Everyone needs travel luggage, right? But it’s not the most important gear you’ll need travelling around the world. But can you travel without a bag at all? And we mean without even a daypack, as that would be cheating!
My friend once turned up to a weekend stag do in Barcelona with just a carrier bag. In which he’d bought a toothbrush, pants, socks and a newspaper at the airport. But can you travel bagless beyond this level?
As the British travel game show used to say ‘Don’t forget your toothbrush‘. But unless you are hitting a nudist colony you are going to need clothes. And even if you are going au naturel you’ll still need to travel to your destination, and can’t do that in the buff. So clothing is an essential. But do you need a bag full of spares?
Most travellers would consider footwear an invaluable piece of equipment. They come in many forms, they make up an important piece of everyday life; they are our protection from everything that is discarded and our transport to new experiences.
To me, the hat and the shoe are both essentials. Both are practical, both can be easy to transport depending on type. I once travelled with a fedora, which I crushed after on the first day. Yet it still stood the test of time and provided invaluable sun protection – and a certain element of class.
This got me thinking: could you ever do away with travel luggage ? Seriously, could you go sans bag?
The lack of ease and space could be detrimental in making the traveller aware of what is really necessary. Limitations fuel the imagination. And to not be weighed down by the excessive space of a rucksack, one would have to be methodical and ruthless in packing.
The obvious solution would be pockets. Yet imagine limiting your capacity to these few inches. Once your passport, money and cards have filled one, what then would be essential? Out go the flip-flops, out go the walking boots, a multi-purpose trainer would have to suffice upon our feet, one hat on the head, and perhaps a hooded coat.
A head torch would fit in a pocket but would be deemed superfluous in this trimmed down packing. Unless it becomes a permanent feature of your forehead of course.
It appears the bag-less approach to travel suits the colder climate. You can layer up on clothing, keeping warm and multiplying pocket space. You could even wear boots four sizes too big and stuff the extra space with spare underwear.
As for tropical climes, well you do not need as many clothes, and insect repellent can easily slip in a pocket. Malaria tablets are a tricky prospect in bulk. Plus you can wash and dry clothing overnight.
Mobile phones would probably make it into a pocket. But laptop, camera, Go Pro, selfie stick would stay at home. Many items on an adventure travel packing list that modern travellers seem to value highly would be singled out as expendable. We would truly find what is essential.
A feeling of liberation may incur from not lugging around all the needless items your mother insisted you pack. Without camera or diary, the human capacity to remember would evolve tenfold.
Soap and incense, the mainstays of cleanliness would have to be ditched in favour of quickly washing when and where possible. Waiting for your only pair of clothes to dry could entertain some hilarious moments.
Having said this there are untold problems beyond a traveller’s personal comfort.
Water would be bought, rather than filling your bottle. Adding to the massive issue of recycling. There’d be nowhere to stuff the leftover sausages or bananas, so food would be thrown away at a disturbing rate. Is a hip flask of single malt whiskey still a necessity?
All the bits of bus ticket, maps, city guides, chewing gum, scraps detailing email addresses, all would be discarded on the street for lack of space or quite often bins. Cigarette butts would no longer rot in ones pocket, and an inability to transport souvenirs would put a whole economy into recession.
On that note, I’m buying a new rucksack – and I’m going see how many hats I can fit inside!
So can you travel without a bag at all? Let us know in the comments below. Plus of course check out these adventure holidays worldwide for some travel ideas!