How to Travel With Just a Backpack
Travelling light, with nothing but your backpack, can be extremely liberating. When you travel light, you’re often able to go off the beaten path and find some hidden gems that you wouldn’t otherwise find. However, most of us are prone to overpacking and it can be difficult to fit all of your clothing, supplies, and other materials in one bag. Luckily, with a little practice, you can master the art of packing light so a backpack is all you’ll need to get through almost any trip. Here are a few tips on traveling with just a backpack.
Choose a reliable backpack
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right backpack. Look for a backpack that’s as big as you need, but will also meet the size requirements for an airline carry-on. Comfort is an important factor, so consider a backpack with padded straps to reduce the strain on your shoulders, with straps that clasp together across your chest and comfy waist straps. These all help to manage the weight more effectively and help prevent injury. It’s important to take fit into consideration as well. Most manufacturers typically use torso length to determine sizing, so have a friend measure you before you shop.
Organize your backpack
Packing efficiently isn’t just about finding the right backpack. Organizing your backpack can save you time, space, and even stress when you’re on the road. Most backpacks have compartments or dividers that allow you to easily separate your clothing from toiletries and other items, making everything easier to find on the go. If your backpack doesn’t have enough compartments consider a set of lightweight packing cubes. Not only will they help keep your items organized, they will also compress them in order to take up less space. Pack what you need most often, close to an opening or on the outside pocket and pack your bulkier items in the bottom. Leave some wiggle room for anything you might buy whilst travelling otherwise you end up carry another bag or two as well.
Be selective with what you pack
As you pack, be selective. Think about what you really need. While you may be used to changing your outfit multiple times each day, try to limit yourself to three clothing changes total: one to wear that day, one to be washed, and one that will be drying. Try to stick to just two pairs of shoes if you can, that way you’ll only have to carry one pair in your backpack at a time. Buy a sports towel that saves weight and space as well being quick drying and include a dry bag either to line your rucksack or to hold items that become wet (or smelly!). Pack your bag several days before you travel and carry it around a bit. Over the following days you’ll work out what you don’t really need, in order to shed some weight!
Pack multi purpose/functional clothing & items
Bring pieces of clothing that can be worn several different ways. For example, you might wear a sundress to dinner and then use it as a bathing suit cover-up at the beach the next day or a polo shirt that can be dressed up or down, maybe with a light travel jacket. Use layers (t-shirt/long sleeve/thin jumper) rather than carrying a heavy jumper or jacket (assuming you’re not in a cold climate); trousers that convert to shorts; a floppy sun hat, mulitool (keep in check-in baggage), a drinks bottle that can filter water (15% off with code YOG15). Stick with reliable brands that are known for carrying the basics like Old Navy. Most of their clothing is lightweight and made of cotton so it’s easy to roll up and carry in your bag. If you don’t want to splurge on new items, you can shop Old Navy styles for less (USA) at online thrift stores (UK) and use the extra money towards your trip!
Maximize your space by wearing larger items like jeans or jackets (if you feel you can’t travel without them) when you’re on the go. There are even packable jackets that fold into bags that won’t take up any extra space in your bag.
Bring the smallest items you can use
One of the easiest ways to save space in your backpack is to bring the smallest versions of your necessary items possible. Think travel-size tubes and bottles to add less bulk to your bag-you can always buy more in-country and go back to basics with travel soap rather than shampoo bottles. Keep this same philosophy in mind when it comes to your tech gadgets as well. Do you need a laptop, smartphone and camera-what’s most important you, high quality images, social media or a big screen!? Make the most of your smartphone by getting great apps and tips about how to optimise the camera.
Finally, look after your backpack and it will give you years of services and lots of great stories-it’s your travel companion that doesn’t answer back!