I guess by now you know how I like to simplify things. Travel is no exemption.
When I travel, I try to not bring too many things. I only want to focus my energy on the travel experience rather than stuff.
Packing travel essentials vary depending on where you are going. While most people bring DSLR cameras with 3 lenses and extra battery, I am okay with taking photos using my phone, a 2-year old Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. I also always bring a jacket because I am sensitive to cold; thickness depends on the season but I usually bring a lightweight Uniqlo AIRism hoodie that I can fit easily in my carry-on.
These are the things that I consider essential when traveling:
- Copy of passport and visa
- Money (cash and debit/credit card)
- Travel Insurance (get one here: AIG website)
- Phone and charger
- Comfortable shoes
- Medical kit (especially Tums)
- Toiletries and cosmetics
- Comfortable clothes
- Universal travel adaptor
- Others: water, snacks
I prefer to bring my favourite toiletries like perfume, face wash, toothbrush and deodorant. Other than that, I rely on free toiletries like shampoo, soap or body wash, toothpaste, lotion at the hotel or AirBnb that I am staying at. If they don’t give away free stuff, I just go to a convenience store to buy them in small packages, so I don’t have to feel bad about leaving behind what’s left.
I barely wear makeup so I just bring a mirror, powder, and lipstick. I bring sunglasses and sunblock during the summer. Wet wipes and hand sanitizers are extremely important when you are a bacteriophobe like me.
As for my clothes, I used to love having options – day/night, casual/fancy dinner, sporty/feminine – you get the picture, and extra pieces for “just in case”. For this trip in Georgia I brought 5 shirts, 2 jackets, 1 poncho and 4 trousers. I knew we will be walking so I brought extra sturdy Adidas trainers in black and white. Both pairs go with everything so it was a no-brainer. It was so much easier to pack when I knew how much I would be needing for 4 days.
I always think that in traveling, less mind-clutter is more. This is my second trip to Georgia so there was no pre-planned touristy itinerary. Everything was random. All I wanted was to switch off my mind from work and relax my soul. I did not want to exert energy on hitting multiple destinations and activities. I picked a few things I really wanted to do, like the National Gallery.
I planned to walk around randomly, or sit in a café and sip wine while I watch people, than be exhausted. I like to call this the art of doing absolutely nothing.
Travel is my way of getting away from stress. When traveling, I try to stay away from social media. I disconnect myself from the usual mindless scrolling. One thing I dislike doing when on a holiday is checking my email, although sometimes I cannot help it, as that keeps me from living in the moment.
I also think it is important to know the reason why you are traveling. Traveling can be costly so I make sure I am happy to do it. Every travel I make is a conscious decision; planning and budgeting follows.
Earlier this year in April, I went to the States to visit my sister on her birthday and in June, I went to spend time with my closest friends in Singapore. I visited Thailand as well because I have always wanted to see its unique architecture and have authentic Thai cuisine, which I consider one of my “top 10 most delicious” in the world. This trip to Georgia was booked for the purpose of experiencing cold weather, making memories, being one with nature, and enjoying its wine. Wine is a big part of the Georgian culture so I had as much wine as I wanted. I don’t book trips just for the ‘gram.
One of the benefits of traveling as a minimalist is you become aware of your spending. While it is tempting to book an expensive hotel, I would rather look for a place with a reasonable price – maybe a 3-star property or AirBnb with a comfortable bed in a good location – that is within my budget. I would rather enjoy a traditional meal at a cafeteria rather than spend on a fancy meal unless I set aside a certain amount for something I really want to experience. I don’t want to swipe my credit card for something I cannot afford and worry about payments later on. If you are conscious with how much you have in your travel budget – and stick to that – the trip becomes more enjoyable.
As a minimalist I try to avoid shopping, even for souvenir items (except for a few fridge magnets and postcards – they make me happy) so I stay away from malls and souvenir stores. I don’t need a lot of things. I am contented with the incredible memories and a few photos. This gives an opportunity to pursue the things we find true value in, like new experiences and quality time with loved ones.
Minimalism, when done right, should not make you feel deprived in any way. Traveling like a minimalist made me feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. I know this has done good for my soul.
On your next trip, do yourself a favour and stop over-packing and over-planning!