One Carry-On

This used to be me. I used to travel with a suitcase, a duffle bag, and a backpack. Not anymore. Now I travel with just one carry-on bag. I went to Paris for 6-days and to Atlanta for 7-days with just one bag. Friends wonder if this is fo’ real….

I have an Osprey Porter 46 travel backpack. It’s the largest allowable carry-on (22″ x 14″ x 9″) according to most airline restrictions.

So why then?
My main reason for packing just one carry-on is to eliminate the possibility of lost or stolen luggage, especially when traveling abroad. Losing your bags can pretty much ruin your trip. My vacations are short, and vacation days are too precious. Secondly, it takes a long time at baggage claim. While other passengers are waiting to see if their luggage got lost, I’m headed out the door. Thirdly, packing light makes you mobile. If you have checked luggage, you’ll need to head straight to your hotel or a locker. I’ll be looking for a café or someplace to eat. (Some of the older boutique hotels in Paris have no elevators. I helped a Japanese tourist carry her 50 lb. bag up 4 floors.)

So how does it work?
I pack clothes for 5 days (not including what I’m wearing on the plane.) This means that I would need to do laundry once for a 12-day trip. My t-shirts and socks are all Nike Dri-FIT. My shorts are hybrid boardshorts. Undies microfiber…. ahem. Everything rolls up into packing cubes. And everything hang dries in a few hours. I rotate two pairs of jeans. I wear my jacket, cap, and my one pair of trekking shoes to the airport.

Part of what makes you a minimalist is “doing without.” I do sacrifice a few things that a lot of people wouldn’t. I don’t bring slippers or an iPad on my travels anymore. I also don’t buy souvenirs and things. I’m too poor. All of my spending money is for food.

Other things that I bring include a sackpack (that I use as my day bag,) my iPhone, a compact umbrella, a Moleskine notebook, power adapters, and a pair of shades. I also bring my own soap & shampoo. (The hotel shampoo is what I use for laundry.)

One carry-on frees me up, both literally and figuratively. The bottom line is to find out what works for you. And if we happen to meet up, don’t worry. I’ll always help you carry your stuff….

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