My travels to and from across the earth have taught me one thing: Travelling light is the only way to go. I take this to the extreme and have never checked a bag once. My case is so extreme that a leading London newspaper once interviewed me about my travelling ways and habits.
Now after much cajoling from friends and family, I am placing some helpful pointers in this blog post. Here I hope illustrate the great versatility traveling with carry on alone can have and impart these 5 tips that will help you master light travel.
In This Post:
How to Pack with Just a Carry-On
Over the past 9 years I have travelled across continents and never carried more than a carry-on bag. This has greatly improved the travel experience. I check in for flights faster and can leave the airport just the same. I have also proven that living out of a travel for up to 3 weeks is possible – with a single laundry trip and I regularly travel for a full week with a single bag, wearing the same shirt twice.
I have gotten so use to this compact lifestyle that, given a large suitcase, I would not be sure what to put inside it all. If you practice the five following steps you can be a compact traveler as well.
Get the Right Bag
One of the most important aspects of compact travelling is the getting the right suitcase for the job. If you learn anything from this post, may it be the value of the Lululemon bag. I have personally used this option for the past 10 years and have enjoyed better travel experiences because of it.
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There are padded compartments for your laptop, waterproof sections for the shoes and a dozen other small pockets and compartments to hold everything your will need. Unlike many other soft shelled travels bags, the Lululemon bag holds its shape well and will protect fragile objects inside from impacts. They also have a very comfortable strap system that makes carrying your bag easy. If you want function and beauty then check out these beautiful products.
Travel Size Everything
Now that you have your bag selected it time to begin planning what you will be putting inside, or more importantly, what you won’t be packing. I have found that so much valuable space can be occupied by excessive toiletries. My advice, travel-size EVERYTHING!
I own a tiny hairbrush, collapsible toothbrush, miniscule deodorant and tiny container of toothpaste. I buy all may make up in the small sample forms along with the larger one and if I see a smaller option of something I use often, I place that on my needs list.
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I also employ a small collection of small bottles and containers for carrying shampoo, conditioners, sunscreen and other liquids that will be important in my destination. This saves valuable space and ensures that I am within my liquid limit when travelling on planes. This is important when flying with carry-on alone.
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More importantly, keeping these items stored and at the ready at home means that packing up and leaving town is always a simple task.
Of course somethings just can’t be minimized. Clothing can’t be shrunk down but it can be rolled. I was skeptical at first, but after I tried it a few times I could hardly believe it. Try and you too will find that rolling clothes and towels saves space and you too will roll everything
I have also heard good things from other compact travelers about packing cubes. I have no experience with cubes, but I imagine they are worth a try.
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Only Bring what’s Necessary
Don’t worry I won’t suggest anything like wearing the same pair of underwear for two-weeks, But, I am going to suggest you find a pair of shoes that will fit any occasion. A single jacket and for goodness sake, the hairdryer is unnecessary.
I used to travel with everything I thought I needed. I guess I assumed that Hawaiians had yet to discover shampoo or that Italians never used hair dryers. But, I eventually found that all these things are typically found in the hotel room or can be borrowed from the front desk, if needs be.
Above all, leave those items you might need “just in case” at home. If you aren’t sure you will be using it, you can probably go on without it. And if I really did need a hairdryer or specific shampoo, I have found it is sometimes easier to purchase a compact, cost-effective option at my destination.
Plan a Capsule Wardrobe
When I first began travelling I thought I needed a different outfit for each day of the week. But, I soon found out that I could combine certain elements of my outfits to coordinate with others and therefore cut down on some of the extra accessories, shoes and such. As if by magic, my carry-on bag shed a few kilos and opened up more packing space.
So plan on bringing one pair of shoes with you and make it the most versatile pair you have. If you read my post on summer in London, you know I think the world of French Sole Flats. These elegant shoes can be dressed up or down and suit every occasion.
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And plan to dress in layers. There is no reason to bring heavy and light jackets with you. Consider your location, if there is unpredictable weather bring a single suitable jacket, and select your other layers accordingly.
In the end, I hope this simple guide travelling light saves you time and enhances the enjoyment of your world travels. Finally, if you are still having a hard time reducing your travel needs, lay it all out on your bed, and then put half of it back in the costs and drawers. Your first experience will be fun and adventurous.
There will always be something left behind or compensations that might need to be made, but stick with it and you will be a pro soon enough.