What’s in my Minaal bag? + the benefits of travelling light

I recently met up with my parents in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

They had just arrived from a two-month Europe trip (we are now a family of nomads – my sister and I: ‘digital’, our parents: ‘grey’).

I was returning to Melbourne early, and as they no longer need their cold weather gear, Mum and Dad asked me to take a suitcase of clothes and shoes with me (also so Mum could do more shopping in KL. Fair enough).

This went against my usual ‘no checked baggage’ policy, but hey, I’m always happy to help my parents out.

After 10 months of traveling with carry-on bags only, this was a good lesson in perspective. I’m grateful for it, because it really made me see how much EASIER and FASTER traveling light is. The actual lifting of heavy luggage doesn’t bother me (‘cos I’m strong and I see lifting heavy shit as a challenge), but I found that traveling with check-in luggage DOES slow you down – and is frustrating as hell.

I’ll give you an example.

I was running late for the airport train. With only my Minaal bag on my back, I would have literally run from the car, through the station, down the escalators and on to the train, all the while weaving around people. With a giant wheely suitcase in tow, however, you can’t duck and weave.

Your wheels catch on other people’s trolleys, knocking your suitcase off balance and almost popping your shoulder out. You’re anchored to your step on the escalator, anxiously checking the time but knowing any attempt to run down them with a 19.5kg giant box with wheels isn’t going to end well for you or your travel insurer. And then you miss your train.

Once at the airport, you have to line up for bag-drop. Then when you arrive, sleep deprived and delirious, you have to hang out at the baggage carousel, not knowing whether your bag will appear in 5 minutes or if they’ve accidentally sent it to Yemen.

Do you see my point?

And this was literally ONE TRIP. I couldn’t imaging doing this over and over again.

So if I wasn’t before, you can guarantee I am now 100% sold on the idea of traveling light. I encourage you to give it a go. It’s liberating.

And not only do you spend less time at the airport – you spend less time packing, less time deciding what to wear and less time apologising to people whose feet you’ve just rolled over.

If you want to see how I fit everything into my Minaal bag, watch the video above. If you want to see EXACTLY what I took with me for 7 weeks in Thailand, I’ve documented it below. Enjoy.

christina canters packing minaal travel packing
Travel towel, hair straightener (my luxury item), sunnies, dressy and casual shoes, toiletries (minimise liquids), sleep kit – inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, ear plugs.
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
Lightweight rain jacket (folds up tiny), lightweight dresses, casual + dressy shorts. All in similar colour palettes!
Christina Canters podcast movement
One lightweight long sleeve shirt (never wore it), and other short sleeve tops.
christina canters black milk packing minaal travel packing
Socks, undies, bras, 2 x Black Milk swimsuits (double as tops)
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
Sports gear – running shoes, 4 x tops, 1 x shorts, 1 x pants, goggles (never wore them), skipping rope, iPod, cricket ball (to mobilise)
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
Equipment. SO MUCH EQUIPMENT. Could have done without the iPad. The rest is podcast/video stuff which I need.
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
My clothes rolled up in laundry bags and how they fit in the Minaal
My 'personal item' bag, with other bits and pieces. Small day bag, water bottle, journal...
My ‘personal item’ bag, with other bits and pieces. Small day bag, water bottle, journal…
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
My final luggage all packed. My smaller ‘personal item’ bag looks huge, but there’s not much in it. I’ll swap it for a smaller laptop bag ASAP.
christina canters packing minaal travel packing
Ready for Thailand!!