One of the best decisions that you will make while planning your round the world trip is to travel light. For the past 15 months my travels have taken me around the world twice, and my wordily possessions have been carried in an Osprey Porter 46 litre backpack. Living a minimalist life while travelling has resulted in a less stressful experience, and here are more reasons to travel light.
Straight through security
Most airlines nowadays allow you to check-in online, so this means no queuing at the check-in desks to collect your boarding card, or, dealing with the stress of your checked-in luggage being overweight. You walk straight past the check-in areas and through the departures to security and the lounge. Other than in US airports, this has been a incredibly quick process.
Less stress on the back and feet
Carrying an 80-litre backpack throughout a long round the world trip is going to cause stress on your back and feet. Let’s be honest, 70% of the items that you’ve taken in your backpack, you’ll never use.
Quick departure from the airport
This is the best benefit of travelling light – straight off the airplane, through security and into the arrival hall. No waiting at the baggage claim area, hoping that the airline hasn’t lost your bag. It’s a great feeling walking past everyone stood waiting for their luggage to arrive.
Easier to get around
There’s no doubt that throughout your trip you will be jumping on and off planes, trains, ferries and coaches, and it is stress free doing this if you’re travelling light. Depending on the size of your backpack, you’ll be able to keep it with you, rather than leaving it in insecure baggage areas.
Instant access to luggage
You’re sat on a 12-hour flight, can’t sleep and the in-flight entertainment is miserable – you then realise you’ve left your iPad in your checked-in luggage, you have no choice but to sit there bored, or, watch more mundane movies – unless, of course you’ve travelled light, and your backpack is in the overhead container, giving you easy access to your items.
Save on fees
Reduce the cost of flights by travelling light and avoiding that rip-off baggage fee, which, on average costs £25 per flight. A growing number of hotels will charge you for storing your luggage, and as much as £3 per bag in some locations. If your flight isn’t until the evening and you have to check out early, it’s much easier carrying a smaller backpack around with you.
Easier flight transfers
When you’re not flying direct to your destination the chances of your checked-in luggage getting there with you is drastically reduced – travelling light means you will have your cabin sized luggage with you at all times.
In some situations on arrival at your transfer airport you will have to collect your luggage and then check-in again before going through security and to the departure gate – this makes the transfer much more time consuming and stressful.
Less chance your luggage will be lost
Lets be honest, if you travel light and take your backpack or suitcase on as cabin luggage, the chances of it being lost are reduced. You’re responsible for it, and are much more likely to take care of it than airport baggage staff.
Obviously, the security of your luggage is down to your own common sense – go leaving it unattended, and someone will take advantage of your stupidity.
Embrace minimalism when packing
When you have a large suitcase or backpack, your goal is to fit as many items in it as you can to fill it up – whereas when you’re limited to say, a 46 litre backpack, or, a small suitcase, you are much more disciplined in what you take with you. Remember that everything you will need for day-to-day travel can be purchased in your destination if you need it.
We’ll discuss tips about how to travel light in a future post.