Ultralight — Leo Babauta

A small book about minimalism applied to travel. It has good and actionable ideas to make your travels lighter, less stressful, and more enjoyable. Its most important message is that it’s up to you to try out different things and eventually find your own ultralight meaning.

My rating: 3/5. I liked it. My notes length: 3 min.
Date read: January 27, 2018. More information on Amazon.

My Notes

Travel on your terms, finding the freedom to enjoy your trips without carrying a huge burden on your back.

The result is that our bags got lighter and lighter until they were no longer burdens, but things we barely noticed. — Leo Babauta

Packing Light

Looking Functionally Good

Pick more practical clothes rather than trying to look spectacular. People won’t notice how you look, even if you look ready for a black-tie event.

Use an easy to combine and basic color scheme. Prefer trying to look functionally good.

Don’t worry if you wear the same outfit every day because nobody will care.

Enjoy Casual Places

Prefer going to casual places rather than fancy places that requires clothes just for that occasion. You don’t need to go to fancy places to have great trip.

Go to special places where you live, not where you’re going for travel.

Be Flexible, Not Prepared

Don’t pack your fears. Having a flexible attitude is a lot more effective than preparing for everything that can happen.

Your fears are all the “what ifs” that you will think at some point while planning.

If you’re having fears, try this:

  • Write down your fear.
  • Write down the things you want to pack to feel prepared.
  • Research the probability of it happening.
  • Research the ways to deal with your fear where you’re traveling without packing anything.

Clothes

Bring washable, synthetic clothes because they’re easier to wash and quicker to dry.

Pack light layers that you can add or remove as temperature changes.

Scope out the destination to help you decide which layers to bring.

Consider lightweight baselayer bottoms, synthetic workout T-shirts, lightweight long sleeve T-shirts, fleece hoodie, and lightweight beanie.

Always consider bringing a lightweight rain jacket. You never know when it can rain or get windy.

Wash your clothes by hand, in the bathroom sink or shower, every 2-3 days:

  • Get them wet, put some soap or shampoo and agitate it a bit, then rinse.
  • Wring it, then wrap in a towel and wring out the towel.
  • Hang to dry.

Accessories

Bring the minimum. If you bring your laptop, you probably don’t need your tablet. If you bring your tablet, you probably don’t need your e-book reader. If you bring your phone, then you probably don’t need your tablet nor your e-book reader.

Remember a lightweight travel adapter if you’re travelling internationally.

Always bring a collapsible water bottle or empty plastic water bottle. It can be refilled everywhere so you don’t need to buy liquids all the time.

Don’t Bring Nonessentials

Some ideas on what might be nonessentials:

  • Nice clothes and shoes. You can enjoy your trip without going to fancy places.
  • Extra clothes and shows. Periodically wash your clothes.
  • Cotton clothes or jeans. They are hard to wash and bulky.
  • Jacket. The layers you’re already packing plus a wind/rain shell should be enough for most places.
  • Travel pillow. Most layers you’re currently not using can be folded into a travel pillow.
  • Anything you can buy in case you need to.

You start to become comfortable with less, and able to get by on very little. — Leo Babauta

Bag

Try to fit everything in only one bag, a backpack that you can easily bring as carry on. Less than 20 liters.

Pack light, less than 7kg and preferably less than 5kg, so you can carry it while moving to places or walking after you check out of the hotel.

Be Flexible and Travel

These notes are ideas on how to travel lighter. Ultimately, it depends on what you think it’s necessary and your priorities.

The most important thing is not having a minimal setup, fewer number of items, or least backpack weight.

The most important thing is enjoying your trip. Packing light is only a way to help you enjoy your trip. Flexibility is only a way to pack light.

Flexibility helps you let go of what you were hoping for or what you want, and instead go with the flow. You are able to adjust to changes more easily, are less frustrated, are more at peace during your trip. — Leo Babauta