Updated: Aug 3
Minimalist travel can mean different things to different people... everyone's list of "absolute necessities" is different, and no two people will ever pack the same; so the best I can do is give you my take, in the hopes that it might help you define what minimalist travel looks like to you.
"Minimalist travel is the process by which each of us decides what we absolutely need, and what we absolutely don't need to travel."
It's a highly personal choice, and it will look different for everyone; but I would argue that what you need to travel is actually far less than what you think.
On one hand, minimalist travel can be considered an offshoot of minimalism in general... where it's more about letting go of our attachment to things, remembering that more stuff doesn't mean more happiness, and recognizing that we don't need nearly as much as we think in order to survive (or travel).
From this perspective, minimalist travel can be seen as an exercise in humility, simplicity and freedom; humility when we realize how little we need, simplicity when we realize how easy life is with less stuff, and freedom when we recognize how our attachments to things can weigh us down, without even realizing it.
Even if you have zero interest in minimalism in general, I'd highly encourage you to explore the ideas behind the lifestyle and consider the pros and cons of minimalist travel from this perspective.
Note: While I do recommend certain tools and products on this site, where possible, I try to suggest inexpensive, free or middle-of-the-road alternatives; check out The Conundrum for more thoughts on minimalism versus techthusiasm.
"For me, personally, minimalist travel is packing only the bare essentials, 2-3 days worth of clothes, a small hiking backpack and just a few "must-have" items..."
On the other hand, and for many people, minimalist travel may be more about efficiency and flexibility; efficiency in that you want to pack as light as possible, in the smallest footprint possible, and flexibility because you know that by packing light, you maximize your time and give yourself the ultimate freedom in terms of travel plans.
For me personally, minimalist travel is a combination of embracing some of the core concepts of minimalism above; with the realities of our desire for comfort, flexibility and style; it's attempting to take the best of what minimalism has to offer and the best of what technology has to offer, and finding a perfect balance between the two; it's packing only the bare essentials; 2-3 days worth of clothes, a small hiking backpack and a few "must-have" items... and keeping a constant eye out for tools and gadgets that add value without sacrificing mobility; you can view my full packing list here.
For you, minimalist travel may be completely different... maybe it's two weeks' worth of clothes and all the latest gadgets; or maybe it's less stuff, less clothes and even more freedom.
At the end of the day, each person's list of "must haves" and "nice-to-haves" will be different, and your definition of minimalist travel will be tailored to you and distinctly unique.
I built this site with the hopes of helping people recognize how easy it is to travel and how little you actually need; while at the same time, sharing what I've learned and experienced, in the hopes that it will help you build a travel style that fits you best.