How you are going to travel depends on where you are going.
I have blabbed on about backpacking Europe in the summer of 2009, but minimalist travel does not mean you have to be some intrepid world traveler. You could stay close to home. It would certainly make the minimalism part of traveling easier to do.
My brother lives about 100km(60miles) away in the amazing waterfront city of Halifax. I can easily scoot in there with a change of clothes and a toothbrush. I love walking around the city, sitting on the waterfront, and strolling through the parks.
If you are planning a trip that will take you a bit farther afield I guess the options are biking, car, bus, rail, or plane.
I admire the folks I see that are long distance biking. I can say that it just isn’t for me. I am all for physical activity but I’d rather walk.
A bus journey may not be that bad all things considered. Of course this depends on how much time you want to spend on the journey itself.
I would love to go across the country on the train. You would see some great scenery, albeit at high speed. But rail travel can be more expensive than people may think. When reading about backpacking through Europe you will see a lot about getting a EuroRail pass. There are many different configurations to this type of travel pass depending on how many countries you are traveling through and the duration of your stay. To be honest I found it confusing, restrictive and expensive as hell.
It may be worth the effort to look at air travel, especially if there are discount airlines operating in your travel locations. I am so glad I explored this travel option. Get this. I flew from Paris to Pisa. Travel time was about one hour. And the cost? 5 Euro. Yup. That’s it. I booked that flight well in advance with RyanAir. This is just one of the discount airlines operating throughout Europe and I used them for 4 or 5 flights. An hour in the air or 12 on a train? Hmmm, let’s think about that.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of traveling with a discount airline.
- Usually much cheaper if booked in advance
- Travel time is certainly shorter; more time to enjoy your trip
- The planes I was on were up to date and comfortable
- Discount airlines operate out of distant airports so you have to take a shuttle or taxi to the airport at extra cost
- This is a no frills airline. Show your boarding pass and get on the plane. No assigned seats.
- You have to print off your own boarding pass ahead of time. If you don’t follow the exact procedure, you won’t be getting on the plane
- Baggage is extra. So minimalist travel is key here. One carry on is okay. And this is all you should have anyway.
I used RyanAir for 4 or 5 flights while backpacking Europe. Yes, having to take an hour long shuttle to the airport was a pain but spending 5 Euro per flight was awesome.
Your can search multiple carriers with a booking engine such as Skyscanner. This is what I did and I am very glad.
Don’t think that minimalist travel is about going far, far away. But if you do, consider all your options for travel. While air travel is not great for the environment, it certainly was good for my bank account and it helped get me places faster. I could then enjoy my destination for a longer period of time.
Take less, spend less, do more.
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