February 22nd, 2016

A Beginner's Guide To Minimalist Travel

Find out how to whittle down the contents of your bag to a far more manageable size and weight—without missing any precious cargo.

 

Most travelers pack too much stuff into their bags. You’ve probably seen them in airports and train stations—they are the people lugging giant, heavy backpacks or dragging massive suitcases behind them, struggling every step of the way.

If you've ever been one of them, then you know what a burden it can be on your poor back and shoulders. It's time to become a minimalist traveler!

But packing less isn't easy, since you have to pick and choose items more carefully. That's where this simple guide comes in. Use this quick checklist to make sure you'll have everything you need on your next journey.

1.Downsize Your Luggage.

The highlight of minimalist travel is traveling with a carry-on only. This allows you to carry a smaller, lighter bag, as well as avoid long lines to check baggage. You won't have to pay for checking a bag, and you can be sure that your suitcase will arrive at your destination, since it will be in the overhead bin above you. Consider a versatile bag like the EC Lync™ System, which can be worn as a backpack or wheeled like luggage.

2. Choose What You Want To Pack—Then Halve It.

How many times have you gone away and not even worn much of the clothing that you’ve packed? It's common to throw tons from your wardrobe into your bag so you'll have options on vacation, but why drag around heavy clothes that you're not going to wear? Most people bring twice as much stuff as they need. Think about exactly how many days you'll be gone and pack one (and only one) outfit per day—or even fewer if you'll have a chance to do laundry at your destination.

3. Roll Your Clothes To Save Space. 

This is a handy little trick that frequent travelers have been using for a long time. It’s amazing how much space you will save if you roll your clothes, rather than fold them. Put your rolled items into designated Pack-It Cubes—one for shirts, one for pants, one for underwear, etc—and with such an organized suitcase, you'll be able to track down items even faster.

4. Pack Clothing That Is Versatile.

Clothing that can be used in many different ways is key to minimalist travel. For instance, find a great pair of travel pants that are convertible—meaning they can be worn as long pants in a cooler climate or can be zipped off into shorts when it's hot. For the ladies, a quality sarong can be used as a dress, skirt, top and even as a sheet, if needed.

5. Be Tech Savvy.

Unless you absolutely have to work while traveling, leave your bulky laptop at home. The same goes for your tablet. Keep in touch with the world by just using your pocket-sized smartphone. Download reading apps onto your phone so you don't have to bring heavy books.  

6. Get a Flat-pack Toiletries Kit.

Cumbersome toiletry kits full of gels, toothbrushes, sunscreen, and the rest can take up a lot of space in your luggage. In the past, toiletry bags were not designed with space-saving in mind, but these days, you can get a flat-pack toiletry bag like the Pack-It Slim Kit that not only takes up less space, but comes with a handy hanger. Fill it with small, carry-on size silicone bottles of shampoo, body wash, and whatever else you need.

Minimalist travel is as easy as that! If you follow these quick tips, you will wonder why you ever traveled with so much unnecessary stuff. For even more packing tips, check out this helpful list.

Time for your input, readers! What's your top tip for a first-time minimalist traveler? Share your thoughts in the comments, below. 

Megsy has been a full-time backpacker since April 2013. Follow her adventures—including visiting the glaciers of western Mongolia and eating tagine in Morocco—at The Travel Freedom Podcast.  ​

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