The best way to travel is light, but we still need to be self-sufficient and stay comfortable when adventuring around the globe. Minimalist travel is a mindset to use only what we really need, without creating excess waste or hauling around excessive items. In the wake of climate change and the staggering amount of waste and environmental destruction that our planet is enduring, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our consumption. Traveling naturally causes us to think about how little we actually need to be happy and comfortable, and being aware of this will help us create a low carbon footprint and the least amount of impact wherever we go.
Before your trip, start thinking about things you use every day out of necessity. Not a want, but a necessity. You can probably narrow that list down to a few things. We're here to give you some excellent ideas that will make your trip more comfortable, adventurous and practical without dragging around items that you might only use once.
But first!Here are a few of my favorite products that I won't leave home without. Maybe they will become yours too...
Universal Soap. Liquid form is the best. All those soaps and washes we might use at home? Cram those all into one practical, economical,safe, efficient soap. Find a small, sealed container to bring it in, and it will not let you down - for this soap will clean ANYTHING. Hair, skin, clothes, bags, cats, you name it. Dr. Bronners is an excellent example of a multi-purpose soap. Even more importantly -it's safe for the environment.
Cotton wrap or sarong. Guys, these are not just for ladies. Call it a man cloth if you must. It's an incredibly versatile piece of fabric serving endless purposes. It's a scarf; it's a body wrap. It's a sling if you need to bring something home from the market. It's a blanket when you're traveling and cold. It's a barrier between dirty dorm sheets. It covers your eyes when you want to nap. It's a beach throw. It's a shower towel. Need to carry a baby? It does that too. Should I go on?
Hammock. Since I first bought a packable hammock over 8 years ago, I couldn't believe the possibilities, fun and comfort I suddenly had at my fingertips. A travel hammock can provide a comfortable place to rest - ANYTIME! If the environment is safe and suitable, it is a wondrous place to sleep for the night and will save you the cost of accommodation. If you are staying with a friend or in a home, a hammock keeps you out of the way and takes up minimal space. Camping with a hammock saves tent and pad space in your backpack and makes a huge difference in the weight you carry. It's also a lot of fun to use when hiking or on day trips, making sure you get off your feet and get the downtime you need to keep your energy high when cramming in the sights and lifestyle of traveling. Get a double for intimate moments.
On to the list!
Your packing will of course vary depending on what kind of traveling you do, but here are some bare minimum essentials that will keep you comfortable and happy while traveling as light as possible.
Daybag or sling bag
Cotton wrap (multi-functional as a blanket, pillow, scarf or towel)
Reusable water bottle
*optional: Sleep sack, if you need bedding
Liquid soap (All-purpose)
Sunscreen & bug repellent, location dependent. (These can be expensive abroad!)
Toothbrush & paste
Medical Kit with basics:
Chargers for everything electronic
Small luggage lock
Headlamp or mini flashlight
Swiss Army knife or multi-functional tool
Parachute hammock + straps
*Clothing is very much a personal choice, so pack what's appropriate for your climate.
One warm minimal coat or jacket (even for the tropics, planes and trains can pump freezing air).
Socks and underwear, not too many. You can hand-wash these
Minimal sandals or slip-ons
Protective walking shoes
Keep it light, keep it simple, but don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Written by Julia Akins