Minimalist Travel

Fred Perrotta

Leo Babauta’s blogs Zen Habits and mnmlist are some of the best on the internet. Two of his most frequent topics are mindfulness and minimalism. Each can have a powerful positive effect on one’s daily life, especially while traveling.

In a mission statement-esque post on mnmlist, Babauta outlines why less stuff is better. Below are his arguments and how they apply to our travels.

Less means you spend less.

Bringing more stuff on your trip can actually add to the cost.


First, bringing too many bags or too large of a bag will cost $50 per flight in baggage fees. Don’t forget the peripheral costs of ownership.

The more stuff you bring, the more likely you’ll have to spend money replacing or repairing it if it gets lost or broken. Stuff has a way of never shrinking, only growing.

Instead of spending your money on transporting and replacing things, spend it on experiences.

Numerous studies have shown that experiences deliver far more happiness than possessions.

Less means you worry less

Less stuff means less time and energy spent searching for lost or misplaced items. This is just another way we’re often held back or distracted by inconsequential things.

On that note, please remember to bring your passport.

Less means you’re lighter

The lighter your load, the less of a physical toll it will take.

Lugging around a full 80 liter backpack is strenuous. If overloaded or poorly packed, a backpack can cause neck, shoulder, or back pain.

Pack a reasonable amount of supplies in a carry-on-sized bag and skip the visit to the chiropractor.

Less means you can travel more quickly

Compare two travelers: one has everything in a medium-sized backpack, and the other has an 80 liter backpack, a daypack, and a pile of accessories. Which person is ready to embark on a new adventure at a moment’s notice?

Traveling lighter makes traveling easier.

Pack modestly so that you can do what you set out to do: see the world, not carry it on your back.

Less is more sustainable

If you’ve traveled much at all, you’ve seen the harsh toll that consumerism and waste can take on the environment.

One suitcase may not make much of a difference, but being mindful of how buying habits affect the environment can cause lasting change.

Minimalism in travel doesn’t just mean that you can buy a smaller bag. Packing less can affect everything from your overall experience to your wallet, health, and the environment.

Sometimes cliches are true. When traveling, less is more.


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