Summer is here for us and we have a few trips planned out. Traveling used to be overwhelming and exhausting for me, but now that we’ve edited down so much of our material possessions, trips are significantly easier.
Vacation for many families means parents are exhausted, children are cranky and everyone is looking forward to going home and getting back to normal.
Embracing a minimalist mindset when you are planning out a trip means you can come home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Which is what vacation is all about!
- 5 days clothes. It means that if we’re visiting friends we do laundry at their house or we use the laundry facilities at a hotel. Even if that isn’t available, I don’t mind stopping at a laundromat. I know that bothers some people, to take an hour out of their trip to do laundry- but not having carry so much luggage around is freeing. I’ll take an hour at the laundromat to hauling around a huge suitcase any day!
- Limited toiletries. Going to visit friends or staying in a motel? Use the soap/shampoo that is there. I take only things that aren’t hygienic to share (razor, toothbrush, etc).
- Versatile shoes. This might be a little difficult, but if you have a capsule wardrobe, you can take clothes and shoes that will work for casual wear as well as an evening out. Make sure they are comfortable to be in and wearing them with more outfits won’t be an issue.
- Embrace slow travel and don’t have a packed schedule. It means not having certain activities to do every day. There is no need to try and cram every super-cool available activity into your trip. Pick a reasonable amount of days to plan an outing, and leave the other days open to relaxing and experiencing normal life in that area of the world.
- If you are visiting friends and family- do just that. Don’t worry about certain entertainment, movies, schedules, etc. Eat together, talk together, just be together and let that be enough.
- Use a simple camera. Phones these days take great pictures and if you want to leave your phone at home, take a good quality point and shoot camera. Unless your hobby and reason for travel is photography, be in the moment, enjoying it, rather than always snapping a photo of it. You basically only need one picture per outing/trip to bring back those fond memories.
- Avoid souvenirs. Let your memories be in you, not in your stuff. There is no need to purchase souvenirs for people back home either. If you want them to know that you miss them or think of them while you are away, send a postcard, handwritten note, or jot them an email. If you absolutely have to get souvenirs, let them be consumable: spices, candy, chocolate, etc. from different regions are a great way to remember the trip, or share the experience with others.
- Utilize the grocery store. Not saying that you can’t eat out, but eating in is calm and inexpensive. Simple meat sandwiches or a meal of fruits, cheese and cold cuts are filling and take very little prep work. Stay in a motel that has a fridge in the room, or keep a cooler with you. For road trips keep simple foods in a cooler and stop whenever and wherever to have a meal. Local parks and picnic areas add to the experience.
- Eat lighter. Avoid fried foods and fast food meals. Restaurants in the United States are often full of meat and fat, and without a good balance of veggies, it makes for a heavy feeling and seems like too much work to really enjoy the area.
Go places you will enjoy:
- Mountains, beach or theme park? Everyone has certain places that they enjoy most and really feel like they have had a vacation. Don’t feel guilty about not going to the expected family vacation destinations if they stress you out. For our family, Brian and I get stressed out in the heat, being in crowds and waiting in lines, so clearly, a trip to Disneyland would be no fun. Instead, we camp in the mountains and sit around a campfire. I’m sure our children would like a theme park, but I want them to remember fun calm parents when they think of family vacations, not frazzled, irritable, angry parents.
What are your tips for traveling as a minimalist? Share in the comments below.