Travel Review: Ultra Minimalist Travel

Travel Review: Ultra Minimalist Travel
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What products would you hate to be without if you lost your luggage?

If you have been following me for some time, you know I’m a huge fan of travel and carry on bags. I have mastered the art of of packing light for a long adventure. My items multi task, and I like to think I’m a minimalist, but I see no need to try ultra minimalist travel.

Turns out the airlines wanted to test that theory this summer. I had crafted my packing list and prioritized what I could fit into my backpack (weighing 18 lbs or less) and a laptop bag for a 3 week European adventure. Saving my crazy travel story of cancelled flights for another time, let’s just say “I saw Europe, I saw France, and the airlines kept my underpants!” I truly became an ultra minimalist when I had to survive with one pair of underwear, a change of clothes, and just my liquids bag when my carry on bag, checked at a destination, got lost. Of course there is travel insurance to cover lost things, but what about when you hit the ground running and don’t have time to shop for basics or the destination doesn’t have many options?

You just make do. Washing your underwear and socks in the hotel sink with shampoo. You buy one extra tshirt and switch between the three. You log 90 miles of walking in your Taos tennis shoes even though you rarely even like to wear sneakers and didn’t suffer any foot or hip pain! (And 2 pairs of socks that did not get holes in them!) You are excited to realize your computer bag doubles as a day pack (even though you are bummed that the airlines lost your bag with your new purse inside). You are thankful you have your favorite chapstick with you and that your e-sim allows you to have Google Maps to guide those 90 miles of walking, 275 flights of stairs, and many many regional trains on Germany’s 9 Euro pass. You get extra thankful you have a little roller perfume because the European roll-on deodorant just isn’t as powerful as the American solid stick and the summer heatwave is putting everything to the test.

Did I wish to be an ultra minimalist? Not really. I prefer at least 2 pairs of underwear (which I did buy at the next stop) and need a swimsuit at the beach (even in Europe!). I found that my curly hair did survive 3 weeks without my usual hair products but I really needed some conditioner and gel (and language issues caused me to confuse the two). Remember I’m a minimalist? I was super excited to try out all these trailsize bars of my favorite hair products… so these were not in my liquids bag! I’ll reorder some for my next adventure where I do NOT check my carry on bag. 

But I’ll also realize that making memories is less about how much stuff you do or don’t bring in your carry on bag and more about the attitude you have and the people you are with. Summer 2022 will be known worldwide as the summer of lost luggage, especially for those with black bags. However, it also gave me a chance to really appreciate the quality of my shoes and computer bag and to choose a NEW carry-on backpack, which unfortunately is not yet sold in the US. 

So when you are trying to decide between the cheap shoes and the comfortable shoes? Go with comfort! They may be all you have one day and the journey may be long!

So what products did I hate to be without when they lost my luggage? Solid deodorant, decaf tea bags and Starbucks Vias, my swimsuit, and all the craft and games supplies I was bringing for expat youth camp! Otherwise, I survived. 

Table Talk: What’s your packing style – bring the apartment, travel light, or ultra minimalist?

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