When less is more fun – minimalist travel


How you even noticed how long it takes to pack your things before leaving the house for a trip? Have you ever paid for extra weight when you board a flight? More importantly, you ever realised how so many things in your bag were not even touched during your trip? For many people, packing prior to a trip is about having more than less, but it is not always ideal, considering all the weight you have to carry and the logistics of space after shopping. A travel journalist and an effective minimalist for years, Taing Rinith shares his tips on how to travel as light as possible without risking your comfort.
‘Minimalism’ could be described as a lifestyle in which a very small number of very simple things are utilised to fulfil the purpose effectively. The concept is good for the environment (as in saving more natural resources in terms of: less demand and thus, less supply). Back to lighter baggage, a small number of possessions also means fewer things to distract or forget. Let’s say you are about to board the flight home from Singapore when a glance at the clock strikes you … Horrors! You left the Rolex on your hotel room table. To save your sanity, here are some tried and tested tips about being a minimalist traveller.

Buy a smaller bag

Remember you spend more when packing a lot of banknotes in your wallet or handbag? The same psychological effect could also be applied for packing your luggage. If travelling with a big bag, you are likely to fill it up, even with things you don’t really need. To begin with, pick a small bag or suitcase which will encourage prioritising and being creative while loading.

List down what you need

Sounds easy, right? Not until you realise that most of the things you think you ‘need’ are only what you ‘want’. You should write down only what is necessary to meet your physical needs and the purpose of your travel. It is not recommended to list anything that you can find or buy easily on your way, except if you cannot do without a big bag of potato chips in your knapsack from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Multitasking and Substitution are the keys

To reduce weight does not necessarily mean discarding outright. When you face two options or more, select the one that is lighter, smaller or designed for multiple purposes. A smartphone can replace numerous tools and devices: an MP3 player, a camera with a bunch of accessories, a flashlight, a video game console and so on. All you need to do is learn how to use the software.

Picture what you are going to do

Look into your to-do list and plan your activities. If that requires certain tools or equipment, if it’s expensive, maybe it is wiser to rent or borrow it at your destination. If going casually to the beach, a surfboard is out of the question.

You will never know how useful a jacket or a pair of pants with many pockets could be. First of all, you have immediate access to things you really need. Secondly, you can use the pockets to store the freebies you run into on your way, such as guidebook and tissue, simple items to make your journey even more comfortable and fuss-free. Pants and jackets with zipped pockets are recommended. However, never keep valuable things in these pockets.

Do not compromise your fun and comfort

Minimalism can make travel so much easier and relaxing, but at the end of the day, you must not give up things that provide great comfort and fun just to travel light. Carrying a guitar may not feel heavy if you happen to be a wandering musician. But then compromise with less of other things. Enjoy your trip!