We’ll be honest — we used to see people traveling with massive backpacks and wonder… Don’t they get tired and achy? How do they fit everything they need into a backpack? It wasn’t until we tried it ourselves on our trip across Europe that we realized what we’d been missing! No, we didn’t get back pain, and now it’s tough for us to imagine going back to a suitcase. So before you take off on your next trip, here are six reasons why you should ditch the suitcase and embrace the backpacking life!
Backpacks offer incredible mobility. Once you arrive at your destination, you can immediately start exploring without having to worry about lugging a suitcase around uneven streets (not to mention that broken suitcase wheels are not fun!) Also, when leaving a train station, there often aren’t escalators or elevators, and hauling a heavy suitcase up the stairs is very cumbersome.
Backpacks keep your hands free for taking pictures and video, navigating city streets, buying tickets for public transportation, etc. It’s also much easier to navigate crowds instead of trying to roll a suitcase through a packed group of people.
And who doesn’t love all the pockets? You’ll no longer be digging through a messy suitcase because backpacks are the best way to keep your belongings organized.
2. Shed the Unnecessary Baggage
How often have we overpacked for a trip, only to realize that we could have done without those extra 2 pairs of pants and extra shirts? We all know it’s better to pack light, and backpacking helps to actually put this into practice. After all, it’s sunnah. The Prophet Muhammad (S) did not own much clothing and lived very simply. Having limited space in your backpack forces you to remember this not only while packing but also throughout your entire trip. You’re less likely to succumb to materialism and buy unnecessary (but tempting!) souvenirs if you don’t have the space to take them home. After all, we are mere travelers on this earth and shouldn’t get attached to it.
Carrying all of your belongings on your back can be seen as carrying your deeds on the Day of Judgment. It’s a constant reminder that each of us is responsible for our own load and that when we leave this earth for our final destination, we’ll only have our deeds with us. Will our scales be heavy with good or bad deeds?
4. Embrace the Freedom and Spontaneity
Last-minute change in plans? Not a problem — just grab your backpack and go. When we were traveling across Europe by rail last year, we had to change our itinerary a few times based on train strikes or other delays. Thankfully, when you’re carrying everything you need on your back, it’s easy to go with the flow, book another room at a hostel, and spend an extra day or two exploring new areas.
5. Save Your Money
For the most part, backpacking makes traveling much more affordable. It’s a lot easier to stay in smaller, cheaper accommodations like hostels or AirBnb. You can also pass up the expensive taxis and hop on and off public transportation. We spent two months in east/southeast Asia earlier this year and only used a cab once! This means you can save your money to extend your travel time or splurge on things that actually make your trip worthwhile, like indulging in the world’s finest sweets in France or enjoying one-of-a-kind adventure activities in New Zealand!
6. Stay Healthy
You’re going to be walking around a lot more than usual, from airport to metro to train station and throughout the city. You’re pretty much exercising with a massive weight on you — effortlessly! This increases your lower body strength and endurance, boosts your mood, and ensures that you sleep well at night because you’ve been active all day.
Comfort isn’t an issue — most backpacks have an internal frame for ergonomic support and are adjustable to your specific height, so it’s much better for your back and posture than leaning over on one side to drag a suitcase.
As a final note, taking a suitcase might be more practical if you want to stay in one place long-term and just relax, or if you need to travel with a lot of items. But if you’re looking for an affordable, convenient way to explore the world, backpacking is the way to go.
Convinced you need to ditch the suitcase, but not sure where to start? Keep an eye out for our upcoming post on backpacking tips for Muslim travelers!