When one thinks of minimalist travel, Mr. Bean probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. If we're being honest, we're more likely to associate Rowan Atkinson's character with comedic hijinks than the latest in travel trends. Do a little bit of digging, however, and it's clear that this jester can teach us a thing or two about ultralight travel packing.
'Mr. Bean Rides Again' – the sixth installment of the Mr. Bean TV series – puts our protagonist in some sticky travel situations. Along the way, he does his best to assemble what we think is a worthy attempt at a minimalist travel carry. He stops at nothing in his quest for a single bag solution. Chopping up his trousers like a deranged tailor, snapping his toothbrush in half – these measures might seem drastic, but can actually help you with your own minimalist packing list. After hours of painstaking research, we've lined up four lessons in travel efficiency from none other than Bean himself.
Find A Smaller Alternative
Mr. Bean's absurd solutions to seemingly simple problems may make for side-splitting comedy, but they also hold a few examples for travelers looking to cut down on travel bulk. Smaller alternatives are the easiest way to save space. Swapping out a towel for a flannel cloth is an extreme example, but you won't lose out by opting for pint-sized substitutes.
Ditch The Duplicates
Playing a game of eenie-meenie-mo – as Bean does with five of his most ostentatious Hawaiian shirts – is one failsafe way to pick out your favorite sweater. A more considered packing process would involve identifying a) which garments you wear the most, b) which garments are best suited to the climate, and c) which are the most versatile. Once you've got clothes that tick all three boxes, you're well on your way to scaling down and creating a capsule wardrobe.
Take Less, Wash More
There's nothing poetic about roughing it on the road and Bean knew that all too well (why else do you think he flew first class to the US in Mr. Bean's Holiday?). Sometimes, though, it pays to pack less and do laundry along the way. Laundry services can be found almost anywhere, even in the most rural backwaters, which is why we think Bean was on to something when he went light on the undies. Thinking about packing in towels? Check with your accommodation ahead of time what kind of bedding and linen they provide and save on space.
Think About Using A Daypack
Bean discovering his larger suitcase under the bed wasn't a coincidence, but a stroke of packing genius. The execution might have been off, but the principle of efficiency still applies. Having two bags in one gives you the freedom to explore on days where you don't want to carry a larger travel bag. The Arcido Vaga Daypack is the perfect solution for travelers looking for a smaller backpack once they’re on the ground. It’s designed to fit snugly in both the Akra and Faroe backpacks and has space for a laptop, up to 15 inches.
Mr. Bean may just have been ahead of his time when it came to minimalist travel. If someone as slow-witted as the lovable comedic icon can put together an ultralight ensemble, then there's nothing stopping you from taking the leap to one bag travel.
Written by: Stuart Hendricks