Hello 😊 If you like to travel and take care of the planet, you certainly already heard of minimalist travels. If this is not the case, don’t panic, a little explanation is coming!
First of all, what is minimalism? There are a lot of definitions for this somewhat vague concept. In my opinion, minimalism aims to simplify life while making a commitment to the environment. It is not only a question of reducing one’s possessions, of consuming less but also of focusing on the essential. We can limit ourselves to sorting through our material goods, it is already a huge step, but why not extend minimalism to all aspects of life? Decluttering closets, but also your schedule, your relationships, the things that matter to you. You will have understood it, for me minimalism equals sobriety. It is about making conscious choices to move towards an even happier life, closer to what is essential for us.
Now that you have my vision of minimalism, I will share with you 10 tips to help you apply it to your travels!
1 | Avoid hotels, stay with the local residents
This first tip is very simple and you may already apply it when you travel. If so, you can congratulate yourself 😊 Not sleeping in a hotel and preferring to sleep at locals helps to keep the local economy alive rather than enriching already successful businesses. You also avoid the polluting services offered by hotels, such as samples of body care products, room cleaning, laundry service, etc.
As a bonus, this habit allows you to meet people and discover more deeply the culture of the country where you are staying!
2 | Pack your suitcase by following a checklist
If you are a list-addict like me, you have probably already done a checklist of things to remember in your luggage. Otherwise, I strongly advise you to get started for your next trip! By taking a few minutes to write down what you really need during your trip, you make sure not only that you won’t forget anything but also that you won’t take anything unnecessary with you. Your suitcase and your back will thank you!
Would you like a minimalist travels packing checklist printable? If so, let me know in the comment section below 🔽 😊
3 | Carry reusable packaging
Whether it’s for shopping in bulk, isolating your swimsuit from the rest of your belongings or taking leftovers from a restaurant, reusable bags and boxes will serve you at some point during your minimalist travels! I’m not telling you to take all your zero-waste gear with you, it would be slightly contradictory 😅 but slipping two or three cloth bags and possibly an empty lunch box in your suitcase requires very little space and can really make a difference by avoiding generating avoidable waste. It can also be very useful to bring snacks to transport!
4 | Bring laundry powder to wash your clothes
Taking laundry powder with you can be a good idea if you are staying a little longer, so you don’t have to load your suitcase with too many clothes. It’s also convenient if you have a capsule wardrobe. Of course, you can get a product on the spot, but bringing your own guarantees that it matches you, which is not necessarily easy to check abroad. If you have access to a washing machine or laundry room, don’t hesitate to apply this tip, it frees up a lot of space in a suitcase.
5 | Carry “Swiss Army knife” items
A sports legging can become a pajama. A windproof jacket can also be used as a canvas to sit dry. Your address book can also be used as a notebook. A pot of coconut oil will be as useful in the kitchen as in the bathroom… You will have understood it, many items can have more than one use! Multiply these magical elements and your suitcase will suddenly become much lighter 😊
6 | Do not buy souvenirs
Maybe you were waiting for this trick! Indeed, trinkets sold in souvenir shops are rarely useful. However, it may be tempting to buy a cute key ring or an “I love (insert place)” mug to spoil a loved one. First of all, know that strictly everyone has too many mugs, no need to add more! If this argument is not enough for you and you want to make gifts when you return, think of buying creations of local craftsmen. But remember, nothing beats beautiful photos and nice stories to share!
7 | Avoid the classic postcard
The postcard is already neglected by many tourists, but personally, I really liked this tradition. Choosing the prettiest card, thinking about the message I was going to write, remembering the address of each relative to whom I was going to send a note… It was a ritual that I loved until I realized the waste it represented. Not only with the manufacture of each card, but also with its delivery. How many miles would this little piece of cardboard go, just to tell my loved ones that I was thinking of them? To compensate for the lack left by the quitting of this practice, I turned to a digital version of the postcard. It is generally much more appreciated than its outdated competitor! Besides, it’s free and much more ecological 😊
8 | Forget your phone and do a digital detox
I don’t advise you to get rid of your smartphone during all your holidays – it could be risky! But rather to leave it in plane mode when you don’t need it and to avoid taking it out at the slightest dead time as we do so often. Minimalist travels can be an opportunity to break away from this habit and cut yourself off from social networks to get back to basics, to rediscover and enjoy silence. You’ll soon realize that this little break is doing you a lot of good!
9 | Plan at least half a day off
I discovered the term unbusy very recently, and it troubled me. This concept speaks to me a lot because I have suffered from “having to” overbook myself to look serious and interesting. For me, the days spent running around, with three appointments in the morning, calls to answer, endless errands, look like torture… Minimalism has taught me to identify what brings me stress and to say no to this kind of occupation. And this can also be applied during a vacation!
We tend to over-fill our schedule to do everything, to see everything in the short time we spend there. It’s almost oppressive.
For a restful stay, adding at least half a day off, where you will have nothing on the agenda, is really effective. This is also what minimalism is about, knowing how to leave room for chance, not planning everything… Just breathe!
10 | Don’t take the plane
This tip could have been number one because it has the biggest impact on both the environment and the way you travel. But I figured it’s really not easy for everyone, depending on the budget, the time available and the chosen destination. I still wanted to mention this brave initiative because it is a great way to take care of the environment and to return to a less whirlwind, calmer life.
There are many ways to avoid the plane when traveling: prefer the train, take a boat trip, go less far or stay longer…
And that was already the last trick for minimalist travels! I hope you enjoyed this article and that it will inspire you to travel responsibly and respectfully, both for the environment and for your own well-being 😊
If you have your own habits for responsible tourism, share them in the comments section!
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