Traveling light can give you more freedom.

It’s easy to get carried away with excitement as you plan your next big trip away. You find yourself obsessed with travel items and gadgets to fill the huge shiny new backpack you’ve just bought. But do you really need them?

“overpacking tops the list of biggest travel mistakes” according to – a great site for anyone looking to travel light.

The benefits of traveling with few items and a small backpack is often overlooked, especially by the first time travelers. It is an important issue that can have a massive impact on your trip.

Here are our 5 reasons backpackers should travel light:

1. Speed

Traveling with a small and light backpack enables you to run for buses, trains, trams and planes without feeling like you’ll collapse will exhaustion in the process.

2. Flexibility

Traveling light gives you more flexibility as you can often carry your backpack on board transport without having to place it in the luggage compartment. You can hop on the back of motorbikes without falling off or walk rather than having to catch a cab.

3. Security

If you’ve only got one bag to look after you can keep an eye on it more easily. Having less items in your backpack (especially expensive ones) means that you can relax and not be stressed about your precious belongings either being stolen, lost or damaged.

4. It saves time

You’ll find that you can pack your backpack extremely fast (and probably with your eyes closed), it isn’t a hassle to unpack, repack and move on. If your backpack is small and you have packed light, you are much more likely to know where anything is without spending time digging around in an 80 litre monster of a pack.

5. Freedom

One of the major pluses of taking a small backpack that is packed light with no expensive or precious items is that you don’t have to worry about it. If it gets stolen you won’t care that much, after all you were only carrying clothes and basic items that you can buy again on the road. You don’t have to stress about where to safely store it. If you feel like heading else where on a whim you will have a quick, hassle free packing job and you’ll be on your way. Overall it gives you a sense of freedom and in the back of your mind you know you don’t have to lug around a huge backpack, wasting time, energy and stressing you out.

Have you had any travel experiences traveling light? Let us know in the comments below.

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Paul Dow

Hello! I'm Paul, an award winning travel blogger who focuses on solo adventure travel and has a passion for using new technology. I write, take photos and produce videos about travel, food, craft beer, coffee and adventure.

  • Hauling around one 70 liter backpack right now in Australia definitely feels like too much. Along with being heavy, I find it’s too big to really do anything with.
    I especially like not having much though, because it’s less to worry about. I try to keep a mental checklist going of my possessions so I’ve got some idea of where all my stuff is. The more stuff you have the longer that list is. Keep it short!

  • TravMonkey

    Hi Ross,

    Thanks for the comment and great pointers.

    I took a 43 litre backpack on my last big trip that lasted for 2 years. I found it to be a good size… perhaps 50litres would be ideal.


    Paul @

  • 50 L is what I used when I traveled around the world and it served me fine. If you are using anything above 60 L, you probably have too much in your backpack.

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  • Ben

    I try to keep my pack weight below 7kg as then you can carry on and save dollars when flying with all the budget airlines.

  • Hi Ben,

    How are things? Enjoying "normal" life after all that travel?

    Good point about the weight factor… I think 7kgs is a pretty good weight.. Still always amazes me the pointless items people pack with them.

    Paul @

  • Great tips here Mr TravMonkey! I'm going travelling in April for the first time and I need to buy a backpack. I'll aim for light and compact.

    Also Ben great tip about the weight, I'm thinking spare undies and a bar of soap!!

  • stefan

    So come on then, what would you suggest taking on a 7kg limit? It almost seems unfeasibly light…

  • What do you need to take? Then half it!

    Check out great resource if you really want to travel light!

  • Joe

    I am looking to spend the rest of my life vagabond traveling. I am 22 what all should I pack for a trip that has no end?