Have you ever been asked the question: ‘How do you travel so much?’ For me, the answer is always the same: ‘I make travel a priority.’ That’s to say, I allocate my money and my time towards making sure I see the world. Through traveling, I’m able to lead a more meaningful life.
Do you think and do the same? Then you might be a minimalist.
By definition, minimalism helps people question what adds value to their lives. By getting clear on what’s most important—and actively prioritizing your time, money, and energy in alignment with those things—you’re free to say ‘yes’ to what brings you closer to those values, and ‘no’ to anything that takes you further away from them.
Many might think minimalism means going without or living with less—so how can someone embrace minimalism and spend money on vacations? To some people, reducing expenses is their personal way of embracing minimalism. But, universally, minimalism is about focusing on what truly makes you happy and relinquishing what doesn’t—and for many, that means freeing up resources to travel.
For those minimalists who want to spend less and still travel, there’s never been a better time to do so. Almost all major U.S. airlines offer basic economy fares, making getting around—domestically and internationally—somewhat easier on our wallets. That being said, a basic economy fare doesn’t always equate to budget travel, especially if you’re planning to: (1) choose your seat, (2) check a bag, (3) use overhead bins, or (4) print your boarding pass at the terminal. Some airlines charge for all of the above (and more!), so it’s critical to know what you’re getting when you book a basic economy fare.
That’s where Hipmunk comes in. On all flight searches, Hipmunk includes low-cost fares in its results (labeled as basic coach, as different airlines use different terminology). How will you know what your basic economy ticket offers? As seen in the screenshot below, a hover notification calls out the basic economy fare and what it includes:
If you don’t require the features of a coach/economy flight, or you’re flying one of the top 25 routes with the highest average savings on basic economy flights, then book that basic economy fare.
… or don’t. The beauty of Hipmunk (and minimalism, for that matter) is the freedom of choice; the ability to get clear on what matters most to you as a traveler and book your flights accordingly. Especially if you’ve identified travel as an experience that adds value to your life—and you’ve freed up time and money to prioritize it—booking on Hipmunk is the place for you. Whether you prefer to book a basic fare or avoid them completely is entirely up to you.
Packing with intention
Raise your hand if you’ve ever read a ‘how-to’ packing guide. Chances are, you’re in good company. The problem with many packing guides, however, is they leave out the advice to pack with intention. Before you start tearing your closet apart, sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you want to get out of your upcoming trip. Getting clear on your goals will help streamline what you need to bring with you in order to achieve said goals. Then, make a list of: (1) what you’ll need to wear for planned activities, (2) what you’ll need to dress appropriately for the climate, and (3) items that you’ll need to comply with local etiquette. Everything else you were thinking of packing, including those just-in-case items? You can leave them at home—which should free up the time you would have spent agonizing over what shoes to wear because you’ve only packed the ones you need.
Carrying on the essentials
While some basic economy tickets don’t allow you to use overhead bin space for a carry-on, most allow you to bring a personal item that fits under the seat in front of you. So what should you pack in the bag now occupying your foot-space? First, ask yourself what matters most to you on your upcoming flight: Finally finishing the book you started around Christmas last year? Pack it. Catching up on your favorite podcast? Make sure the latest episode is downloaded on your device. Sleeping? Your travel pillow—or, pick the window seat so you have a place to lean your head.
With some basic economy tickets, you won’t receive complimentary food or drinks. Buying snacks ahead of time (read: not at the airport convenience store) and packing an empty, refillable water bottle and filling it once you’re through security will help keep costs down as well as stave off any hanger or thirst mid-flight. The funds you save by not splurging on pricey in-flight snacks will be put to better, more intentional use once you arrive at your final destination.