If you're a frequent traveler, you're all too familiar with the hassle of checking luggage. Checked bags are heavy, they get lost and they're expensive. More and more people are learning to travel with less and are exploring the globe with just a backpack. With many airlines offering economy prices for no checked luggage, you can save some serious money on international travel. If you're envious of those people that can grab a bag and go, here's how to travel light with just a backpack.
Choose a Backpack That Speaks to You
When searching for the perfect backpack, you want one that speaks directly to you. There's no point in carrying a bag you don't like, just because you think it'll do. You can find many cheap backpacks that are stylish and functional at the same time. Look for a color you like, material you find pleasing and the number of compartments you want. If you're traveling for a couple of weeks, look for a 30-50 liter bag. A backpack you love is worth every penny and it will never leave your side.
Create a List and Minimize It
Creating a packing list is useful before any trip and shouldn't be excluded if you're traveling with just a backpack. Your list should include clothing, shoes, personal products and of course, your passport, money and cell. Then, you'll need to whittle that list down. For example, pack dress shoes, flip flops and wear your walking shoes. Pack three pairs of pants, three shirts and wear a fourth outfit plus a jacket. Add rolled-up underwear and socks and you're good to go.
Take Interchangeable Clothing
Taking interchangeable clothing is the key to packing light. When you pack clothing that all coordinates, you can make several outfits out of just a few pieces. This is smart for any vacation, but especially when backpacking. If you select lightweight, wrinkle-free pieces you'll be a step ahead of the game. Choose clothing in neutral colors such as black, white, beige and navy. You can always dress up an outfit with a scarf or tie.
Purchase Sample Sizes
When you're traveling light, sample-sized items are your best friend. Avoid taking full-sized anything including toothpaste, deodorant or shampoo. If you're a woman, don't go overboard on makeup and hair products. Take the minimum amount needed and pack a tiny perfume sample or rollerball. Another sample-sized item you should take is a pain reliever. You only need enough to get where you're going and back. Unless you're going to be miles from civilization, don't take more medication than necessary.
Know What To Buy Abroad
The beauty of traveling light is that you can always buy what you need when you get to your destination. A perfect example is liquid products such as contact lens solution. When you're flying, airlines don't permit liquid products in the cabin, so take a mini size for the short-term and buy more when you get there. Another product you'll want to wait on is shampoo. Shampoo bottles are cumbersome and take up valuable space in your bag.
Organize Your Pack
With limited space, you need to know exactly how to layer things in your backpack to find them easily. Put your shoes on the bottom so they don't crush anything. Next comes your folded clothing followed by personal items. Many backpacks have a top compartment and that's where you should stash your passport, money and phone. These are the items you need to find in a hurry and you don't want to be digging around inside your bag at customs. Side pockets are perfect to stow snacks and a collapsible water bottle for the airport.
You can save a lot of money and hassle by traveling with a backpack. Once you know how to minimize your items and pack correctly, you'll be amazed at how freeing a backpack is, plus you'll never lose your luggage again!