What is an idiomatic way of expressing traveling light/heavy?

I imagine there is a more pithy way to express this than 荷物【にもつ】が軽【かる】い or 荷物【にもつ】が重【おも】い, respectively.

  • There is an idiom "travel light", but I've never heard of "travel heavy".
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 23:53
  • It's uncommon, but for example, "Make sure you don't travel heavy." (in other words, don't bring too many things) Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 0:06
  • I think "traveling (or packing) light" is discussed more often than "traveling heavy" mainly because its a goal of many people (e.g. frequent travelers, backpackers) to have light bags,. In contrast, nobody intentionally makes their bags heavy (maybe scuba diving? haha).
    – haksayng
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 0:19

4 Answers 4


I'm not aware of any such idioms, but I'd like to point out that people generally use 少ない・多い to describe 荷物 in the context of traveling light/heavy.

A somewhat different way of saying traveling light might be 身軽(みがる - light-bodied)


To say to travel light:


You can see it used in this article here.

"Travelling heavy" is uncommon to say, mainly because it is discussed less and because the goal is often to "travel light", so I think it is hard to interpret that phrase by itself.

It is probably best said in other words, depending on what you want to say (i.e. "Don't bring heavy luggage", etc.)


I think "軽装(けいそう)/軽装備(けいそうび)で旅行(りょこう)する" is one way of rendering "to travel light". "軽装" simply means "light clothing", and "軽装備" means "light equipment".

The opposite could be "重装備で旅行する", but this might mean not only that your luggage is heavy but also you are more than well-prepared, for example, for protection from elements, accidents, and so on.

  • Just in case you didn't know, we have a way to use furigana. (However, it's up to you to decide whether you want to use it in your answer.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 21:35
  • 「軽装(備)」「重装(備)」は、普通は、着用する服や鎧のことを指し、軍隊や登山やゲームの文脈で使います。普通の観光旅行をしている人に使った場合、RPGのキャラクタに見立ててちょっと冗談ぽく使っているような印象があります。
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 4:36

身軽 is a good word to use. However, 身重(みおも)means a completely different thing, "She is pregnant."

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