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10 Reasons Overpacking Sucks That Will Leave You Both Laughing and Crying

10 hilarious reasons overpacking sucks

The last thing I want to worry about when I’m out on a big trip is lugging all my stuff around, keeping it safe and making sure it gets from point A to B. And when I’m on a trip that involves many different stops in a fairly short period of time, the task becomes even more gruelling.

That’s why I tend to pack as little as possible. In fact, both my boyfriend and I pride ourselves on traveling to the far reaches of the globe with nothing more than a carry-on sized bag — and one that weighs in the realm of just 7kg (or 15.5 lbs) plus our extra personal item (which is usually a small bag with laptop and other small bits and bobs, but this does vary by trip and luggage choice).

When we set off to America for a month in May-June, we were both pretty excited with our pack jobs with Pat coming in at around 5.5kg and me coming in at around 7.5kg. I had to pack my laptop to keep up with work, unfortunately, while Pat was able to coast by with just his iPad Mini. However, this total weight included everything all in the one bag.

pat and brooke packed up
Pat and I all packed up!

Since our bags were so tiny, no one asked us to weigh our luggage, but if anyone had mentioned my slight .5 kg overage, I would have just taken my laptop out as my personal extra.

We set off to America, the land of the cheap and plentiful, and well, we couldn’t get enough – and that showed in how our luggage looked on the way home.

brooke overpacked
Overpacked and hating life.

Yeah, not exactly the same, is it?!

We traveled extremely light until we got to my hometown, which is when we had downtime and not a whole lot extra to do besides go out to eat or shop. We did a lot of both, stocking up on clothing basics that would cost us triple down under, and just plain stocking up (our waistlines).

While this would have been fine had we been catching a flight straight back to Sydney from there, we actually still had Boston, NYC and San Francisco on our travel itinerary.

And that, my lovely HPL readers, is when I was reintroduced to the world of not traveling light.

It. Sucks.

Without making you wait any longer, here are 10 reasons why overpacking sucks.

1. You’re weighed down physically, mentally and emotionally.

I’m not joking about that emotionally part. Not only does overpacking make your luggage heavier, it also does a number on the brain. You have to worry about more stuff, and that’s not something that should be taking up energy when you’re trying to explore a new destination. And, if you are constantly worried about your belongings, or you end up losing said belongings, that can ruin a day, week, or trip in general.

2. Carrying your luggage up several flights of stairs turns into a bootcamp-style workout.

Yep, it happened to me in San Francisco – the boutique hotel with no elevator and several flights of stairs. It was not pretty pulling my heavy suitcase up each and every step; I think I pulled a muscle, and I felt all nasty sweaty when it was over.

3. You feel like a jerk when your taxi driver struggles putting your luggage in the car.

4. You may have to pay an extra $50+ at check-in.

It’s even more annoying if this happens when you just spent the last of your foreign currency on your shuttle to the airport. Keep it up and you’ll have little money left in your piggy bank when you get back home.

5. You can’t help yourself.

It’s part of our female travel manifesto. We thoroughly believe you should pack only what you can carry because then you have full control over yourself and belongings when you travel. Needing others to help you pick up or move your luggage makes you vulnerable – especially in the fact that they can run off with it. By struggling to do it yourself, you’re probably less aware of your surroundings and that can make you a target.

6. You take up extra space on public transport.

Three more people could have probably sat down, but you decided to bring 14 pairs of pants for a 14 day trip, making your suitcase the awkward passenger that everyone hates.

7. You lose balance because your backpack is too heavy.

Need I say more?

8. You can’t find what you really want/need to wear.

Oh yeah, that one outfit that should be perfect for the day/activity is busy hiding under a pile of useless clothing and… whatever else you managed to bring. Alternatively, you can’t decide what to wear because you have too much choice!

9. Getting from the train station to your hostel just a few blocks away requires a cab.

Yeah, it’s cool. We like wasting money on unnecessary things, too.

10. You get stuck waiting an hour at the baggage carousel, just to discover your bag didn’t even make it at all!

Meanwhile, those who went carry-on only breezed through the exit and were first in-line to the taxi stand… and are long gone.

CAN YOU RELATE? Share below!

10 (funny) reasons why overpacking sucks!

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. SuburbToSuitcase says

    One word: PREACH! This post is genius – it had me laughing and crying at the same time because I’ve sooo been there too (climbing flights of stairs in the Galápagos, lugging roller bags in Utila, consuming chicken bus space in Belize…ugh). I’m finally down to my #Minaal plus a mini front backpack and my back is loving it. Great post!

  2. katja says

    this is so true it hurts. but hey, though i’ve never done this myself, i’ve been told it can be cheaper and easier when shopping abroad to just mail things back home. anyone tried this?

    • Brooke says

      Hi Katja, I think it depends on where you’re sending the package from/to. Sending anything to Australia is going to cost a lot. If you’re not excessively overweight, it might be better to just bring it on the plane. It’s also something you have to weigh value-wise. So, are the items you’re sending back home WORTH xx dollars to send? So many variables.

  3. Jessica Lippe says

    Truth in every sentence.

    I also pride myself in packing lightly, and I’m always carry-on-only in my travels. The exception is when I move. While I move with a lot less stuff than most people, I move in unconventional (AKA cheaper and more adventurous!) methods. I have many stories of having to carry way to many belongings in airports and bus stations, but my favorite story is when I took advantage of the fact that the US has no weight limit for domestic carry-ons. I packed my little suitcase with about 50 pounds worth of books and other heavy items (this prevented my checked luggage from becoming overweight). It was almost impossible to lift into the overhead compartment, and slowed me down while going through big airports, but when a TSA agent inspected my bag, she was impressed! She had never seen a packing job like that before, and even said I should win some kind of award for it!

    Carry-on-only may not always be possible depending on the situation, but having the skills to pack efficiently will always be beneficial!

  4. Kacey says

    i am completely guilty of over packing! but i just can’t stand the feeling like im missing something so.. why not just pack my entire closet! right ? #SHOPAHOLIC

  5. Glamourous Traveller says

    This post made me smile =)

    One more reason to not be the one with the overpacked bags! Because you might be left as the last one in EVERY tour group you go on

    Nothing as attractive as a girl running after a group looking like a turtle yelling “wait for meeeeeeeeee!!!”

  6. Natalie says

    Hello Brooke,

    How expensive is it to mail items from Australia or New Zealand to the US? This is my plan for my upcoming trip. I’m attempting to pack under 7kg for 3 weeks and I know I will be shopping. In Ireland, depending on the store (Galway Crystal), they would mail things back for you.


  7. Abby Woody says

    Ugh, so true. Taking up too much space on public transit particularly spoke to me. My gigantic 60L backpack used to be what I traveled with no matter what and I particularly remember trying to navigate crowded Beijing transit with that thing. Never again!

  8. Rowena says

    Thanks for yet another great article!

    I laughed so much – this was us on our honeymoon – too much stuff. In London we were offered a free upgrade on the hire car from a little hatch to a MX5 sports convertible (awesome, right?) because it was our honeymoon, but couldn’t accept it because our luggage wouldn’t fit! We had waaaaayy too much stuff for just 3 weeks and only 2 people (eg an enormous bag pack each, plus small backpack each plus a soft duffel bag almost 1 metre long). Embarrassing. You can tell I was scarred by the experience as it still embarrasses me, and it was over 11 years ago. 🙂

    Now we are heading off from Australia to the US for Christmas and nearly 3 weeks of travelling with two kids in tow. My mission is that we each travel with only a carry on size bag, so if the kids refuse to carry or wheel their own bags we can still manage… It is not too hard packing for the kids as their clothes are small so easily fit, but my husband is finding it challenging (he does love to bring a pair of undies plus spares for every single day!). So, I am completely loving this site as it has so many terrific tips. Thank you, 🙂

    Now the question – we were planning on mailing back clothing items (shirts, shorts, etc) from LA before we head to the East coast and the ‘real’ cold. From reading this, maybe it would be better we just carry it with us? But I’d rather not. Is there a site like the aust post site for US mailing? As if we can estimate the cost, maybe that will help.

    Thanks so much!

  9. Rowena says

    Thanks Brooke!

    Just checked the USPS site – ouch! Postage is expensive, I think we’ll just have to pack even lighter than planned, to make sure we have space for purchases. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  10. Rebekah says

    Bahaha, this post is hilarious. I’m determined to never overpack again. I’m sick of not wearing all the clothes I take with me. Carry-on only for me now.

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