I’ll be the first to admit that when I travel, I tend to overpack. People sometimes make fun of me for it, (as if guys aren’t supposed to do this), but I don’t let that change my ways. There are definite advantages to overpacking and they far outweigh the advantages of underpacking. In a way, I admire people that can travel for a week with only one carry-on bag, but they’re giving up a lot. First there’s the preparedness. No matter what the weather or what activities I may take part in, I’m prepared. Others shiver, boil, or have to sit on the sidelines while us overpackers have fun. Then, there’s the free work out I get by having to lift heavier, larger bags. It’s hard to get to the gym while I travel, and some places don’t even have gyms.
I know that overpacking can lead to inconvenience, especially when you travel to unfamiliar places. You have to lug the bags around awkward spots, put them in cabs, carry them on trains through adverse situations. But that builds character and lets people know that you're a tourist not to be messed with. With more clothes, you can wear a larger variety while you travel so that you don’t look like you have no fashion consciousness. You won't be the guy in tennis shoes and khakis. Of course, you can’t be an inconsiderate overpacker. If you’re taking a road trip with three other people in a car, you can’t use up half the trunk space. But there have been many times where, the overpacking guy was the one with the entertainment or the tools that saved the day. Things like extra chargers, music, umbrellas, and medicine all take up space but are completely functional. Overpackers can be heroes. Think about the worst case scenario. Who’s going to be the guy you can count on? It’s the person who packs the most stuff in his or her luggage.
We still get the ridicule from underpackers. Sometimes we make people have to wait for our luggage to come on to the carousel, but if you’re going to check in a bag, (and pay for it), you might as well get your money’s worth. That way, you’re not the guy taking up all the overhead space inside the plane. Those people are even worse than overpackers.
A hidden benefit to overpacking is that you learn how to fit things into available space. This is immensely helpful in the case of moving or packing a car for a long trip. I consider myself an expert at space utilization, and although I may get some of the skill hereditarily from my father, practice makes me better. After all, you want to use the stuff you have as much as possible and taking it with you makes you feel more like you’re at home while you’re away.
So to the rest of you overpackers out there, keep at it. Fight for your right to be the one with the stuff that can make your trip more enjoyable, even if it might take extra effort.