From long lines to delayed flights and security checkpoints (they love patting me down when I go through the scanner), I usually just block out memories of the airport when planning future trips.
A couple of years ago we significantly cut down our airport stress by making one small change. We switched from large luggage to a backpack. Now, no matter how long the trip or how far away, we only bring one backpack each.
There are countless benefits to becoming a backpack traveler:
- No more paying for bags. Nowadays, almost every airline wants to charge extra for luggage, carry-on bags that go in the overhead, assigned seats, boarding early, etc. The less we participate in the nickel and diming, the better.
- No more lost or mishandled bags. With a backpack, our belongings are always with us. There’s no more worrying when gate attendants announce that the flight is full and they may need us to stow our carry-on bags under the plane. There’s also no more worrying if our bag will arrive at our destination when the flight is delayed or cancelled (this, unfortunately, happens a lot).
- Easy boarding and deplaning. We no longer wait in long lines to drop off bags, nor do we have to wait at the bag carousel after landing to retrieve our luggage. We just grab our backpack from under the seat and head out to grab a cab, bus, shuttle or rideshare.
- Easier to walk—or run! It’s much easier to get through the airport when you aren’t lugging a big piece of luggage or a rolling bag. Nine times out of 10, our connection is short and requires a brisk walk, or run, through an unfamiliar airport. It’s so much easier with a backpack as opposed to a rolling carry-on. And, if our ride drops us off a block or two from our destination, it’s no big deal to walk. No one looks twice at someone toting a backpack, but just try rolling a giant suitcase down 5th Avenue!
- No waiting for bags at hotels or on cruises. When you have large bags on a cruise, they require you to leave them outside the ship and have them delivered in the afternoon. Similarly, hotels offer to deliver your bags (or hold them for you). With our backpacks, there’s no waiting or leaving bags. We always have what we need when we need it.
- Less unnecessary stuff. When we only have a backpack, we pack smarter. Think about the last time you brought a big suitcase and the number of items you never wore or used. Packing light means we only bring what we need. If we need to wash something, there’s usually a washer/dryer in our rental/hotel or a laundromat nearby.