Traveling should be about exploring new lands and living care-free for the brief (or long) period of time you’re away from home. So why is it that we always seem to bring unnecessary things with us that weigh us down physically and emotionally? Before I took on the minimal lifestyle, there wasn't a single trip that I went on where I didn't think either, "I packed way too much" or "why the heck did I buy this?"
Minimalism is a great concept to take on the road with you. Packing only the essentials and focusing more on the experience makes for a more eye-opening and rich experience.
Now, I'm not saying you should go on your next vacation with one outfit and figure out how to make do with it. And I’m definitely not insisting that it would be a sin to contemplate buying something other than food while you travel. That's crazy, unrealistic, and definitely not an enjoyable way to travel. But what I am going to share with you are some tips I've acquired while living and traveling around the world that are helpful for making your vacations more simple and carefree.
1. Skip Baggage Claim and Only Bring A Carry-On
Unless you're going on a trip that is longer than a week (and even then, I would argue for simply doing laundry while you're on vacay), only take a carry-on. There are a plethora of reasons why I advocate for a carry-on only travel style.
First off, you don't have to worry about your bags getting lost. Every time I move somewhere new, I stand in panic-stricken fear as I watch the baggage claim carousel go around until I finally see my own bags.
Having only a carry-on sized suitcase kind of forces you to bring less.
You can travel faster.. literally! Luggage is big, heavy, and not so easy to transport. Zoom past everyone at the baggage claim and look like a travel pro doing it!
Don’t forget to take into account that you're allowed a carry-on and a purse. I've taken a large shoulder bag as my purse and that, combined with a carry-on, is a lot more space than you would think!
2. Down-Size Your Beauty Products And Toiletries
Packing a carry-on makes you also stop and consider your beauty/toiletry products because, you know, TSA regulations and stuff. But a great way to really minimize what you're brining is to pack smaller-sized products, only the make-up you'll actually use, and the bare minimum hair tools, if any at all. Another great tip I would give you is to contact your hotel or Air BnB beforehand and ask if they have a hair dryer (or any other complimentary products for that matter). I absolutely hate packing mine, so it's awesome when places provide one!
3. Don't Worry About Forgetting Something Because You Can Always Buy It.
Woah, I'm a minimalist telling you to buy something? Yes.. Yes I am! Because instead of over packing with way too many shoes/tops that you could ever use on one trip, it's better to take less and know that, if worst comes to worst, you can always buy something. Plus, whatever you do buy is kind of like a souvenir from your vacation! Going to Mexico for the week? I'd rather buy a cute printed dress from a trip to Puerto Vallarta than wear the same ole stuff I always do (true story; this happened).
4. When It Comes To Clothes, Pack Neutrals
If you bring clothes in neutral colors that can be easily switched around with each other, you've just cut down on your outfit decision making time and allowed yourself to bring less but still make more combinations! And let’s not forget; when in doubt choose black. Because what goes with black? Everything.
5. Skip The Souvenirs
Here is the number one thing that can really add unwanted stress to your vacation; souvenirs. It's like the forbidden word of the minimalist language. Do I want to buy a porcelain tea set from Korea that I will probably never use and will collect dust in the back of my cabinet? No. And I sure as heck don't want to buy that for someone else. Large souvenirs not only take up a lot of room, but most of them are quite pointless. My advice for some more interesting souvenirs, if you really must buy some, are: bracelets, a scarf, tea, or a postcard (mailed from your actual location. How cool!).
6. Switch To USB Chargers
Write down all of the electronics you're bringing with you, take note of which ones use the same plug, condense and buy USB chargers for your items. Nowadays, the part that plugs into the wall is detachable from the actual charger via a USB plug. So, instead of having multiple parts that plug into the wall, take one and you will be able to use it for all of your chargers! Even better, I suggest buying a thin portable battery. These are my weakness; they have saved my phone's life countless of times!
7. Clean Out Your Wallet
Pull out your wallet. Go it? Take everything out of it. Everything. Now, place back two debit cards and one credit card; if you have a student ID or a medical insurance card, put those back in too. Got it? That's all you need to bring! Brining your wallet full of loose change, your Sephora card, and a partially stamped loyalty card to your local coffee shop are just going to weigh you down! Plus, and I hope this never happens to you, but in the worst case your wallet is stolen, at least your whole life won't go with it! Another tip I highly suggest you do before you head off on any international travels is call your bank ahead of time and notify them. I can't tell you how many times I've emailed my dad asking him to call my bank to let them know I’m traveling because my debit card wasn't working.
So there you go! Try out these tips for your next travel and I guarantee you’ll have an easier travel experience with less stress! But please remember, traveling is about the experience! It’s for you and the people you go with. So please, enjoy it for yourself!