Extreme Minimalist: Traveling With Only A Messenger Bag

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Sarah of Teenage Minimalist

Traveling super light sounds ridiculous to most people. Why less and not more? What’s the point? I love answering this question. There are so many benefits to ultralight packing. First of all, you’ll have fewer aching muscles from lugging everything around. There’s also less time spent packing/unpacking. No more digging through your bag trying to find things. More freedom. Think about how awesome it would be to arrive in a new place and not have to worry about multiple suitcases. You can do whatever you want, because you have so little to carry around. You’ll also be less of a target for would-be pick-pocketers.

Those aren’t the only benefits, but definitely some of the best. Here are some of my favorite minimalist traveling tips.

1. clothes. Two of everything. Wear one outfit and pack the other. Same with socks and underwear. Bring one versatile pair of shoes that can be worn anywhere (if you take flip-flops you can leave your socks at home). If you wear jewelry, take one set that goes with both outfits.

2. laundry. Ultralight packing makes laundry a necessity. You won’t always have a machine, so it’s important to be able to do it yourself. There’s always the sink, but my favorite method is the aloksak. An aloksak is basically a durable, completely waterproof, zip-loc bag. I only discovered these a few months ago, but they have been amazing. Google “aloksak laundry” to buy one or read more.

3. cosmetics. One of everything. Try simplifying your beauty routine before the trip. Find out which items are really necessary. Do you really need that eyelash curler to survive? What about your bottle of shaving cream (soap works just as well)? How about that all that makeup? Your big container of hairspray? Nail polish? Go through your products and figure out what you’re able to do without. Guys definitely have the advantage here!

4. electronics. Technology can be incredibly useful, but sometimes it’s best to leave it behind. It’s so much easier to live in the moment if you eliminate distractions. I do like to travel with my mp3 player(which doubles as a phone), because I love listening to music on the way. Experiment and do what works best for you. 🙂

My packing list, to give you an idea of what it looks like.

1 t-shirt
1 skirt
2 pairs of underwear
1 pair of socks
contact solution
mp3 player
1 pair of pajama pants
wearing: clothes + silver earrings

If you’re new to ultralight packing, I encourage you to give it a try. Afraid of being without stuff you may need? Go on a practice run. Live out of your bag for a week and see how well you do. Have you ever tried traveling light? What are some of your favorite tips?

  1. July 3, 2012
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