For this trip to Thailand, my family wanted to pack light for a variety of reasons and decided that a travel backpack would be the best way to achieve that. (Read which travel backpacks we recommend by clicking here.) Traveling with a backpack would make us fast and mobile, free up our hands for the important things (like shopping and eating Thai street food), cost less money on flights for our large family, make public transportation easier, and make sure that we were traveling with less stuff from home, so that we would have space for more souvenirs.
Lugging multiple suitcases to Thailand is touristy. Packing light in an easy travel backpack is touristish.
My family had a lot of overnight backpacking experience, Colorado-folks that we were, so we are used to carrying our homes on our backs like a turtle. However, carry-ons that are airline-compliant are about half the size of camping backpacks, I quickly discovered. And, yes, that is me whining.
Traveling in Thailand with Travel Backpacks
We each had a large travel backpack, that replaced a suitcase, and a small daypack (actually, the kids had “slack-packs”) to carry our wallets, tickets, snacks, phone chargers, books, and all the things that we would want or need to be easily accessible during the flight. The small pack we would stow until the seat in front of us, and the large backpacks we stowed in the overhead compartment (I sound like a flight attendant as I type that).
When traveling for 26 hours worth of flights and layovers, it was convenient to have all of our things with us. We could grab or shed a layer of clothes, brush our teeth, get a hair tie, or swap out a book. We also didn’t have to worry about lost luggage, which would be a rotten way to start a trip abroad.
Having a travel backpack meant that our hands were kept free. This was useful when walking on the streets to a different destination and allowed us to zip around crowds faster, in general.
When we traveled on a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we were also thankful for the backpacks, because traveling with a lot of luggage would have been burdensome to store in such a tight space. You essentially share your train seat/bed with your luggage, and a nice, compact backpack made for a lovely traveling companion.
Packing the Travel Backpack
Inside of our backpacks, we used packing cubes on this trip. Packing cubes basically became drawers inside the dresser that is a backpack. They allowed packing to be organized, everything to tightly pack in, and they stacked in a way that felt like we were fitting more in the backpack than we could without the cubes. We had several colors of cubes so that it could be more visual, too. If we knew our swimsuits were in the blue cube, for example, we could hit the pool or the beach that much faster once we arrived at our lodging. And, if we were sitting on the floor of the Bangkok train station and needed a hair tie (are you seeing a theme here?), instead of dumping out all of our belongings onto the floor for all of Bangkok to see, we just removed the appropriate packing cube, and voila!