When traveling, minimalism has become our way of life. During our world trip, we chose to pack light, that is, to travel with cabin suitcases only. And for nothing in the world would we have done it differently because the benefits of traveling light far outweigh any drawbacks.
In fact, during our 15 months trip across 50 countries, the total weight of our equipment was 30 kg for our family of 4. And believe it or not, if we had settled for the bare essentials, we could have reduced it to 20 kg in 2 carry-on luggage.
For some, this form of travel may seem frightening. One only has to try it to adopt it. But to avoid being disappointed, it is best to be well prepared for it. To prevent your preparation from becoming a real headache and to help you take the plunge, I will share with you a list of items that I have carefully selected.
4 Reasons to Travel Light
First of all, here are 4 reasons to travel light:
1. Travelling with heavy luggage can cause fatigue. This is all the more true when a dense itinerary forces us to move often from one accommodation to another.
2. Suitcases can be quickly packed and unpacked.. Time spent traveling is precious. Optimizing it is the best way to make the most of it.
3. Minimalism helps reduce hassle. We don’t get emotionally attached to materials or appearances. Our only souvenirs are in our heads and in the pictures. When we possess fewer things, it becomes easier not to lose them.
4. Great savings can be made. Travelling solely with carry-on luggage reduces check-in fees and saves time at airports. It also prevents lost, delayed or broken luggage. In addition, one can afford to rent smaller cars with smaller trunks.
The only drawback to travelling light is having to do laundry once a week. However, all you need to do is to make arrangements to have access to a laundromat or a washing machine at your hotel or Airbnb. In most developing countries, 5-star laundry services are available and for a few dollars, you can have your laundry washed, dried, ironed and folded.
Selection Criteria For Our Travel Items
Each item that accompanies us has been meticulously selected according to 5 criteria: compactness, lightness, quality, robustness and price.
Since these items constitute our “home” during the trip, we might as well select them carefully. This list is the result of several months of investigation, review reading, comparison and shopping. I therefore put my seal of approval on these items according to the aforementioned criteria!
So without further ado, here’s the list!
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Our Selection of Light Travel Items
Away Travel Carry-On
Away Travel is among suitcases what Tesla is among automobiles. With an integrated 10,000 mAh USB charging battery pack, a TSA-approved security lock and an enclosed laundry bag, the cabin suitcase has been designed and engineered for modern travelers. It is lightweight, sturdy, durable, has optimized compartments and dimensions at the limit of those allowed by most airlines. In short, everything in this suitcase is convenient.
We have two Away Travel carry-on suitcases.
Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 backpacks
Osprey is THE reference for backpacks. Its reputation is well established. Their bags are designed to be comfortable, ergonomic, durable and have a LIFETIME guarantee! So if a zipper breaks or if a samurai accidentally rips open a bag with his sword, Osprey will repair or replace it free of charge.
So you can be confident that you won’t need to buy another bag for the rest of your life… or that of the company, depending which event comes first. But since they are in business since 40 years and no one has ever surpassed them, you can keep traveling with peace of mind.
When we returned from our trip around the world, our bags still looked brand new!
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
Osprey again. Impossible to miss them, they are the best! The Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack is perfect to escape on an excursion with your water and food after dropping off your suitcases at the hotel. It can also be used as a laundry bag. It is easily tucked into a small bag the size of a child’s fist, which is handy when space in the suitcase is limited. In addition, it only weighs a few grams.
And remember, the Osprey warranty is valid for the rest of your life! We’ve worn out both of our day-packs during our world tour. We made use of the Osprey Warranty when we returned and received two new day-packs!
Gonex Packing Cubes
Once again, “the reference” for packing cubes. You’re going to tell me I’m just repeating myself. Then I’ll stop saying it and you’ll just have to keep it in mind for the rest of the post. The Gonex packing cubes are convenient for organizing our belongings within the compartments of our suitcases. Simple isn’t it?
We even bought compression storage cubes to save even more space. But because our items are so compact, our bags never overflow and we don’t need to compress them.
I will not make an inventory of the clothes that accompany us on our trip. Known that they have been meticulously picked according to the same criteria as our other travel items, in addition to durability and comfort. Nevertheless, I do recommend one brand of outdoor clothing for serious travelers that I rank above all others.
Do you know the brand Icebreaker ? This New Zealander clothing brand manufactures merino wool garments. The result is simple: the clothes are insulating when it’s cold, they breathe when it’s hot, they don’t keep body odors. Moreover, they are antibacterial, they dry quickly, they are ultra-light, and they are so comfortable!
These clothes have allowed us to do less laundry. Like in Iceland when I wore the same Icebreaker t-shirt for 9 consecutive days (and nights) without ever having to wash it. Even during hot weather, I wear them 3 or 4 days in a row before washing them because they don’t smell at all! And since they are washed less, we don’t pack as much clothing, so we can travel even lighter!
The disadvantage of these clothes, as you may have guessed, is their price. But their quality is well worth the cost!
Tesalate Beach Towel
No more thick and bulky towels. Say hello to the Tesalate microfiber beach towel. It is light, compact, durable, ultra-absorbent and dries very quickly. Sand does not stick to it and it is very handy since it can also be used as a beach, picnic or yoga mat. Tesalate is an Australian company that produces towels designed for travelers. They are available in several sizes with designs as beautiful as one another.
Dell XPS 15 Notebook
The Dell XPS 15 is a laptop for those with a need for performance! Some would be satisfied with the 13-inch version. I personally like the comfort of the 15-inch. But since the edge of the screen is almost non-existent, it is the size of a regular 14-inch laptop. In addition to being ultra-thin, my XPS 15 is equipped with an i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD disk and a 4K touchscreen. Processing my photos with Lightroom has become quite a breeze!
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External Hard Drive
There is no external hard disk drive thinner than the Seagate Backup Plus Slim besides SSD disks. It’s perfect for photo backup!
Join me and hundreds of thousands of Fuji aficionados: sell your Nikon and Canon right away and choose Fuji! This is the 4th generation of the X100 camera line. The Fujifilm X100F is a mirrorless technology masterpiece, one without which you might not enjoy following us on our travels quite as much. After my wife and children, it is my favorite travel companion. I never get tired of taking pictures. Besides, it’s beautiful!
In my opinion, this is the best compact camera in terms of quality, price and versatility. It takes extraordinary pictures and has unparalleled color rendering that only Fuji can achieve. Its 35mm equivalent fixed lens can somewhat limit the shooting possibilities. With the Fujinon WCL lens which brings it to 28mm, it becomes more versatile in almost all conditions.
Its successor the Fujifilm X100V (5th generation) was released in 2020. If having a fixed lens is an issue for you, I would recommend the Fujifilm X-Pro2 which is the equivalent of the Fuji X100F but allows interchangeable lens. Its successor the Fujifilm X-Pro3, more recent, is the Fuji X100V equivalent.
GoPro 7 Black
Everybody know the GoPro. I wouldn’t immerse my Fuji in the water, but I would definitely use the GoPro in the water!
Zippod 45 Tripod
Few tripods take up little space. The Zippod 45 is so compact and light that it should be a piece of equipment for any traveling photographer who wants to save space in his suitcase. It is not very sturdy in the middle of a hurricane, but it gets the job done.
The Pedco UltraPod
The Pedco UltraPod is a very versatile small tripod. It folds up tiny and it can be attached to a pole.
Manfrotto Camera Case
I love the Manfrotto brand because the company not only produces good tripods, but also high quality camera bags.
iPad mini 4
During our world trip, each of our boys had an iPad mini for school. Android doesn’t offer the same variety of educational applications as iOS, so we had fallen back on these tablets. We had scanned the class workbooks into PDF documents so that the kids could do their exercises on their iPad.
Asus ZenFone Max Pro 128GB
Under the criteria “long battery life in case I venture into an area without electricity” and “entry-level so as not to be sad if I get it stolen”, I present to you my phone, the Asus ZenFone Max Pro 128GB. You can’t imagine my relief to be able to live without having to charge my phone every day.
Deercon Rechargeable Cordless Hair Clipper
Deercon provides a compact electric hair clipper that trims well and runs on rechargeable battery power. And with 3 heads to trim each month, the clipper has quickly paid for itself.
USB Rechargeable LED Headlamp
For the times when we had to wander at night in the middle of the Jordanian desert or the Malaysian jungle, this USB rechargeable headlamp has proven to be very useful to us. This is the winner of the “just in case” category.
Steripen Pure+ Water Purifier
Better safe than sorry, as they say. The Steripen Pure+ can irradiate all microbes and viruses in the water before you drink it and it can be recharged via USB. The lamp can purify 15,000 L of water. That shouldn’t stop you from bringing Imodium tablets!
The Universal 4-Port USB Power Adapter
With all of our devices that we have to charge via USB, the purchase of this travel adapter makes perfect sense.
The Ultra-fast USB Car Charger
Here is a USB Car Charger with 2 Qualcomm 3.0 sockets to quickly charge our electronic devices in the car. You’re welcome.
Car Phone Holder
A small magnetic phone holder that holds my phone attached to a metal plate, so I can use my GPS when I drive. Check!
You never know what can happen on a trip. These travel locks are symbolically useful in deterring household staff with bad intentions.
Neck Stash for Passport
You are never safe from an unfortunate situation, but you must know how to minimize the risks. As you can see in the photo, this security pouch can hold 4 passports, credit cards, 500 Euro bills, and even Apple headphones!
100 mL being the largest format allowed in aircraft cabins for liquids, these refillable silicone bottles are convenient to keep our shampoo and sunscreen in.
Blizetec Pocket Blanket
To sit on the ground, on the lawn or on the beach without getting dirty, or to cover our belongings in the car away from prying eyes, the Blizetec blanket is always with us.
The Electronic Luggage Scale
Small and lightweight, this electronic luggage scale will ensure that we balance the loads of our bags before arriving at the airport. This is an indispensable item especially in Asia and Oceania, where low-cost airlines limit the weight of cabin luggage to 7 kg.
In addition, here is a list of objects that we brought with us at the beginning of our trip, but that we left behind along the way.
The Precision Stylus
In the absence of paper and pencils, the children are entitled to a precision stylus that emulate writing on their iPad.
The Boogie Board
The Boogie Board is ultra light and saves us from travelling with paper. Super handy for writing and drawing, then erasing at the touch of a button. Kids love it!
Hootoo TripMate Titan Travel Router
Here is another extraordinarily practical thing. Le Hootoo TripMate Titan is a travel router and WiFi signal replicator. When you arrive at the hotel, all you have to do is connect this device to the WiFi, and it transmits the signal through its own network, on which all your devices (computer, phone and tablets) are already configured. This way, there is no need to configure the WiFi on each device every time you move from one hotel to another. Another interesting feature of this device is that it is energy autonomous because it has its own battery. Therefore, it allows you to take advantage of the WiFi at the outdoor swimming pool while working. And finally, with a capacity of 10,400 mAh, its battery can be used to recharge electronic devices via USB, just like a charging battery pack.
MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Light
The MPOWERD Luci is an inflatable light that can be charged with sunlight. It charges in 7 hours in the sun and can provide 12 hours of light. Perfect for playing cards with the family in the RV!
Glacial Stream Personal Water Filter Straw
The Glacial Stream Water Filter Straw allows the water to be cleaned in order to remove its contaminants. It is less effective than a Steripen in removing viruses, but no less convenient.
The Cooling Towel
The Tough Outfitters cooling towel is great! Soak in water, wring out, place around the neck to cool down for several hours during a heat wave.
Mifold Booster Seat
If you cannot travel with car seats and you don’t want to rent one every time you rent a car, the mifold booster seat save a small fortune while ensuring the safety of our children. In addition, they comply with safety standards both in Europe and America.
The Power Inverter
For camper road-trip enthusiasts, the power inverter is a must! No need to hunt for a Starbucks in order to recharge your computer anymore! This little device will do it for you! Simply connect it to the 12V power supply of your vehicle to obtain a 110V AC output.
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I would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the summary of our exceptional world tour as a family!
To learn some techniques to improve your travel planning skills, have a look at our our travel tips:
- How to book flights at the lowest price ?
- How to enjoy free hotels nights with credit cards ? (for Canadians)
- How to make the most of your travel points? (for Canadians)
- Which credit card to carry when traveling ? (for Canadians)
- How to travel with carry-ons only ? Our lightweight travel gear list
- How to build an itinerary for a world tour ?
- How to estimate a budget for a trip around the world ?
- How to enhance your photos with Lightroom?
- How to start a travel blog ?