15 years for Minimalist traveling
Learnings from 15 years of minimalist traveling.
I've been taking planes, trains, buses, and sailboats to 50+ countries.
Minimalist traveling fascinates me, especially as I fly less and take more trains.
Here's my current setup, based on what I learned over the last 15 years:
I've used Minaal gear since 2015. My travel backpack is the Carry-on bag 1.0 (here's the 3.0 or 2.0 refurbished), and my daily backpack is the Daily bag 1.0 (here's the 3.0 or 2.0 refurbished)
I took those through the jungle, the desert, and NYC. I 100% would recommend those. Tortuga also makes great backpacks.
When I'm home, my Carry-On is the perfect size to stock up at the farmer's market. Both bags are hosed down and scrubbed at least twice a year for basic hygiene.
When traveling, I don't love carrying my large-ish Carry-On backpack (35L) across town, all day long.
This foldable 10L backpack is an excellent complement for running errands! Fits a MacBook, if you dare to use a non-padded bag.
This bag costs 3€, one of my most useful purchases. Else, consider upgrading to this foldable 20L or 25L water-proof & padded bag.
Marie Kondo was right, packing is important.
Minaal sells packing cubes for your clothes. I found that 4L Lightweight Dry Sacks works best for me. Dry sacks weigh 42 grams a piece and help isolate items that may be dirty/wet/smelly.
Need to attach things outside of your backpack? I bring a couple of Voile Straps with me. Lightweight and extremely versatile, they are essentials for bike packing and helpful to backpackers. If this feels like overkill, consider traveling with spare Ziplocks, they fix most things.
I once used straps to carry a flat-screen TV across town with my Minaal bag.
Another essential. It weighs 43 grams and has a neat clip buckle to hang your bag anywhere. I'm getting another one to store my electronics (spare cables...).
I use solid toothpaste and selected essentials (instant coffee, sunscreen, headache tablets, anti-noise foam earplugs, and plasters...). In some situations, spare toilet-paper can be your most prized possession.
I also enjoy this tiny towel, a nice add-on for trips where I might swim.
I wear Merino wool year-round, it's thermo-regulating, odor-resistant, and quick-drying. I shop at Seagale, their gear fits my body type. This t-shirt is the best I've ever owned.
In warm weather, I pack no more than 2 extra sets of clothing (undies/socks/t-shirt, all merino wool) in a dry bag. I do laundry every third or fourth day. This 3-min video teaches you how to do overnight laundry.
Their versatile pair of shoes suit me for nearly all purposes. I also never leave the house without sunglasses. I usually travel with a pair of casual shorts that can I can swim with. One pair of pants and one sweatshirt is usually enough.
My bags have waterproof, built-in covers, and I wear a baseball cap whilst traveling. I also pack this foldable (of course) rain jacket. It weighs 140g (size L) and packs down to the size of a can of coke.
In rainy countries, I bring this foldable pair of trekking pants, which weighs 197g (size L).
I abandoned my beloved Bose QC35 in favor of Airpod Pro, the weight/space gain is unbeatable. I pack wired earbuds as a spare. I'm using a MacBook Pro and a Google Pixel. My cell plan gives me unlimited data and 25G/month in most countries.
I always take a notebook (Moleskine) and rollerball pens, along with my Kindle.
If I'm traveling and working for over a month, I'll bring my Roost laptop stand and Apple keyboard/trackpad. Battery banks are a maybe, depending on how I travel. Would definitely bring one for day-long train rides.
Fighting Travelling hangryness
Traveling is tiring, especially when I fail to eat well or drink enough water. That makes me hangry (hunger+angry).
For food, I plan ahead to avoid eating airport/airplane/train food. I pack a meal and snacks before leaving (dried fruits mixed with nuts). Freezer Ziploc bags let you carry food in reusable packaging.
For drinks, I avoid alcohol on travel days and forego caffeine after 11 am. I struggle to drink enough water (the recommendation is 3L/day for men).
Currently traveling with an 800mL cycling bottle. I'll soon upgrade to a BPA-free equivalent. Triple checking that my bottle cap isn't leaking saved my electronics more than once.
I use a neo-bank (Revolut) to pay for travel expenses. It helps me withdraw local cash (cash-only shops are plentiful) and avoid credit card fraud. I keep my regular credit card for emergencies, along with 100-200€ cash at all times.
Also, what happens if you have a medical emergency in the middle of the street?
I keep a business card in my bag to help a hypothetical good samaritan ID me and find my next of kin. I'm planning to get a Multi-function sports ID for next year's adventures.
My contact details are also found on my laptop and phone lock screens and on my notebook's coverage.
My last tip is a safety tip, I keep my bag near me at all times. I don't believe placing locks on zipper matters much. Bags can be decent pillows if you're tired enough.
I clip my backpack's chest strap to a chair or table to ensure it can't be easily snatched. It saved my bag once.
That's it! In summary, I question everything that travels with me...
I ask questions such as: Is it essential? Is it necessary? Can it have multiple purposes? Is it light?
Curious to hear your tips, hit me up on Twitter...