6 Incredible Minimalist Travel Items You Need For Your Next Trip

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 03, 2020
Minimalist Travel Items: man holding a suitcase

Have you ever been late for your flight?

You hear your name being called over the airport loudspeakers, so you start running.

Packing light can be the difference between making your plane and getting stuck in the terminal with those soggy deli sandwiches and uncomfortable chairs.

Imagine it. Trying to pick up and go with a briefcase, a suitcase, your backpack, your camera pack, and your dog carrier. No, it’s too much.

Smart travelers are minimalist travelers.

We’ve put together a list of our six favorite minimalist necessities that make travel feel easy—even though it never is.

6 Incredible Minimalist Travel Necessities

1. A Secure Minimalist Wallet

Decadent Minimalist DM1 wallet and stainless steel money clip on white background

Our Top Pick: The Decadent Minimalist DM1 Aluminum Wallet

This secure minimalist wallet is a perfect travel partner. You want something with no frills and that can fit easily and inconspicuously in any pocket.

What We Like

But when you’re in a city that seems a little unsavory, keep the money clip with a bit of cash in a pocket and the wallet with the cards stowed safely in a zippered pocket. If it comes down to it, you can always give up the cash but still hold on to your cards.

Decadent Minimalist also offers a set of RFID blocking cards you can stash with your wallet. These help you from having your credit card information scanned and stolen.

What’s best is that this minimalist wallet is much smaller than most phones. You can keep it in any pocket and you don’t have to worry about it weighing you down or causing any bulges in your coat or back pocket.

model putting decadent minimalist wallet and money clip into pocket

If you tend to misplace your wallet often, you can add in a Tile finder, too so you can keep track of your wallet via Bluetooth.

What We Don’t Like

The Decadent Minimalist wallet looks beautiful and shiny, but it’s a fingerprint magnet. It could just be our OCD, but if you’re anything like us, you might find yourself polishing your wallet more than you ever thought you would.

Aluminum and Titanium models are available that are just as elegant but less prone to prints.

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 200 ratings on Amazon give Decadent Minimalist a 4.6-star average. That’s a pretty dang good track-record if you ask us.

We’ve been trying this minimalist every-day-carry around for the past few weeks and it’s definitely replaced the old, bulky leather wallet that’s been breaking our back.

The Verdict

Travel is all about thinking quickly. Any accessory you bring with you needs to be able to adapt to your situation.

That’s why we like the Decadent Minimalist wallet so much. Take the money clip out to distribute your cash if you’re in a seedy part of town. Add an RFID blocker for extra cybersecurity, or a Bluetooth tracker if you’re more forgetful.

And the design couldn’t be simpler. That’s what makes the DM1 wallet a necessity for travelers looking to keep things minimal.

Decadent Minimalist DM1 Aluminum Wallet

This nifty aluminum wallet carries up to twelve cards, but there are a few bonus features in its simple construction that make it a “must-have” when traveling.

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2. The Perfect Travel Pants

flannel and evolution pant

Our Top Pick: Western Rise Evolution Pants

What We Like

When we reviewed the Western Rise Evolution, we couldn’t help but burst into a martial arts throwdown. They’re so comfortable.

These are the best travel pants we’ve tried, and many people in the OneBag community agree.

They’re easy to wash and hard to stain. Plus, they don’t get stinky.

We also love the zippered back pocket for that extra dose of security. These pants are winners in our book.

unzipping evolution pant

What We Don’t Like

There weren’t size options like 33 and 35. Only the even numbers.

What Other Reviewers Say

The OneBag community of Reddit swears by these pants and we understand why. Over 250 reviews on their site give them above a 4.5-star average, too.

The Verdict

If you need a pair of pants that look great and you can wear it for a week straight without washing, the Evolution from Western Rise will get you there. You can pack light, wash when you get the chance, and enjoy your travels without building a signature smell.

Western Rise Evolution Pant

If you need a pair of pants that look great and you can wear it for a week straight without washing, the Evolution from Western Rise will get you there.

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3. A Stunning Minimalist Watch

model wearing nordgreen pioneer white dial against blue checkered shirt

Our Top Pick: The Nordgreen Pioneer

What We Like

What can we say—we’re suckers for watches here. You’re going to want something reliable to keep track of all those time zones you’re changing, aren’t you?

Our favorite minimalist watch is the Nordgreen Pioneer. It’s got a chronograph feature so it’s not completely stark, but the dial is clean and open.

We put the Pioneer to the test, along with some of Nordgreen’s other minimalist masterpieces and we were impressed.

What We Don’t Like

We tried both the rubber and the leather strap. We prefer leather. If you’re interested, Nordgreen also features vegan-leather straps, and while we didn’t get a chance to look at one of those, we trust their products through and through.

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 300 reviewers gave Nordgreen a 4.7 average rating. Not too shabby. But we’re not surprised.

The Verdict

Sometimes cutting loose from the phone is the perfect vacation all in itself. But you still need to make buses and boats and airplanes.

So get yourself one of the coolest minimalist watches out there.

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Nordgreen Pioneer
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The Nordgreen Pioneer is an innovative take on the chronograph watch. Built like a classic aviator, but with modern Scandinavian design principles, this timepiece looks natural and elegant—and it pairs well in a casual and smart-casual wardrobe.

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4. A Cut-Proof, Water-Proof Backpack

Alpaka shift pack from the side 1

Our Top Pick: Alpaka Shift Pack

What We Like

We believe in OneBag. But we’re also on-the-go creatives who need to carry our business on our backs.

There was no better proof that Alpaka’s Shift Pack was our new workhorse than after we left it in an Atlanta rainstorm—with our computer and camera inside (which, by the way, is literally everything we need to do our job).

shiftpack behind closeup 2

After coming back to the bag and seeing it totally dry, we were convinced.

This bag is coming with us everywhere we go now.

What We Don’t Like

There’s wasn’t much to dislike about the Shift Pack. It doesn’t have a large front pocket, but in our travels, that’s never presented much of an issue.

What Other Reviewers Say

Alpaka has racked up over 175 reviews, totaling up an average of 4.7 stars. It’s a solid record so far and we know they’ve got more good things in the works.

The Verdict

Your bag is your lifeline as a traveler. Don’t skimp on the necessities.

The Alpaka Shift Pack is everything you need if you’re traveling with any sort of tech. The bottom compartment fits a DSLR perfectly, and you can slip a laptop right into the back without taking up any extra space.

Capture your adventures and bring the memories home with you. Don’t let them get ruined in an Atlanta rainstorm.

Alpaka Shift Pack

I’m a big fan of the Shift Pack. It’s my new go-to for when I’m out with my work gear in the city.

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5. Funk-Free Socks and Underwear

pair of thieves underwear and strideline socks

Our Top Pick: Strideline Socks and Pair of Thieves Underwear

What We Like

Did we say that the backpack was the traveler’s workhorse?

We spoke too soon. Your socks and underwear are the traveler’s workhorse.

These essentials are important throughout the year, but if you’ve ever done intense pavement-pounding summer travel, you know nothing’s more critical than some comfy undies.

We love Strideline’s padded socks for comfort and moisture-wicking, and we like Pair of Thieves’ Cool Breeze mesh briefs.

Both of these don’t attract sweat like your run of the mill basics.

These socks and underwear also wash easily and dry quickly, so you can take just a few pairs and wash them in the sink if you’re not near a laundromat.

What We Don’t Like

We’re stumped. We just really like these socks and underwear.

What Other Reviewers Say

Strideline has tacked on over 150 reviews with a 4.2-star rating. When you think about it, that’s 150 people willing to review their socks. Pretty amazing.

Pair of Thieves has a 4.7 rating on over 200 reviews through their site, so they’re holding up their end, too.

The Verdict

Sweaty feet, swampy you-know-what—it’s not worth it anymore. Not when we have the tools to say goodbye to those discomforts forever.

Go ahead. Give your feet and nether regions the cooling comforts they deserve.


While the no-show sock is a bit too high-cut for shoes like loafers, Strideline strikes the right balance between performance and comfort to make great socks for both athletic and casual wear.

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Pair of Thieves

While we didn't find a ton of differences between Pair of Thieves and the brand's premium offering, Thieves Gold, one thing is crystal clear: Pair of Thieves knows how to make comfortable underwear and socks that put the fun in functional.

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6. A Lightweight, Comfortable Pair of Sneakers

cariuma canvas yellow sneakers

Our Top Pick: Cariuma OCA Low

What We Like

There’s no reason to play coy here—we got these sneakers because they look cool. But after wearing them around for a few months, it became clear that they were excellent travel partners.

cariuma oca low yellow minimalist sneakers

If you do a lot of walking while you’re out exploring the world, you’re going to notice Cariuma’s signature leather and memory foam insole. It’s comfortable and doesn’t compress over time, meaning you can pound the pavement for months at a time without compromising the cushion.

While we chose the yellow, there were 11 different colorways available at the time of this writing—all of them representing the bold, sunny colors of Rio.

Even better, these shoes are made in ethically run factories and Cariuma is totally carbon-neutral for their shipping.

What We Don’t Like

We felt these ran a bit small. If you’re in between sizes, order the next half-size up. The good news is if you order the wrong size, returns and exchanges are free if made within the first 30 days after you get your sneakers.

What Other Reviewers Say

Cariuma boasts a 4.82-star average with over 450 reviews. Many of those specifically mention the joy of travelling with these—tales of long days walking through the streets of Sao Paulo, Rome, and Tokyo, all without sore soles.

The Verdict

If you like to travel with style, check out Cariuma’s OCA low. Their broad range of color options almost certainly have a choice you’ll like. Plus, the leather and memory foam insole is excellent for long, punishing days travelling—anyone who’s done a city-to-city backpacking trip knows what we’re talking about.

Small details like the metal-capped shoelaces are built for durability. And think about it, are you really going to go buy new shoelaces when you’re out travelling? No, so think ahead and pick up a pair of sneakers that will save you the trouble.

Cariuma OCA Low

There’s no reason to play coy here—we got these sneakers because they look cool. But after wearing them around for a few months, it became clear that their memory foam insoles make them excellent travel partners.

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3 Things for Minimalists to Consider When Packing

1. Where Are You Going?

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This first one is pretty obvious. You’ve probably been thinking about your next travel destination non-stop for the past few months.

Will you be spending a lot of time out in nature? Or are you pounding the pavement in a new city?

One of the biggest things people overlook is whether or not they’ll be near a washing machine. It seems like a joke, right? But knowing how easy it will be to wash your clothes defines how you should pack for your trip.

As a minimalist, you want to bring as few clothes as possible. So make sure whatever you pack can be worn over and over again. It helps if your clothes are super-light, too.

2. How Secure Do You Need Your Belongings?

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Are you visiting a place with a ton of pickpockets?

Obviously, you always want your things secure, but sometimes being more mindful ahead of time can save you a world of headache while traveling.

Set yourself up with an RFID blocking card so nobody can scan your credit card information. Having to cancel a card while abroad can leave you completely stranded for cash.

Picking up a cut-proof backpack can save you on those over-crowded bus rides where a quick slice can give a pickpocket access to your whole bag.
Pants with extra zippers, removable money-clips, and hidden pockets are all excellent ways to keep your travel essentials like passports, money, and phone safe.

3. What Do You Want to Bring Home?

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Do you want to leave extra room for gifts on the way home? That means you’ll have to pack even lighter.

The same is true if you’re just looking to bring photographs home. Save space for your camera so you can snap gorgeous photos that’ll make your friends and family jealous.

You’ll be able to get your aunt back for all those terrible slideshows she made you watch when you were a kid.

5 Tips for Packing Light

1. You Don’t Need Your Costco Card

Ditch the extra bulk in your wallet—you don’t need your grocery club card and you don’t need your school ID. Just take the essentials.

2. Get One Great Pair of Pants

If you can get by with just a single pair of pants, you’ll save so much room in your bag. Something that cleans up easy and is stain-resistant is key here.

3. You Don’t Need Your Phone and Your Computer and Your iPod

Extra technology means extra chargers means extra stuff you don’t need. Get one item that takes care of everything you need and does most of what you want. Usually, a great phone is all you really need.

4. Get Vacuum Seal Bags

Vacuum seal bags are even better than those space-saving cubes. Unfortunately, you do need a vacuum to seal these and they’ll wrinkle your clothes, but they’re clutch when you need to fit more in a smaller backpack.

5. Half the Clothes, Double the Money

This is a trick we’ve always done as we zip up the bag before heading to the airport. Take out half of your clothes and double the amount of money you’re bringing. You’re probably packing more clothes than you need (and there’s nothing we hate more than getting home and unpacking that jacket we never wore).

Have You Packed Your Bags, Yet?

We can’t help you show up at the airport on time, but if you take our advice and pick up these five minimalist travel necessities, you’ll at least be able to pick-up and go quicker.

From security to style to comfort, this list has you covered with all the details that will make your next vacation a breeze.