a core principle of minimalist travel and should be written down in front of you as you pack for your vacation.
Ok - so there are some very small, light things that can slip through the cracks. It might be wise to take a kitted out toilet bag with the essentials - toothbrush, toothpaste, key medicines and a bar of soap but as a standard there are very few things this rule does not cover.
Even smaller items of clothes like t-shirts should be carefully considered, as there are plenty of bulkier clothes such as pants, sweaters and shoes that could get wet and you may want spares. You can pick up a t-shirt for less than $5 most places, they aren’t a limited resource!
Rent Equipment Locally
Depending on your vacation, you’re likely to be getting up to some equipment-dependent activities along your way. Here’s our tip: rent the gear you need.
Whether you’re taking some amazing sunset photos on the beaches of California or trekking up Mount Fuji, you’re likely going to need some specialist equipment, be that cameras or hiking boots. As a minimalist, however, this poses a conundrum, equipment like this can be bulky and take up precious bag space.
Instead of bringing your own kit, or for that matter even buying it, try renting the equipment from locals instead. The sharing economy, which started around ten years ago, is ever growing and with it more and more opportunities for using the resources of your neighbours, and locals your destination, are opening up. You may already have booked a spare room owned by a local on Airbnb - there are plenty of sites you can find to rent out equipment as well.
There are many specialist peer-to-peer rental platforms for photography or outdoors specific needs, but if you are looking for a generalist site while trekking across the UK and US, check out Fat Lama, which enables users to lend and rent ‘almost anything’, from DSLR cameras to bikes.
Take multi-use items
This is something you may already do, but don’t limit yourself - everything you take (outside of underwear and some toiletries) should have more than one use.
Clothes-wise, we suggest taking plenty of items which have neutral colours and versatile applications - we’re talking loose trousers that can roll up, t-shirts that can be tied into good-looking crop tops, hats which work well while hiking as well as on the beach.
Other items should also have more than one use as well - think about your pen-knives, shampoo-shower gels and stick up washing lines that can be used, unsurprisingly, as a handy rope.
This may take some thinking outside the box, but it certainly will help simplify your travel.
Always pack like you’re travelling for a week
Here is a simple tip, and another one to write down while you pack: always pack like you are travelling for a week. Similar to the $20-20 minute rule, we are encouraging you to fundamentally reduce what you are taking. People who go away for a week take not much more than a small hard-shell suitcase and a rucksack, and this is what you should be aiming to travel with as well.
Here is a decent packing list to work with, although make your edits as you please:
- 2 x Good quality Cotton Shirts
- 1 x Pair of Nice Looking Washable Trainers
- 1 x Pair of Sandals
- 2 x Pair of loose, durable trousers
- 1 x Swimming costume
- 7 x Underwear
- 7 x Pairs of Socks
- 2 x Good quality Cotton Long sleeved t-shirts
- 1 x Fully Equipped Toilet Bag
- 1 x Penknife
- 1 x Washing line
- 1 x Sewing Kit (Bonus Tip: Learn to Sew - especially for long journeys)
- 1 x Phone
- Travel Documents
This should genuinely get you through any length vacation - of course, be smart and add or leave behind what needs it, but generally this should be your standard pack.
Packing cubes and Hard-Shell Suitcases
One final thing to invest in is Packing Cubes - these are simple pouches to put your clothes and other items into, but will really help limit and control what you are including in our travels. Combine them with hard-shell suitcases, which physically limit what you can actually stick in a suitcase, and suddenly the classic game of tetris you play when you try to squeeze in every last bit of clothing will become a lot easier.
Of course, you will have to leave some things out that you otherwise would have taken, but isn’t that why you’re reading this? Plus, the cubes double up as a cushion when filled with clothes, and the hard suitcase acts as a decent makeshift chair, so your comfort is catered for as well with this tip - who said minimalistic meant you had to give up luxury!
So there we have it, five ideas to help you travel more efficiently and minimalistically - invest in some multi-use clothes and tools, buy yourself some packing cubes and a good hardshell suitcase, rent whatever else you need and reject what you wouldnt take in a week or can’t conveniently get. You’ll be a minimalist travel pro in no time!
Article written by Alexander
(Photo by 46785534@N06 via Flickr)