The Minimalist Blog

5 ways to save over 30% on your budget while traveling

You’re online looking for your next escapade for a quick vacation. While searching or places to go, you have a budget in mind, but by the time you get to the homepage, you feel a stab in the heart. No, it’s not your ex coming out of the computer. It’s even worse— the price you checked online yesterday is 20% more expensive today. You curse yourself for not buying it then but acquiesce to a higher power. 

This can continue on and on until your on your vacation and you resort to forgetting everything about the budget, but for your next trip, with these little tips you can work your way up to ensure that some of your cash can be trimmed from the total budget.

1) Buy tickets Incognito and with VPN

One quick and easy trick is to clear out your cookie and look, but a better way is to log in in Incognito Mode or Private mode and buy your flights that way. This can change the cost of the flights dramatically, enough that one of my friends’s jaw dropped because of this simple little trick.

One website we enjoy using is KiwiWe use it all the time when researching our travels and I’ve recommended it to many people and I once bought a ticket on Iberian Air for $180 one way from New York City to Madrid Spain. To put that in perspective, the Acela train (Amtrak’s high speed rail) has tickets from Boston to New York City that costs around the same price.

A point to note about traveling for cheap is to read the fine print. What I mean by this is that when you are about to travel, make sure that your baggage is under the weight limit, ensure that you don’t have a carry-on, ensure that you have your boarding pass printed if they ask for it, and make sure to submit all your documents correctly before buying the flight. This will ensure that you have a stress free flight the next time you travel, and be able to go around to places. 

If you message us at info@kezari.com and send us your email address, we can give you a 20 euro discount code for Kiwi!

 

2) Hit your friend’s friends network (or couch-surf) 

 This is where things get interesting. If you were to travel around and stay at hostels costing an average of 15 euros a night (around $17), what if you could save most or all of that by staying at other people’s houses? One network you can check out is by going to Facebook’s search function and typing in “friends of friends who live in X” or even posting on facebook if anyone has a friend you could be introduced to that is in that country.
 
If all else fails, another option is to try Couchsurfing. Sometimes, you might have some crazy encounters with other people or might get the best place in the world, but what it comes down to when you use this is finding someone you feel comfortable. That may come in the form of talking to them beforehand, knowing the host is the same gender as you, or even having the same interests. It can be a fun way to explore as the community is overall interesting and brings some quirky characters that are fun to be around from all walks of life.
 

3) Eat-in

Funnily enough, most people think that if you don’t have a kitchen, you shouldn’t be able to cook. If your cooking skills are a bit rusty, you should check out some simple recipes that are easy to cook on Youtube, or check out one of our future blog posts about it.
 
Sometimes, when eating in, you can always make food for the host from point 2 above, and it’s one o those skills that keep on improving. Who knows, maybe you’ll make an extra friend on this trip?

4) Bring a water bottle

In the US, you might be used to getting water for free when you go to restaurants, but in other countries, they usually charge you a little bit of money. Even worse, airports charge you ridiculous fees and sometimes it’s possible to get dehydrated on the plane, leading to extra discomfort. What I would recommend is bring an empty water bottle to the airport to stay hydrated. Plus, it’s also very good for you as you need water the higher elevation you are in, so it’s definitely recommended to fuel up on water whenever you can.
 
Usually what I like to bring is something like a sturdy 40 oz hydro flask. We cover more items to travel with in the article here.
 
 

5) Don’t use cash, but rather your credit card

The exchange rate of a credit card is usually 1-2% higher in most places. When you withdraw from exchanges, they can take a higher exchange rate fee that you may not even notice (can be around 3-4%, or if you use those terrible Euronet ATM’s probably 6%) This advice may not work in some countries like India or Vietnam where cash is still pretty much king, but overall this will make sure that you can ensure that any charge towards you can be fought and you won’t have to deal with any permanent scam or frauds that are possible when you travel.

Also, if you want to store it in a safe location, check out our Kezari pants so you won’t have to worry about your card being stolen or lost abroad.

Side note: I’ve seen a rising trend where people who travel as their “lifestyle” choose to beg while traveling to less fortunate countries. If you see this trend, please don’t do anything to promote it or even become part of it as the lifestyle of a wandering nomad going to poorer places to beg for money isn’t what traveling is about, but rather about understanding different perspectives. It’s also rude, but that’s for another post.

Any other tips you have in mind? Share in the comments below!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

10 Long-Haul Flight Essentials [Kezari Picks]

  • Water bottle: our first travel essential is to fight dehydration, which is very common on long-haul flights. We like reusable water bottles to refill at airports post-security and onboard. Plus, it reduces plastic waste from all the cups served on the flight. Go eco!
Double-insulated walls maintain the ideal temperature
  • Lip balm: Another flight essential… lip balm keeps your lips from chapping on the flight with lip balm. Plus it doubles as a moisturizing ointment for dry spots on your body. 
  • Facial moisturizer: something about airplane air just sucks all the moisture out of your skin. Moisturizer is perfect to apply after washing your face on board so it doesn’t dry up uncomfortably. 
  • Bluetooth earphones: earphones are essential when traveling, to make long waits past by faster with podcasts or audiobooks and to provide background music on long journeys. We love the convenience of Bluetooth earphones because it means one less set of wires getting tangled up in your travel bag. 
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste: there’s nothing like stepping off a plane with airplane breath. Keep a travel sized set handy to freshen up before meeting people at your destination. A clean freak’s (*raises hand*) travel essential.
  • Face wash: if you’re like me and have oily skin, then face wash is a must to keep personal hygiene up on long-haul flights. 
  • Witch hazel wipes: I’m a huge fan of witch hazel for reducing redness, wiping away airplane food crumbs and just freshening up when my face wash is too dry on a flight. 
  • Neck pillow: when your airplane seat doesn’t stretch all the way back, neck pillows come in clutch. They give your head a place to rest. Plus, it keeps you from accidentally sleeping on the shoulder of a fellow passenger.
This changed my flying sleep habits.
  • Eye mask: as someone who struggles to fall asleep easily, an eye mask is a must-have to shut out any light and cozy up. Airplanes don’t always dim the lights according to your sleep schedule, so a memory foam, eye socket eye mask is a must have.
No more funky sleep lines on your face
  • Protein bars: not only do budget airlines charge for food on-board, but many regular airlines are starting to charge for extra snacks. Plus, if airplane food isn’t always your cup of tea, protein bars keep you going until you land. Not to mention, having food to eat during your flight at the right time helps you fight jet lag and prepare your body for a new time zone. 
Guilty pleasure… the only protein bars that taste like dessert

Bonus: 001 New York City Travel Pants! 😉

Let us know what your must-haves are for long haul flights!

To see more travel content, follow IG @kezaritravels & FB @kezariglobal

5 Easy Steps Towards a Minimalist Wardrobe [Women’s Edition]

We live in an age of surplus, not minimalism. We have too much food, too many products, and too many distractions. The last thing we need -– too many clothes. First off, it makes it impossible to find your favorite dress before date night. Secondly, it makes laundry annoying. Lastly, it makes packing for a trip way harder when you have five variations of the same T-shirt to choose from. Plus, minimalism is timeless and the best fashion trend in our opinion.

To minimize the amount of clutter in your wardrobe, we’ve come up with a 5 part criteria to make your minimalist wardrobe.

Minimalism In 5 Steps:

  1. The 10 per 1 test: have I worn this item of clothing at least 10 times in the past year? If no, it doesn’t belong in your wardrobe.
  2. Do I have a “heavy” representation of a certain color or style? If I have over 7 days of summer dress wardrobe changes, I’m getting rid of the extras.
  3. Is this COMFORTABLE? If it’s scratchy, irritates your skin, cuts off circulation, feels like a corset, then what is it even doing there in the first place? If you even have to question its comfort, it’s sucking energy from you and needs to be banished from the closet.
  4. Would I pack this on a trip? PJs and your best suit aside, if it’s not something that makes you feel 110% and you love to show off, it’s never going to be used. Bye-bye.
  5. Is this part of the 10% of my wardrobe I wear 90% of the time? If it’s not, then it’s time to donate it.
This is you, very soon!

Wait, before you throw out all those extra clothes, try sending them to one of these three places.

3 New Homes For Your Clothes:

  1. Re-sell clothes at second-hand sites like Relovv and ThredUp.
  2. Donate to places such as Good Will or Salvation Army.
  3. Recycle!

Let us know if there are any other criteria you use to make your wardrobe minimalist! We’d love to hear from you.

Shop our minimalist styles

3 Reasons to Love Tencel-Lyocell (Sustainable Fabric)

Studies show that polyester releases 1174 milligrams of microplastics per wash. Cotton uses 20,000L of water per kilogram of fabric, equivalent to one pair of jeans. With this problem in mind, we set out to find an environmental fashion solution and researched alternatives in the textile industry.

After some research and testing, we decided to use Tencel for our pants. You might be wondering, what is Tencel-Lyocell? If you’ve never heard of it, it might sound like a type of medicine for muscles, but that can’t be farther from the truth. Tencel, or Tencel-Lyocell, is a fiber spun from the wood pulp of birch and eucalyptus. Here are our main reasons why we chose Tencel-Lyocell.

Silk-like material

If you visit us or go to any store that sells Tencel, you will notice the feel and wear of the material resemble silk. It drapes beautifully with any kind of clothing you choose to wear. Lyocell also has controllable fibrillation in the pants, which helps maintain the smoothness of the fiber. In other words, it looks like the bottom left:

I’m guessing some of you who are reading this article feel itchy even when you wear plain cotton and wonder how some people could even find wool comfortable. Maybe you’ve looked at different materials to wear (since sometimes I get itchy wearing anything!) and haven’t found a suitable solution yet. In the photo, you can see one of the biggest benefits of Tencel – how cotton looks jagged compared to the fine spaghetti-like fiber of Tencel.

Sustainable production

Lyocell is produced from (FSC-/-PEFC) certified forests and usually from sustainable birch of eucalyptus trees. They reuse 99.8% of the water and chemicals used during the fiber-making process, lessening the amount of waste into our environment and creating an award-winning enclosed loop for production. If you are sensitive to different chemicals, the material is also bleach-free during this entire process.

Durable

We tested the material by washing and putting it into a dryer multiple times. The fabric shrinks only 3% after the first wash and stays the same afterward. You can also travel with it anywhere as it is wrinkle resistant due to the microfibers. It is durable for travels as it is also moisture resistant, making sure that after your long travels you won’t feel gross and sweaty. Right now, we’re conducting tests to see how durable it is, and so far have not been able to break the pants yet.

Verdict/Cons

I feel it necessary to also talk about Tencel’s disadvantages. If you are a price conscious then Tencel does carry a premium to it due to its manufacturing method, costing around $3-4 per square meter, which is quadruple the cost of cotton. Furthermore, there were also some controversies on how the forests were harvested and if they source it from other locations that are also not environmentally sourced. Some of these cons can be argued as unnecessary as the clothes are durable and an investment in your wardrobe rather than a fast fashion trend (a topic which I hope to cover some other time). The environmentally sourced issue is tricky but we are keeping our eyes and ears open for more news.

Anything else you might now about Tencel-Lyocell or any other eco-fabrics? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Being Present in 3 Simple Steps [Lifestyle Hacks]

We live in an age of constant distractions where it now takes effort to be present.

I’m currently sitting in a cafe as I write this post. Out of all the people who are sitting, 90% of people are on their phones and only 2 people are reading something physical. I wonder what percentage of people are present. I know some people are reading on their tablet, but the biggest questions for me is this— where did the real-life conversations go? How can we become present and focus on what is immediately around us? How can we remember to take care of our mind and body?

Recently, Madison (Madi) and I have been trying out ten-minute meditations every morning. The scientific benefits of meditation have been studied and there are a fair amount of papers correlating meditation with better mental health, but I think everyone starts because they want to be much more present in the activities they do and focus on enjoying their life. Here are a couple things that I have tried that have helped me with my presence throughout my day:

1.) Meditate

It can be running and listening to the same song over and over, or reading a text out loud or singing a chant or a traditional form that I practice by sitting and observing my own body.

In any shape or form, it’s one where the mind loses all of its distraction and focuses on the surroundings and the sensations around you. If you meditate for around 10 minutes a day (Personally, I’d love to do an hour meditation once a week, too, if possible) it clears up what is important to your life and helps you become present. Although the beginning may be hard as your mind wanders all over the place, once the feeling of meditation catches on, then there is nothing from stopping you from doing well afterward.

2.) Deep Breaths

This is a practice that helps when your mind gets distracted throughout the day. Sometimes I set alarms on my phone to go off during random parts of the day to remind me to take some deep breaths. The best thing when starting off is counting to 10 in your head as you inhale, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and then exhaling for 10 seconds. Repeat this 4 times per practice and try doing it 3 times a day. Even when you feel stressed, it will help to do this to cool your head, bring you from your emotional state to a rational present state before making any decisions. This helps with keeping your emotions at bay when making important decisions and not letting fear or anxiety creep up as you think.

3.) Listen

Listening doesn’t mean hearing what other people have to say. Anyone with functioning ears can hear— on the other hand, few people can listen. During conversations, don’t think to anticipate what other people are going to say, but remain present and try to understand what they are saying instead. There’s a reason you can understand more from a conversation through intonation than you can through a script. Pretty soon I’ll make another blog post on the in depths of listening, but the main thing to consider when practicing listening is to understand the underlying message that the other person is trying to convey. If you can answer yes to Do I have a lot of questions about what they just stated? then there is a high possibility that you are practicing active listening.

My hope is that this will help with decluttering your mind and grounding you into the present, which is the essence of a true minimalist living. There is no instant gratification, but the effects will outlast anything if you practice these every single day. If you have any other tips you would like to share, feel free to share in the comments below!

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Minimalist Packing Guide [Women’s Edition]

We all dream of minimalist packing: without baggage – physical or emotional. Who doesn’t want to stroll up to the airport with just a carry-on bag, no wasted time or money on that oversized suitcase, and trust your back won’t snap lifting a bag heavier than you? Good news, that can be you.

The holy grail of minimalist packing.

I just spent the last month traveling across the US & Europe with nothing more than a carry-on luggage. Now how’s that for minimalist packing?! Let me explain – that’s coming from someone who used to lug a 30-inch, 60-pound luggage around the world, relying on the kindness of strangers to help me lift that beast onto the weighing platform.

Here’s how I started minimalist packing:

#1: Pack for what you’ll be doing

Seems obvious, but it’s crucial if you want to pack minimalist. We’re all guilty of packing our favourite clothes, even if we don’t plan to wear them. Don’t let that beautiful new bikini you just bought inch its way into your suitcase if you’re headed to Canada for the winter.

#2: Keep quantities low

And manipulate the following numbers accordingly. (This doesn’t mean you should have 2 sets of each!) I like to keep maximum 5-7 changes of clothes handy.

Pants: 0-2 (over here at Kezari, we made Tencel pants for this very reason. So you have 1 pair you can wear with any top, any time.)

Shorts: 0-2

Skirts: 0-2

Plan to re-wear a lot of bottoms. Unlike tops that retain more sweat and smell, bottoms can be worn so many times before washing, and no-one will notice – especially those made of Tencel!

Dresses: 0-2

Casual tops: 0-2

Formal tops: 0-2

Underwear: 5- 7 sets (unless you don’t mind going commando or want to #freethenipple, in which case, props.)

Outerwear: 0-1 (one dressy looking raincoat doubles well as a jacket for a night out and wind/rain protection ie. the UNIQLO block tech parka).

Note: To be ultra minimal, these clothes need to be as thin as possible so they can be compressed in your bag.

Shoes are the biggest culprits of draining your luggage space. Ladies, don’t bring heels. Unless you absolutely need them, they take up way too much space. Stick with:

Closed-toe pair of shoes: 1 (a nice pair of trainers or fashionable sneakers that work for long days of walking, working out and travelling.)

Open-toe shoes: 1 (flats or nice sandals work well for fancy events and water activities.)

#3: Choose Classic Colors

Choose a few colours that all match each other, and only pack those. Opt for solids over prints when you travel. This makes outfit matching easy because no matter what you choose, it will match. Plus, solids are perfect for minimalist fashion.

#4: Compress!

It’s not just what you pack, but how you pack. When packing, I like to sort my clothes into pre-planned outfits and roll them up tightly like crepes. This way, all I have to do is grab a bundle each day. Another way is to use packing cubes to keep everything tight. The secret to a small luggage is to compress, compress, compress!

#5: Packing Hacks:

  • Bikinis can double as underwear
  • If you’re packing another pair of shoes or a purse, stuff it with more items before fitting it into your bag
  • Eye shades and ear plugs will save you if you have trouble sleeping/adjusting to timezones
  • Stick to a small toiletry bag that fits the travel-sized essentials. Grab extra free samples from hotel rooms and use those when you travel. Don’t bring more than a few essential makeup items.

And that’s it! It is possible to travel with a luggage small enough it fits in the toilet stall with you. If you have any other secrets to traveling minimalist, we’d love to hear them below! Until next time.

Shop our minimalist clothing, perfect for minimalist packing!

Want more minimalist content? Check out: Minimalist Phone Usage in 5 Steps

5 Tips To Minimize Phone Usage [Lifestyle Hacks]

The other day I was grabbing lunch with a group of friends and everyone started to check their phone. I looked to my left and right… their notifications seemed endless, like a CVS receipt. Trying my best to find out what was so special, I took out my phone for a quick peek, which I hadn’t checked in several hours, and was relieved to find zero notifications on my phone.

Still, it made me wonder how I could minimize the time spent on my phone and use it as a tool to help me rather than a distraction. Here are the strategies I used to eliminate wasted time on my phone, minimize the stress of being overwhelmed, and become a phone minimalist.

#1 Delete unused apps

It’s easier said than done, but imagine it this way: what are the 20% of apps that you use 80% of the time? These are the apps that you want to keep, and the rest can be evaluated on a one-on-one basis. As an example, I have had Shazam for a long time on my phone, imagining that one moment where I wouldn’t know the song and would use it to figure out the song’s name. Yet in total, I probably use it once a year on a good year. So the app moved from the screen and into the trash.

#2 Delete Facebook or other social media

You probably have Facebook on your phone. But social media can be one of the root causes of unhappiness, as this study on Facebook confirms. That being said, it’s up to you to decide what to keep and what to compromise on. If you tend to use Facebook to message people and still want to minimize phone usage, it might be best to just keep apps like WhatsApp and Messenger on your phone while deleting all the other apps that are only “feeds”.

#3 Unsubscribe from marketing emails (you don’t like)

I had to add the “you don’t like” since, after all, if you do like the clothing at Kezari we hope you subscribe to our email list. What we are talking about is for products that you never use or are the “feel good” products that keep your mail app looking like this:

Please, please make sure your phone doesn’t have notifications that get long like Snake.

To prevent such an easy mistake, make sure that you unsubscribe to all the emails or newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of the mail preferences to minimize the number of unread emails. If that doesn’t work, email people at the organization to take you off. No more rummaging, no more extra noise. Done.

#4 Turn on only important notifications

Have your phone set up so that the only notifications that show up on your locked screen are the ones you want to see. My rule of thumb is if it isn’t a message from friends or close family, it’s not important enough to be on the front screen of my personal phone. Make sure to go to settings and then to notifications to minimize viewing the apps you don’t need.

#5 Download Moment (or apps equivalent)

I know, I know. Almost everything at the beginning said to delete and unsubscribe, and then I hit you with a download app tip. But hear me out. This has been one of my go-to apps when I want to check how much I use my phone during the day. Most people think they use their phone far less than reality, which leads us to believe we are pretty good with our balance. But with those 5-minute breaks that you take inadvertently once in a while, it adds up to 50% to 75% of your phone usage. This is speaking from personal experience, and it sure came as a surprise to me.

These are the five tips I have. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or tips for others to share!

Shop our minimalist clothing

Want more minimalist content? Check out: Minimalist packing guide – women’s edition