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    The Art of Minimalist Travel

    Whether you’re heading abroad for a new adventure or flying domestically to see friends and family, there’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and finding out your bags have been delayed, or lost. This is just one reason why travelling light has become the new standard for easier transit between places, and has encouraged us to become smarter with how we pack.

    In this article, we’re sharing our tips on the art of minimalist travel, the benefits of travelling with less luggage and how to pack light for your next trip, whether it’s an international destination or somewhere close by.

    The Pros of Minimalist Travel


    Minimalist travel is not a new concept, but previously was usually only undertaken by the most avid travellers, or those looking to backpack halfway across the globe. Now in 2023, thanks to the surge of travelling hacks and, smart accessories like packing cubes and the like, travelling light has never been easier - and there are a range of benefits to it.


    1. It reduces Reduces stress: Packing for any trip can be a stressful experience, especially when you’re going away for a long time or switching airlines. A small carry-on can reduce time spent checking in luggage at the airport and picking it up at the other end.

    2. Lost baggage is no longer an issue: By bringing a simplistic carry-on, you eliminate the risk of having your baggage lost by your airline, meaning no more waiting in customer service lines at the international airport.

    3. It's great for domestic and international travel: Minimalist travel isn’t just for short, long-weekend trips, but is a great way to travel internationally. It forces you to bring only essentials, and save space for the all-important memorabilia and specialty items picked up along the way.

    4. Transit times are minimised: From swapping airlines in a foreign country to hopping from place to place, the transit process will be a whole lot smoother and less intensive if you’re carrying a smaller amount of items, instead of a large suitcase or checked baggage.

    The Cons Minimalist Travel


    While there area huge range of benefits to minimalist travel, there can be some setbacks to consider before you take on the nomad, backpacker lifestyle.


    1. Planning is key: Planning what to pack is a crucial part of minimalist travel. You need to be strategic in what you bring, as you’re working with a limited amount of space and weight. Start by creating a list of all the items you want to bring, then reduce it to only the essential items. Last-minute packers or travellers, beware.

    2. Not optimal for the fashion-conscious: Packing light means being strategic in what clothing you bring, which can be a very restrictive process. Only bringing a small bag or carry-on will limit the amount of clothing you can pack, so you’ll need to pick lightweight items that can be worn several times and limit bulky fashion accessories, especially footwear or headwear.

    3. Long vs short trips: Although completely doable, longer trips (for more than two weeks) can be harder to pack light for, as you will generally need more clothing and toiletries. However, if you’re planning on staying in accommodation with laundry facilities or can pick up refills of the basics en route, packing lighter becomes much easier.


    How to Pack Light


    1. Start With a Versatile Travel Bag

    A versatile travel bag is a must for minimalistic travel. Whether you go for a backpack, a duffle bag, a carry-on suitcase or a combo of all three, the style you pick should give you the flexibility to be spontaneous while abroad, and free up your hands and budget for other activities. Bags with pockets and compartments will make it easier to separate important items, while some hard carry-on suitcases come with additional sleeves that can separate your shoes and delicate items for better organisation.


    2. Use a Packing List

    A packing list is a great way to stay organised when packing for a getaway, especially an overseas trip or a long holiday. Itemising your essentials from top to low priority will help you identify which items are a must-have and which can remain at home. Listing off your essentials can also be a great way to justify their use; consider how many times you will actually wear or use an item, and if it will make your travelling adventure better or worse in the long run.


    3. Mix and Match Clothing Items

    Packing clothing that can be mixed and matched is essential to getting the most out of minimalist travel. Stick to comfortable basics that can be worn repeatedly without needing a wash, and pieces that can be styled up or down if you decide to try a fancy restaurant or want to enhance your look for an evening out. Also pick clothing in neutral colours that more easily disguise any dirts or marks.


    4. Be Selective With Your Shoe Options

    Shoes may be one of the bulkiest items to bring in a carry-on, so it’s best to choose styles most suitable for the type of travelling you intend on doing. For explorer or outdoor adventure trips, sneakers and hiking boots are a must, while more chic styles, like sandals, slides and heels, are best suited to more relaxed trips. For hygiene purposes, always bring a pair of old sandals, especially if you’re planning to stay in shared accommodation.


    5. Always Weigh Your Bag Before Getting to the Airport

    Some airlines will insist on a carry-on bag weight limit and will make you pay for your bag if it goes over the designated number. Before arriving at the airport, and especially if you’re taking internal flights in another country, ensure that you’ve weighed your bag (either with digital or travel scales) before getting to the airport. This will save you time and potentially money that could be better spent elsewhere.


    6. Wear Your Heaviest and Bulkiest Items When Travelling

    If you need to bring bulkier items on your trip – like hiking boots, a puffer jacket or essential accessories -, try and wear them on the plane to avoid paying for extra weight. Although you may need to remove some of your layers once you sit down on the plane, this way you’re avoiding any potential fees for an overweight bag. You can use any extra layers as a pillow or a blanket while mid-air.


    7. Invest in Quality Tech Gear

    If you’re planning on travelling to the cold on a budget, whether to ski or visit to a place during the winter, investing in quality tech gear, like Merino wool tops, waterproof jackets or a windbreaker, is a must. Stick with clothing that helps to insulate your body for prolonged warmth over clothing that might look nice, but will ultimately leave you freezing and require you to buy new things at your destination.


    8. Don’t Pack ‘Just in Case’ Clothing

    When it comes to minimalist travel, everything you bring should have a dedicated purpose. There’s no room in your carry-on luggage for ‘just in case’ clothing. Realistically, you probably won’t wear that fancy top or need that extra pair of jeans, and should save space for other essential clothing or toiletries. If you find you desperately need something you labelled ‘just in case’ clothing ’ when you get to your destination, the odds are you can find a similar item there.


    9. Use Packing Cubes to Save Space

    Packing cubes are a great way to save space when packing minimally. If you’re limited by space, especially if you’re taking a backpack or small duffle bag, packing cubes will help you condense your items, giving you the freedom to bring more. Rolling your clothing and storing it in packing cubes also keeps it wrinkle-free, and gives you the organisation you need when living out of a backpack or carry-on case.


    10. Keep Toiletries in Travel-Size Bottles

    Full-size toiletries take up a lot of room, so when travelling with limited space, it’s best to bring your toiletries in travel-size bottles. Many airlines require liquids to be under 100ml and in clear containers, especially for international flights. This will reduce the space required for toiletries, but; if you run out of a certain product, you’ll likely be able to purchase a similar item in transit or when you arrive..

    Our Favourite Minimalist Travel Bags


    While any small bag could be considered a minimalist travel bag, there is a range of bag styles specifically designed to make lightweight travelling a breeze.


    1. Travel Backpack

    The backpack is a noteworthy option for lightweight travel abroad. With large open sections and compartments that house all your essentials, travel backpacks make it super easy to get from one place to the next. The hands-free design also ensures that if you need to carry another bag while on your adventure, you don’t feel restrained by multiple handheld items.

    Find travel bags by High Sierra, Flylite and Samsonite that offer heaps of compartments and space for travellers looking for the most optimal lightweight option.


    2. Carry-on Suitcase

    If you prefer the look and feel of a traditional suitcase, a carry-on suitcase is a great option and provides a similar structure for storing and compartmentalising your essentials. Whether you prefer a hard or soft carry-on suitcase, this option offers more room than a backpack, allowing you to be a little more carefree with what you pack. Shop carry-on cases from Nere, Antler and American Tourister that offer slim, dynamic carry-on solutions for every destination.


    3. Duffle Bag

    A duffle bag or weekender bag is a good in-between option for travellers who don’t mind carrying a bag over the shoulder, and who maybe need a bit more room for their gear. These kinds of bags usually have internal pockets that can house important documents, and if you’re staying in a hostel or accommodation with limited space, they an be easily stored without much hassle. Duffle bags from Nere, Guess and Antler are the best carry-all solution for minimalist travel.




    There is an art to minimalist travelling, but once you have the packing techniques down and can make the most of a small amount of space, you’ll feel confident travelling the world with less. Discover a wide collection of backpacks, carry-on suitcases and duffle bags online from Strand to streamline your next adventure now.