Outside of bragging rights and a general sense of accomplishment, does packing in this ultra light fashion have any real world, tangible benefits? Let me tell you a story about how it saved me a mountain of a headache in Greece.
Back in 2010, my girlfriend (now wife) and I took a Contiki trip to the Greek islands for 2 weeks. Contiki is awesome by the way. If you’re under 35, definitely go on a Contiki tour at some point in your life. So much fun.
Back to the story. We’re in Greece. It was our last day in Mykonos, and we didn’t have anything planned for the day other than catching a 3 PM ferry to Santorini with the rest of our 30 member tour group. So we slept in and casually made our way to the breakfast area with some time to spare before the hotel staff closed it down for the morning.
As we got our food and sat down, we saw one of our fellow tour mates Zack scurry into the buffet line and furiously assemble a makeshift breakfast sandwich in an obvious hurry.
“What’s going on Zack?” I asked. “You look like you’re in a rush this morning.”
He replied, “bus leaves in 10 minutes guys. You might want to get your bags or you’ll get left here.”
Thinking he was playing a joke on us, my girlfriend went to the lobby to verify this new-to-us information. Less than a minute later as I saw her hauling ass back to our breakfast table, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach and knew something was amiss. Turns out our room had somehow been left off of the wakeup call list informing our group of a significant schedule change. Uh oh.
We now had about 9 minutes and change to get on the bus with all our stuff or risk either getting left behind or being responsible for our group of 30 missing our ride to the next island.
The two of us scarfed down a mouthful of eggs and sprinted a bee line to the room. Clothes hanging everywhere. Toiletries all over the bathroom. Sandals on the balcony. Bags completely empty. Still kinda hung over from a late night. And 7 minutes until departure.
It’s all good though!
Why? Because we each had only one small backpack we were responsible for. All the clothes, toiletries, and various other accoutrements got dumped straight into the bag without the slightest regard for organization. Because our bags weren’t packed to full capacity to start with, we had no problem stuffing everything in haphazardly. The total time it took to go from completely empty bag with clothes all over the room to fully packed: less than 3 minutes. After a brief but well-deserved high five, we scooted to the lobby, dropped off the room key, and made it to the bus with a few minutes to spare. Crisis averted!
Would we have still made the bus if we brought along monster bags like most people on our tour? Maybe or maybe not. But I guarantee it would have been way more stressful. By taking so little stuff to begin with, dealing with this unexpected snafu was manageable and efficient. I wouldn’t want it any other way.