How minimalist travel could take the stress out of your holiday
Holidays are supposed to be relaxing, but often we find ourselves more stressed than ever planning a trip. Here minimalist travel and lifestyle blogger Jessica Williams sheds some light on how this modern-day concept could transform the way we travel.
What is minimalism?
The concept of minimalism, in its most basic terms, is living a simpler life with less. This lifestyle choice is nothing new, but it serves as a useful tool we can use to combat the consumerism and chaos of 21st-century life, and help us decipher what’s really adding value to our lives.
There’s a whole lot of stuff we do, buy and hoard that adds little value to our lives beyond creating a manufactured self-image we want others to see, and it often distracts us from the things that really matter. So the idea is to create more time, space and freedom by living with less.
Why try minimalist travel?
Simplicity can quickly be misinterpreted as deprivation but as with everything, there is a spectrum. Minimalist travel means keeping things simple in whatever way adds more value to your trip and there’s a lot to be said for this approach. How does less to pay for, lower stress levels, fewer expectations to live up to, and less packing (and therefore less washing to do at home) sound?
Shifting the focus away from the 'more will make you happy' mentality, in travel and life in general, gives us opportunity to only pursue the things we find true value in, like new experiences with loved ones or quality time with family. It also removes anything that distracts from that pursuit, like the external pressure we feel to book the best hotel, get the cheapest deal or pack in more activities.
7 ways to embrace minimalist travel
1. Think less is more
Minimalist travel is built on a 'less is more' mindset. The whole point of minimalist travel is to focus on what adds value to your experience and discard what doesn’t.
There’s no need to succumb to the pressure of going away for two weeks and hitting multiple destinations if you’d rather spend your time chilling on the beach. Don’t feel the need to live up to the hundreds of experiences you see online, or to tick off all the big sights when, really, you’d rather just aimlessly wander and find a quiet spot to enjoy lunch.
It’s absolutely OK to go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower, or explore New York City without getting in an expensive yellow cab.
2. Travel with intent
Before you jump in and book the next great deal that catches your eye, take some time to think about what it is you really want to get out of your holiday. Do you need peace and quiet? Perhaps you want to let your hair down? Or take some time to rejuvenate or experience something new?
Plan a trip according to what you want, not what you want to post on social media or brag to your friends about when you get home.
‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is a notion to boycott; it’s important to make sure you’ve booked that trip because you really want to, not just because Jane at work went last year and her Facebook photos looked amazing.
3. Budget sensibly
Never spend more than you can afford. Holidays are in danger of becoming the new must-have accessory, with travel more accessible to us now than ever before.
A luxury hotel stay can be wonderful, but you should ask yourself what you’re getting out of it. Think about what it is you really need while you’re away and prioritise. A sea view room might be your dream, but there’s probably a hotel or Airbnb with more reasonable rates down the road – it just doesn’t have that beach butler service you’ll never use.
Opting for a more affordable holiday means you won’t have the worry of paying it off for the next 12 months. It can be tempting to stick it on the credit card but keeping the budget achievable will make the trip more enjoyable.
4. Don’t over schedule
It’s tempting to pack as much in as possible, but when we plan too much that relaxing holiday becomes an exhausting, box-ticking exercise. Instead of trying to do everything, plan just three things you really want to do, trust in that being enough and leave the rest up to fate.
It’s often those spontaneous, unexpected moments that we treasure the most when we get home anyway.
5. Pack light
Take some time to plan your suitcase space (we’ve got tips here), take only what you need (here’s a list of things you don’t need) and you’ll be switching your extra-large, four-wheel case for a carry-on in no time.
The less you carry, the easier the slog through the airport will be. Plus, if you take a carry-on, there’s no chance of your luggage getting lost along the way.
6. Switch off and reconnect
Most of us travel to get away from every day stresses. Holidays present the ideal opportunity to switch off, but this only works if you allow it. While technology has its on holiday, spending that precious time endlessly scrolling through social feeds disconnects us from friends, family and the real world.
Try a digital detox holiday to make the most of your well-earned travel time.
7. Collect moments, not things
Minimalism places a heavy focus on experience instead of consumption, so step away from the souvenir shops and just enjoy your time travelling.
When you reminisce about your travels in the years to come, it won’t be the things you brought home but the moments you remember that will put a smile on your face.
Check out these incredible experiences or find a new way to travel the world with these trip ideas.
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