Three Principles for Minimalist Travel

| Words & Images by Bryson Smith

If you've ever found yourself dragging heavy luggage through an airport, rushing to make your next connection, only to have one of your overstuffed bags explode in the terminal, then you might be over packing a bit. These three principles of minimalist travel will help you do more on your trip all while bringing a whole lot less.

1) No Checked Bags
This the 1st and most crucial principle of minimalist travel. By limiting the number of bags you bring on your trip, you will automatically be forced to pack smart and light to fit your essentials. Not only does not checking a bag limit the amount of stuff you can lug around, but it also saves you valuable time. When I'm traveling, I want to maximize the amount of time I have to explore and enjoy my destination. A checked bag equals more time spent at the airport and less time spent actually traveling. If you aren't carrying tons of stuff around on your trip, it's much easier to move quickly and be flexible with your plans. If you brought everything and the kitchen sink, it's much harder to catch that crowded bus in Peru or hop on a motorcycle in Vietnam.
There are of course exceptions: if you are going on a surf trip you will need to check a surfboard. However, as a general rule of thumb, if you only have one bag and a small backpack, a whole world of possibilities remains open.

Some of the Essentials

2) Multi Use Items
One of the best ways to fit everything you need in your bag is to bring items that serve multiple purposes; like sunglasses with a bottle opener built into them. It is a simple guideline that, just like the no checked bags principle, this will pay you back a thousand times over when you follow it.

3) Focus On The Trip Not Your Luggage
This last tip will fall into place naturally as long as you adhere to 1 & 2. When you bring less stuff, you strip away all the things that can accompany every-day life. If you don't have extra bags to fill with curios, you will spend time getting to know the place you are visiting, rather than the things that place sells to tourists.

Now that we've laid out some key principles for minimalist travel, I'm going to share some gear that I have found useful for keeping my kit lightweight for weeks on the road. I've also tried to select items that are made sustainably whenever possible. In addition to using sustainably made items, I also use offset programs to help reduce the high carbon cost of traveling by plane. For more information on offsetting your trips, check out CarbonFund.Org.

Gear Guidelines

The Black Hole Duffel Swallows Gear

1.Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag
This bag is the perfect size for minimalist travel. It's small enough to stow under your seat on a plane or fit in a crowded overhead bin, yet big enough to store everything you need for a long trip. The bag has both shoulder straps, allowing you to use it as a backpack and grab handles for duffle use. Plus, it stuffs into its own pocket for easy stowing when not in use.

2.Patagonia Lightweight Travel Mini Hip Pack 1L
This is a great micro pack that is super compact and stuffs into its own pocket for easy storability. I use it to keep my phone, cash, and whatever other small essentials I need close at hand while traveling.

3.Ex Officio Give & Go Boxer Brief
These boxers are great for travel, they are incredibly comfortable, odor-resistant, and compressible. On top of that, they are easy to wash in the shower. So you only need to bring a few pairs, even if you are traveling for weeks. Just be sure to be diligent when it comes to washing them so that your travel companions will still want to travel with you.

4.United by Blue Crest Trail Case
I use this to keep all my personal items & toiletries organized while on the road. It keeps me from digging around in my bag and pulling everything out just to get at my toothbrush. As an added bonus, United by Blue also removes a pound of trash from global oceans and waterways for every product sold!

5.Nomad Power Pack & Universal Cable
When I travel in a foreign country, my iPhone transforms from mere convenience to a Swiss-Army Knife like tool. A smartphone in your pocket gives you the power to navigate unfamiliar streets, communicate with anyone no matter what language they speak and of course take photos of the many places you visit. Consequently, my Nomad Power Pack and Universal Cable are essential for travel. My Universal Cable allows me to charge my GoPro, iPhone, and DSLR: the ultimate multi-use item. While on the road, I recharge my Power Pack using my 3m USB C Cable, which I also use to charge my MacBook Pro. This helps eliminate the need to carry extra cables. My Rugged Folio provides great projection for my iPhone XS and turns my phone case into a wallet, providing me with another multi-use item.

Packing Everything Up!

A minimalist approach to travel will pay you back ten times over with the freedom it brings you while on the road. Let us know where your travels take you and what essential gear you brought along by shooting a line to

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