Five Reasons to Travel Light

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Letting a couple of oversized bags weigh you down benefits no one. The kids grumble when they crawl through the car to finagle into their seats, you groan when the airlines lose or misroute your bags, and figuring out where to stash luggage on your last day in a new city instigates more family drama than a reunion. Need reasons to travel light? I've got them. 

I believe the best way to travel is with an over-the-shoulder bag, or backpack, that stores the essentials. Contrary to belief, you don’t need to bring your entire closet to embark on a successful journey. Throw your necessities in your personal item or carry-on, and board your flight. 

Five Reasons to Travel Light

Two woman at the airport with luggage.
Image credit: Deposit Photos.

If you’re still weary of saying farewell to those checked bags, the list below may change your opinion. Here are five reasons you should abandon the old method of travel and opt for a cleaner, quicker route.

1. Traveling light is Cheaper

Today, most every airline charges for bags, with Southwest Airlines being the current exception.  However, most airlines permit passengers to bring along a personal item. Dimensions vary per airline, though a backpack or smaller shoulder bag usually makes the cut. Without doling out extra cash for your baggage, you can splurge on destination attractions. 

2. Saves Time

When packing a checked bag, how much time do you waste throwing in selected outfits? Swap your packing time out for planning your itinerary. Carrying less allows you to arrive at the airport later as you don’t need to wait in line to check your bags. You also save time when you reach your destination, since you can bypass the baggage claim. 

Here’s an anecdote from my 24-hour stint in Paris: 

My friend and I left our main bags in our Airbnb in London, bringing just a backpack to Paris for breezy traveling. Once we landed in the French city, we took a train and a few buses to find our Airbnb. Following hours of travel, we couldn’t figure out how to unlock the door to our temporary home, our Airbnb host was out of the country, and no one occupying the apartment complex seemed to exist in the same time and space frame as us. We shrugged off the inconvenience and took our backpacks to the Catacombs—a 10-minute walk from the unlockable abode. 

Strolling through the historic cemetery fulfilled our desires (and my cinematic interests, given one of my favorite movies, As Above, So Below, filmed there), that we forgot about the knapsacks we carried on our backs. We walked back to the Airbnb prior to our speakeasy tour to attempt the lock once more. No budge. Again, we sighed and grabbed our backpacks as we set off to the Parisian speakeasy jaunt. 

Following our nighttime tour, we found our way back to the locked apartment, but this time (thankfully), a resident stood in the hallway, arriving home from his job. We implored him with a pathetic French attempt, hoping he’d budge and let us in, and he did. If we had brought our full suitcases, we would have experienced an insufferable day attempting to unlock our stay in The City of Light. 

3. More Freedom 

It’s no secret that extra baggage inhibits your freedom. Metaphorical, and in this case, literal, you sacrifice indulging in activities due to the added weight you hoist over your back. Doing without additional bags lets you explore your options in the airport or during long layovers. In the scenario an airline delays your flight, take comfort in knowing all of your belongings remain on your person, not in the dark void of air cargo. 

4. Ecological

Traveling with less reduces carbon emissions. The more weight a plane carries, the more energy it uses. Limit what you bring on the flight to limit your carbon footprint. 

5. Safer

Increase your safety level by restricting your packing. When you have numerous bags rolling behind you, you can’t watch every person milling about around you. Pickpockets tend to target people who are less aware of their surroundings. Also, hauling multiple pieces of baggage can immediately target you as a tourist. 

About Gabrielle Reeder

Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old and blamed her love for jet-setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and 10 countries by her 26th birthday. She loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues during her trips. 

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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