When was the last time you went travelling and could lift all your luggage above your head with just one hand? Minimising what you take with you on your next trip can be a huge weight off your shoulders; letting you do more of what you enjoy - from relaxing on the beach to hiking up a mountain.
It's not something one would usually consider but cutting down and critically assessing what you need can quickly streamline your travelling experience.
Lightweight is a relative term but in general, I'm talking around 7 kg or up-to 40 L. Depending on where you are going and what you are doing this can easily be achieved - here is a video of someone travelling in South America with only an ultra-runners bag!
The Benefits of Travelling Light
Just the experience of walking past everyone on your flight, cruising past baggage claim, and straight to the front of the line at security. Makes lightweight travel worth a try. Not to mention the people screaming their head off at customer services because all they're stuff was sent on the wrong flight.
If you've ever seen someone dragging their luggage around a subway or on and off of coaches, then the disadvantages of packing everything and your kitchen sink should be clear. The primary benefit of lightweight travel is, well, it's light!
Also if everything you have taken with you fits on your back, it'll also fit in a locker, under a seat, or on your lap. Thus, it'll be much safer. For example, if you're going out for the day you won't be forced to leave things at your accommodation which can often turn out badly. The freedom of not being anchored to your stuff will allow you to take more opportunities on your trip.
When there is a limited number of things that you are taking it's easy to keep track of everything. When you only have two pairs of underwear you can be damn sure you won't be leaving any behind!
There's a theme here, travelling light is about minimising your possessions in order to maximise your time. Who wants security concerns, frustration and stress when they are abroad? Minimalism isn't about getting rid of things it's about skipping out on the useless 'stuff' in order to enjoy more of what's most important to you.
"Minimise your possessions to maximise your time."
Here's an example: You've been chatting to the hostel staff and they mention a beautiful walk that you hadn't heard of before. You could squeeze it in before your flight but you'll have to return to pick up your stuff. You might be late for the next coach and so decide not to risk it; especially since you don't know what the check-in queue will be like.
Do you see? It might sound silly but having to manage your luggage might be the difference between getting the first bus out of the airport or having to wait 2 hours for the next one.
I think the advantages are clear for people who are "travelling" (backpacking) but what about those who enjoy relaxing all-inclusive at a resort? There's little inconvenience associated with bringing a suitcase; when you get to your room you can basically just forget about it. Here's the thing. Minimalism gives you a perspective on "stuff" that you wouldn't otherwise get, for the first time you are forced to cast a critical eye on the things you own and notice how little it coincides with the things you need. This is a very liberating discovery.
So what has your experience been with minimalism? Did this post give you any ideas? Share in the comments below!