In these days of baggage fees and lost luggage, we still see people at the airport checking three bags or more for two people. Unless you are traveling with specialized equipment (e.g. you’re a professional photographer or a professional musician in a band), you can pack for a week or more with one carry-on bag.
Unless you’re traveling to a place that has few places to purchase supplies, you can leave out many of those liquids that people carry. Since you’re only going to be bringing a carry-on bag, you’ll have to fit all of your liquids into that one quart-sized bag that you are allowed. Why not leave the shampoo, hairspray, and toothpaste at home and buy those things when you arrive at your destination? This will lighten your load a bit and allow you to buy and use what the locals use.
What are some advantages of traveling light? One of the more obvious benefits is monetary. With the exception of a few discount airlines (Ryanair and Spirit Airlines come to mind), you’ll save money by not checking bags. You could save upwards of $100 for two people on a round-trip fare, even if you only check one bag per person each way.
If you don’t check your luggage, it stays under your control; therefore, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll have items lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. This is a huge bonus, in our opinion. We feel that, if airlines are going to charge for checking luggage, they should be almost perfect in getting the luggage to where it is supposed to end up. This is not the case, however, and until they become almost perfect, we’re not of a mind to take the gamble (plus lose the money we paid to have the luggage transported to somewhere other than where we are).
It is much easier to use public transportation when you arrive at your destination if you are not lugging around several suitcases. Our carry-on bags have straps that convert the bag to a backpack for ease of carrying. This is so nice if you have to carry your bags for any distance or to get from one airport, bus, or train terminal to another when traveling.
One of the things we really dislike doing when we’re traveling is waiting for our luggage to arrive at baggage claim. If we don’t have any bags checked, we don’t have to waste our time. Standing at the baggage carousel and jostling with other travelers to get a spot along the belt so you can wait for your luggage is not the stress-free start to a great vacation.
If you are not planning to use public transportation or will, at some point in your trip, be renting a vehicle to drive yourself, the less luggage you have, the smaller the vehicle you can hire. A smaller vehicle gets better gas mileage (so it’s greener to operate and will save you money on fuel) and is easier to maneuver and park. It’s a very good idea to keep all of your luggage in the trunk/boot of your vehicle out of sight, so potential thieves will not be so easily enticed to select your vehicle as a target.
Reducing the amount of “stuff” you take with you on your trips will help you reduce the stress and hassles involved in trying to take everything with you. For us, that’s a huge pay-off!