Whether you’re travelling around the world, road tripping with family, or travelling solo with your kids, minimalist travel and packing light can essentially make or break an epic family holiday with kids.
Quite honestly, there’s never been a time where I regret not bringing something, but rather it’s usually the other way round. I always find myself using only half of what I’ve brought, especially on long trips.
In this post, we will explain the top 10 reasons behind minimalist travel, especially when travelling with kids. Our family will share from our travel experiences why less is more when packing for your next trip.
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Packing light: What to pack for road trips with kids
How to go minimalist travel with kids?
You know how everyone is saying you need to double and triple the things to bring when travelling with a baby or toddler? Our family advises otherwise, we prefer packing light… ultralight. It’s this minimalist travel approach that has allowed our family to focus more on the journey than material things.
Below are 10 good reasons why minimalist travel and packing light is the smarter way to travel with kids.
1. Kids behave better when there are fewer options.
If you pay close attention to tantrums in young kids, a lot of the fusses come down to having too many options. This important rule of ‘either-this-or-that’ also applies to international travels for our family. We really believe minimalist travel is the key to happy kids, and we all know how important that is for a family holiday.
Toys: Only bring 1-2 of their favourite toys or lovey.
Apart from the lovey, our toddler likes to cuddle to sleep. We find she usually loses interest in toys very quickly, especially when there are so many new things to explore during our travels.
Clothes: Summer vacations are the best for packing light clothes.
- Roll them up to save space!
- Bring one extra set of clothes for short holidays and try to pack layers.
- Girls and ladies, go for dresses (one piece) clothing rather than tops and pants.
- Wear your thick jacket if you’re flying from a colder country, and you only need one quality jacket!
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2. Less bags = Easier to manage
Take note of the items that you’ve only used once or twice during previous trips. Those are the things you can leave behind when packing for the next holiday. There is already a handful of kids to manage, don’t overload yourself with more bags.
Forget about the just-in-case items, those are unnecessary worries. You can purchase essential things locally most of the times and probably for cheaper too if you’re travelling to a country with weaker currency than your own.
3. You and your family will spend less time looking for things.
The more you bring, the more organisers and bags you need to bring to keep things in place. Those are the extra weights you do not need. That’s like… the more you bring, the more you need to bring.
The last thing you want is to flip your bag upside down at the airport, looking for a nail clipper that has just beeped under the x-ray. (Yup, that has happened to us before.)
4. Being minimalists naturally eliminate conflicts in the family.
A good example is when ladies are taking too long perfecting their makeups and choosing the right outfit when the rest of the family wants to go out and explore.
There are also instances where our toddler has a hard time choosing what she wants to wear for the night. At the same time, Daddy is stressing over whether this shirt or that shirt is more appropriate for the restaurant. Then everything ends up in a fistfight because we are running late. Fun times.
5. There are less accessories to bring.
The more gears we bring, the more accessories we need. Such as batteries, chargers, containers, pouches and organisers. Some families are serious about taking professional photos and videos, and I totally get it. But just ask yourself whether one-for-each-occasion accessories are really necessary.
For example, I always bring a camera bag with all of my photography equipment. But what I’ve realised is I take 90% of our family travel photos with my Google Pixel 5. With a bit of Photoshop and Lightroom editing, the quality is just fine for web use. So unless I’m planning to shoot milky ways, long exposures or prints for commercial purposes, I now leave my DSLR behind most of the time.
6. Less worries about losing things or having them stolen.
There are so much to think about when you’re travelling, and constantly worrying about valuables getting lost or stolen is just draining. So leave that Chanel bag and diamond ring back at home, travel low key and keep the thieves away.
7. Less space required.
You can get away with hiring a small car or booking a small studio apartment if you’re carrying less. A lot of accommodation in destinations like Hong Kong and Japan don’t give you a lot of storage space.
Honestly, have you ever paid for storage just to keep some unimportant things you don’t need during a long holiday? We have.
8. Saves time.
We limit ourselves to one carry-on luggage for each family member if the trip is shorter than a month. Waiting at the airport for baggage collection after a long flight is never a fun start to a holiday.
We also like to check into our room asap without having to wait for an available bellboy or a luggage trolley.
9. Saves money.
You know when you’re in the holiday mood, browsing through local markets and souvenir shops, you’re impulsed to buy. Especially if things are cheaper there, and the place is surrounded by a crowd of tourists who are also buying. This is the time where your subconscious mind will tell you there’s no more room in the luggage!
Almost every time after our holiday, I either regret buying low-quality souvenirs or has found that I paid way too much for an exotic pretty dress that I thought was perfect.
So having limited space in the luggage works really well, and I’ve never regretted not being able to bring back something. Because nowadays, you could probably find everything online at a better price anyway.
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10. Free your mind, more space for new beginnings.
Minimalist travel isn’t just about lightening up the load physically but also mentally. It declutters the mind, leaves the old behind, and makes room for the new.
Embrace this shift in mentally, carry less on your shoulders, and let the change of environment surprise you.
This is a good time to set new goals and adopt new habits. Introduce new ideas to the kids, and broaden their mind.
Don’t Be A Stranger!
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In the meantime…
Do you travel light and pack minimal? Share your tips on travelling with kids below!