Minimalist Travel Tips and Packing Guide

Minimalist Travel Tips and Packing Guide by stolen maps

Now, do you know what’s more fun than being a minimalist? It’s traveling the world as a minimalist. You get to enjoy your trips without worrying about your luggage too much. You save your time, energy and a lot of money. It’s way less stressful in comparison. And that’s my inspiration behind writing this post. I’ll share my best minimalist travel tips, along with the list of minimalist travel packing essentials with you.

But before diving into that, I have some tips for my readers who are new to this minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism for Beginners

If you’re new to the world of minimalism, welcome! You’re gonna love it. There are some minimalism tips that every beginner should follow. I’ll list a few of them here:

Minimalism is not about changing your entire lifestyle into something different. It’s about gradually cutting off things that don’t add value to your life. It could be random stuff you own, your bad habits, your behavior, or even the people you know.

Minimalism lets you choose what you want in life. You gain discipline and control in your life. And you know what that discipline and control ultimately give you? It gives you freedom.

The freedom to choose, the freedom of saying “NO”! It’s a luxury that only a handful of people can afford with their zombie-lifestyle. And if you ask me, I’d say it’s worth it.

minimalistic furniture in a room minimalism for beginners

Find your reason

The first thing a minimalism beginner should do is figure out their “why”. This will inspire you when things get hard. It will keep you in check.

Is it to live your life less stressfully? Or to save some money? Or just to try new things? Identify your reason, and stick with it. Once you have a clear reason, next steps would become much easier for you.

Get rid of your old habits

Our habits drive more than half the things we do in our life. When we do some things over and over again without putting much thought into it, our habits are in play. It’s not like we make an explicit decision every single time. And I’m sure you know how that turns out in the long run.

I know I said that we should get rid of our old habits. But it’s not that simple, is it?

You can’t just cut-off a part of your lifestyle like that. You should first identify what things would no longer work for you. Because if it’s not in the realm of your knowledge, there isn’t much you can do about it.

Then we replace them. One at a time. Don’t go overboard trying to change everything in your life at once. You’ll run out of will-power and burnout pretty quickly. Sustainable changes take time. So trust the process and have patience.

Learn mindfulness

Mindfulness is nothing but being aware of your actions and your thoughts. This will help you break the cycle of your old habits, and consciously switch to new ones. Keep in mind that it take a long time to develop minimalist lifestyle.

Now, how do you become more mindful? The answer is simple, you take a pause! Yes, that’s all you need, a moment alone with your thoughts.

You can rethink your choices. Ask yourself if it’s something you really need or something you just kind of want. Like taking 30 seconds to think before buying something is a good start.

Declutter regularly

Beginners in minimalism often make a common mistake. Instead of making small constant changes, they try to change everything at once. So a few days later, find themselves in the exact same spot again. Their bad habits don’t change. They stress about unnecessary stuff again. In short, their life is a mess again.

So what should you do here? Whether you practice physical, mental or digital minimalism, regular decluttering is the answer. To understand decluttering and other aspects of minimalism, you can checkout these courses on digital decluttering and home decluttering.

Minimalism can be stressful in the beginning. But once you get used to it, you’ll appreciate your decisions, especially as a traveler. With that being said, here’s my list of minimalist travel essentials and minimalist travel tips to get you started like a pro.

Minimalist Travel Packing Essentials

minimalist travel packing outfit and essentials

Personal Care & Hygiene

  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, tampons, etc.
  • Body wash and deodorant
  • Hand-towel and napkins
  • Sunscreen, moisturizer, etc.


  • Chargers, earphones, connectors, etc.
  • Camera gear and batteries

Clothing/Outfits for minimalist travel

  • 1 hat/cap
  • 2 t-shirt (1 long-sleeve and 1 short-sleeve)
  • Convertible or multi-layer jacket for cooler weather
  • 1 trouser
  • 1 shorts
  • Shoes (prefer sneakers) and slippers
  • 1 belt
  • 2 pair of socks (along with liners if plan on walking a lot)

My Recommendations

If you’re planning a trekking trip, check out  Trekking Tips & Guide for Absolute Beginners, or if you plan on hitchhiking, then these tips are for you.

Minimalist Travel Tips

1. Get a smaller bag

Most people take all the basic stuff that they want to carry, and then choose their bags accordingly. This approach does make sense, but often leads to a few problems. For instance, if we choose a bag bigger than the space needed, we would end up filling it up with unnecessary things just because we’ve got some room. And in case we get a bag smaller bag than what we actually need, then we get another bag and repeat the same mistake.

So you should choose the bag first. Preferably a smaller one. And then pick the items you actually need. Since now you have limited your space, you’ll make better decisions about your luggage. Also if the bag turns out to be too small, either use handbags/waist-bags for extra stuff, or read the points below to reduce your luggage.

2. Get a backpack with several compartments

You should buy a small hiking or trekking backpack. They often come with several compartments separately for shoes, camera gear, etc.

Make sure the backpack has some outer-pockets to keep regularly-used stuff. Also look for hidden-pockets for keeping your IDs safe. This keeps for luggage well organized.

3. Pack reusable and multipurpose items

As a minimalist, you should consider buying reusable variants of disposable items. They are eco-friendly and save some money. Everybody who’s into minimalist travel should consider such alternatives.

Some of the items I can think of right now are reusable straws, bottles, containers, carry-bags, etc. You could also buy rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones. Of course they are a bit expensive, but you’d cut down on toxic waste, and save a lot of money in the long run.

woman holding reusable straw with brush in one hand and a thermos in another

4. Plan your outfits smartly

Clothes take up the biggest portion of your luggage. You can significantly cut down on your luggage by planning your outfits correctly. Pack shirts, shorts or trousers that you can mix-and-match for different looks. You won’t have to carry dozens of pairs and would save a lot of space.

Also, you can bring convertible trekking/hiking pants and jackets so you don’t have to carry a number of these things. Take off or put on layers according to your surrounding temperature. You could also buy the waterproof ones.

5. Wear sneakers

They’re an essential part of your minimalist travel packing. Sneakers are comfortable, stylish and multi-purpose. Unless you plan on going hiking or clubbing, a pair of sneakers should meet most of your needs. Along with them, pack a pair of slippers or crocs as more comfortable alternatives.

If you plan on walking a lot, you should consider using sock liners. They provide you with a layer of fabric that’s soft on your skin and avoid blisters. I recommend them to everyone who regularly goes trekking, hiking or hitchhiking.

6. Do your laundry

Whenever possible, wash your clothes on the trip. This becomes even more important if you plan on having a long trip but carry just a handful of clothes.

Many hotels and hostels provide laundry services to their guests. In case yours doesn’t, don’t worry. All of the popular destinations and tourists places have some form of laundry services for travelers staying there. You could find a laundromat near by, and do your laundry there. Either search online or ask the locals there.

paid laundromat service for doing your laundry on your own

7. Carry travel-sized toiletries

Toiletries are an essential part of your luggage. Carry them with you, even if your hotel or stay would provide some.

Smart things that you can do here is replacing regular-sized packages with travel-sized ones. They’re smaller, lighter and easier to carry. You can also buy regular-sized packages, and refill travel-sized ones when you run out of the product.

8. Cut down on your electronics

This is an important one. We never think our gadgets would take up much space in our luggage. But they do. In fact they take up a significant amount of our already constrained space. And you can’t leave them behind either. So you need to think smartly and creatively here.

You should consider buying wireless variants of the accessories you use. They are compact and wouldn’t tangle with each other into a mess. You could also buy multi-purpose chargers that support multiple devices with different connectors.

Just like a said in tip 3, buy rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones. Also you should invest in a solar charger, so  you can charge all your devices on the go. You won’t have to worry about stockpiling dozens of batteries for your camera, or hurrying back to your stay to charge your phone.

9. Carry eBooks

If you’re into books, this one’s for you. A lot of people (including me) like carrying books along with them to read on trains or flights. But, they take a good amount of space in your backpack as you can’t fold them or shove them in a corner like your clothes. And if you find out that you don’t like the book, then you wasted that space for nothing.

I suggest you take eBooks for your journeys. If you are an avid reader like me, buy a Kindle. They’re amazing! You’d save so much space, and would have thousands of books to pick your read from.

also read: Best Travel Books to Know More about India

10. Don’t worry too much

These minimalist travel tips would definitely be incomplete without this point. It’s simple yet vital. When you’re out on a trip, you’re there to enjoy. If you think your trip needs more stuff, then take more. Don’t be hard on yourself because of your minimalist lifestyle. It is meant to free you, not to bind you.

also read: Ideas to make your Travel Memories Last Forever

Well, there you go! That’s all I had to share. Don’t forget to drop a comment down below if this post helped you in some way or if you’d like me to write about something or maybe just to say hi!

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