An image of a man's hand holding a backpack, resting on a wooden deck.


The rattle of the train carriage, passengers with sleepy eyes all heading to distant destinations, the luggage rack overflowing with extra-large suitcases and crumpled duffle bags. The ferry port, with windswept views of the sea, long queues to pass through the baggage scan, the taste of that vending machine coffee- all stale and bitter. The passage through the too-bright airport lounges, announcements echoing through the vast spaces, people with jet lagged faces dragging their possessions.

All these journeys, the baggage allowances and the heaving effort of pulling our things along, many of us find ourselves thinking, would it just be easier to travel with less stuff?

Whether you find yourself filling your suitcase with shoes for all occasions, or you’re just that bit too prepared for a survival situation which you certainly won’t be in while you’re at the resort, most of us could gain something by packing a little less.

Here are three tips on how to travel with only a backpack:

Use Accommodation to Your Advantage

Depending on where you’re staying, perhaps you’ll have laundry facilities, a kitchen, towels, or perhaps none of these. If you’re a hostel traveller, or you’re headed to a big city, then it’s likely that you’ll be able to find laundry facilities. This means no need for travelling with clothing for every day of your trip. Wash your things in the middle of the trip instead, saving on valuable space in your backpack (and meaning you won’t need all seven of those shirts).

Make Your Clothing Count

On the day of travel, wear the items which take up the most room. For many of us, that might be a pair of jeans, or a big jacket. You’ll also want to wear things which accommodate layering, especially if you’re travelling between climates, with big changes in temperature and weather. If you sleep in clothing (and, if you’re in a hostel dorm, you should) make sure to take sleepwear which doubles as loungewear- a pair of loose shorts is always a good call.

Take Multi-Functional Items

Everything you take in your backpack should serve a purpose, even better if it serves as a multi-functional item. A traditional Swiss-Army (Victorinox) Multi-Tool will save everyone, from the survivalist, to the resort-dweller. Scissors, bottle openers, tweezers, nail files, can all be found in these simple pocket tools. Then there are the less obvious multi-functional items: travel towels can be used as makeshift hostel bed curtains, as can hoodies or lightweight jackets, many shower gels can also be used as shampoo.

Do you like to travel with a lot of things? Will you travel with only a backpack in future?

Featured image: Ian Keefe via Unsplash.


  1. What a great post! I havent yet seen anyone write about this, and what great tips you give. Travelling light is such an important way to have a stress free vacation, and is something that I try and do each time I go away!

    Liked by 1 person

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