Why pack ultra light?
What’s the purpose of doing this? Why even bother packing light when you can simply check a big bag and take any and every item that may be of some theoretical use on your vacation? You know; just in case.
Fellow adventurers, if you’ve ever experienced both sides of the coin and have both traveled light and traveled heavy, then the advantage of taking only one small bag is probably obvious. If all you have ever done is pack like a hoarder, hauling half your belongings around the earth, then there are many reasons why you may want to consider paring down on your goods and traveling minimally on your next journey.
Less stuff to carry = Less to weigh you down
If you’re like me, you will likely have many vacations where you don’t stay in the same place the entire time. Transporting your belongings from city to city or even country to country gets really tiresome when you’re toting a chest-level 50 pound bag. After doing that for a while, try touring with a small pack and you’ll instantly feel lighter and more free. It’s truly liberating. And it’s better for your back and shoulders.
Less stuff to carry = Less to lose
I can’t express to you in words how comforting it is to be wandering around some shady part of a developing country with the knowledge that if I have my entire bag stolen, as long as I still have my health, my passport, and a credit card, the trip can go on as planned with a minimal amount of stress. A little inconvenient, yes, but things aren’t a disaster. All you’re out are a few pieces of clothing, several small containers of soap, and maybe a camera if you’re particularly unlucky. I would love to the see the disappointed look on the face of the thief who ever steals my bag.
Less stuff to carry = Always fresh clothes and no smelly bag
Another awesome advantage of packing super light? You’ll always have clean clothes, both on your body and in your bag. It’s counterintuitive at first glance, but taking fewer pieces of attire actually makes it easier to constantly have fresh pieces to wear as long as you wash your stuff regularly. No more transporting stinky shirts, undies, and socks that will emit noxious odors whenever you open your bag.
Less stuff to carry = More flexibility & speed
Do you enjoy nervously waiting to hop on the plane in boarding group 7 hoping that there is still an elusive overhead bin with enough room for your roller bag? Yeah, neither do I. Even when the airline staff announces that all overhead space is full, you can usually still find some spot up above to squeeze in your tiny backpack. Or if not, it can easily rest by your feet. Also, no missing tight connections on international flights due to having to claim and re-check your large luggage while going through customs and immigration. I’ve seen this happen to tourists with checked bags who are nervously waiting at the carousel while we simply take our backpacks and stroll to the next gate.
True story: this legitimately saved us on a recent trip. Easter Island has the most remote airport in the world, and there are only a handful of flights that go there in a given week due to the fact that there’s nearly 4000 kilometers of ocean between the island and the next closest airport. The first leg of the journey that ran from Miami to Santiago was delayed, and what should have been a comfortable connection in Santiago turned out to be a near debacle. By the time we cleared immigration and hauled ass to our next gate, we made it with 8 minutes to spare before the doors closed. 8 minutes. Next flight to Easter Island? 2 days later. Which would have shaved off a quarter of our time on the island marveling at the big stone heads. No good. Had either of us had a checked bag, we would have missed our flight by at least 20 minutes. Light packing saved the day once again!
In short, traveling with a tiny bag equates to freedom. By taking only the few things we need, you can forget about your luggage and put all your focus on exploring your new surroundings and meeting new people.