When my family went to Thailand for the first time, we wanted to pack lighter than we ever had. For 10 days of travel, we only took one carry-on travel backpack each for our luggage. This was quite different from our “truckload of camping gear” style, or our “suitcase, plus a carryon, plus a duffel” style. It was even different from wilderness backpacking where we would plan to pretty much wear the same thing every day, and only be out for two or three nights. This was TEN days. ONE backpack. This was going to be a big deal for us, so we needed to do it right.

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AUTHOR

Kristen Cummings

CATEGORY

Gear Reviews, General Travel Tips, Kids & Family

DESTINATION

Thailand

POSTED ON

June 19, 2021

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.

Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai Thailand with Travel Backpacks

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!

Travel Backpacks - Luggage for Thailand
Kristen Cummings, Blogger and Author of Touristish

I’m Kristen… your tour guide that will lead you away from the crowds of tourists and toward unique experiences that leave you only feeling touristish.

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Touristish Disclaimer

Running Out of Room in our Luggage

One of the biggest highlights of Thailand for teenagers with allowance burning a hole in their pockets was the amount of affordable shopping there was available at the night markets. Their meager allowance and savings went a long way in buying all kinds of sassy, fun clothes, toys, and jewelry. About four days into the trip we had already outgrown the backpacks. At a night market in Chiang Mai, we bought a cute elephant duffle bag at the night market for about $3.00 to hold our souvenirs. By the end of the trip, the family had acquired a couple duffle bags and would start checking the backpacks onto flights. By that point we weren’t as concerned about lost luggage, teeth brushing, or hair ties. The duffles still kept our hands free and carried the essentials while we checked the rest.

Do you prefer traveling with a backpack or luggage? Leave a comment below!

Luggage for 5 people after 10 days in Thailand
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About the Author

Kristen Cummings, Blogger and Author of Touristish

I’m Kristen… your tour guide that will lead you away from the crowds of tourists and toward unique experiences that leave you only feeling touristish.

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Great West Vacation - Custom Travel Vacation Itineraries to the Great American West

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