Travelling is considered by many an art and a true opportunity to expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone by exploring different cultures.
Part of this “art” is to know how to travel and especially how to do it hassle free so you can enjoy exploring and not worry about the logistics of it.
Who said you need huge luggages to have a comfortable holiday or to stay longer somewhere? Forget about that, we live in the 21st century now, the time of “rent everything” and minimalism.
We live in uncertain times, where COVID-19 regulations change very often from one week to another and from country to country. Therefore, the modern remote worker should be ready at all times to get a quick flight and change the destination whenever a window of opportunity arises. Plans should be very fluid during the pandemic due to often changes in regulation in every country hence being minimalist does pay off for many digital nomads and this should be already part of their lifestyle.
Here are a few benefits of travelling light
We want to pursue you to travel light because it removes a lot of pain points and this minimalistic way of travelling will allow you to enjoy your trips much more.
- no excess baggage fees
- quicker to pack at home and at unpack at the destination
- makes multi-destinations trips and stops less of a hassle
- you can go extend your stays because the minimalist luggage allows you to be flexible
- less time spent on checkin and explore your destination
- less worries for items and danger of losing them
- easier to carry your luggage in the airports, buses,etc
Rules For Travelling Light As A Remote Worker Or Digital Nomad
You can pack light by following a few simple principles that we’ll list below. Remember, there is always something you can optimise in your backpack or carry-on luggage.
1. Pack only the necessary items, that’s it.
Put all your stuff on the floor. Think very well about every item, then eliminate anything you don’t absolutely need. We know that “more stuff” feels somehow more comforting and safe, but it’s not the case.
Resist this need to over prepare. Usually, you’ll have to pack half of what you think you might need.
2. Pack about 1 week’s worth of clothing
You can just pack clothing for 1 week and then wash them regularly or send them to the dry cleaners wherever you are. It’s much more convenient to pay a bit on a service than carry and stress out about the space in your luggage.
Pick your favourite clothes with a simple colour palette so you can easily combine them and keep your style.
3. Bring versatile gadgets instead of one time use items only
Try to prioritise packing items that have multiple uses and think well about the items that might have a single use. If they have just one, then it’s better to try and replace them with a multiple use item.
Remember: you can always rent things or source them locally, usually cheaper than your home country
Don’t pack last minute, but a few days in advance
If you’re in too much of a hurry, you might stress out and stuff your bag sloppy or with a lot of unnecessary things.
You might also forget to pack important things, so we recommend packing a few days before and respect the packing list. You can find a great one here.
5. Keep a small part of your bag empty
Try to keep some spaces available in your luggage. It makes packing and unpacking easier or can be used to store some gadgets or souvenirs you bought on your amazing trip. It is recommended to leave about 20% free of your luggage or backpack space.
6. Use a packing list (and respect it!)
Packing lists are definitely useful so don’t hesitate to have one on your phone or a printed version at home. You can create your own list if you are an experienced traveler or digital nomad know exactly what you need.
Some great packing lists can be found here or here.
7. Choose the right carry-on bag or backpack
Probably the most important rule from this entire list. Choose your bag wisely and don’t be stingy on the price. A good quality carry-on luggage or backpack will last you for years and will allow you to pack a lot of things in a very compact way.
We are massive fans of backpacks instead of carry-ons due to their versatility and portability.
If you are looking to buy a backpack, look for brands who understand this lifestyle like Osprey or Tortuga.
8. Don’t pack shoes for every occasion – take a maximum of 2 pairs and one should be all purpose
You should keep a pair of hiking shoes or all purpose shoes in a plastic bag for whenever you have to walk a lot or hike the forests or mountains in your more exotic trips
As everyday shoes, we suggest you should be looking at some canvas sneakers such as Converse All-Stars as they fold up easily and take up very little space. Girls can easily add a pair of flats, as well.
For tropical places like Bali or Thailand, you could buy a pair of flip-flops directly from there. They are quite cheap.
9. Don’t pack thick and heavy clothes – opt for lightweight and technical winter clothing
Make sure you check the weather and take the adequate thicker jackets for the duration of your trip or passage. If you have to take warm jackets, go for light and technical clothing that are light and easy to fold.
Also, you should wear them(and other larger items) on you at the moment of departure so you free up more space in your backpack.
10. Don’t pack bulky chargers and try to use convertors or universal chargers
Always buy slim and light tech gadgets for your luggage (see a good list below). Go for the versatile adapters and convertors instead of getting one for every purpose.
11.Don’t pack full-size shampoo and conditioner
Try to use those small travel sized bottles you can easily find on Amazon. Pour some of the shampoo, conditioner and shower gel into these small bottles so you can go through security. You can always buy more if you ever need it from your destination. Remember, travel light and minimalist.
You should also consider a toiletry bag that can hang if it can fit your bag. Most hostel bathrooms are small and have no shelf space, so being able to hang up your bag containing everything you need is incredibly handy. Amazon has a wide selection of different hanging toiletry bags so pick one up that fits your needs.
12. Don’t put your clothes in your suitcase – use compression packing cubes
The best way to keep your clothing organized is by far to use packing cubes. They make living out of a backpack so much easier and you’ll be surprised how much space you’ll save.
We recommend using these types of packing cubes or the ones from the famous travel brand Eagle Creek (available here on Amazon). For more information about how to use packing cubes (or how to properly pack your backpack), check this really cool guide to properly packing your backpack with the help of packing cubes.
If you forget something which is a common item like toothpaste, don’t worry. You will be able to buy it even in the most remote corners of the world. Again, try to take strictly the necessary items and the ones you won’t take and are probably cheap anyway, you will buy them from the local stores at your destination.
Also remember, it’s often better to roll clothes instead of folding. Fewer creases, more space-efficient. Rolled up shirts (when stacked) are also easy to see at a glance.
Here is an example for clothing packing(for men):
- 7 shirts or t-shirts, different colour palette
- 7 pairs of underwear.
- 3 pairs of pants/trousers; depending or where you go it should be all shorts or a combination
- 5 pairs of socks (aim for the Merino Wool ones, top quality)
- One sweater or hoodie
- Swimming shorts
- Quick drying towel from Merino Wool
- Rain Jacket or Fleece Jacket
- One pair of snickers
For electronics and gadgets, we advise you to throw in the bag:
- A portable backup battery gives my phone and other electronics a bit of extra charge in a pinch. A cool bonus is that I can leave my phone to charge inside a hostel locker or hotel safe, instead of leaving it out in the open.
- Light and powerful 13” Laptop
- Universal Travel adapter for plugs
- Portable laptop stand
- External keyboard and mouse (as slim as possible)
- Kindle - love books can’t take them with you? KIndle is a must have then.
- Lightweight travel camera (check out Canon PowerShot G7X)
- Go Pro Camera -
- Small lantern or head torch
- Small carabiner - useful in all kind of situations
Misc. travel gear
- Small microfiber antibacterial travel towel
- Foldable waterproof dry bag - for the beach lover digital nomads!
- Compact tripod for camera
- Money belt - around the waist or neck pouch - protect yourself against pickpocketers
- A retractable cable padlock - essential for locking your backpack to your bunk/luggage rack or for hostel stays
- Flexible water bottles
- Foldable backpack - this will allow you to explore the city whilst leaving the main bag or backpack at home where you have your valuables.
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit - drugs, paid medicine, band-aids, tissues,etc
Before you set off on your journey, be sure to check out this guide on how to secure and prepare your home before travelling.