Pac-Man Lite

Travel is my passion. And packing light is my mission. I only fly with one carry-on.

Why? Two reasons.
1. To eliminate the possibility of lost or stolen luggage. I never check my bag. I just bring one carry-on. Because my vacations are always short, losing luggage on Day 1 would pretty much ruin the trip.

2. To be mobile. As soon as I deplane, I’m out the terminal. Because my bag is a backpack, I do not need to drop it off at a hotel. I can go straight to the museum or café. I also do not use a “rolly” bag, which does not work on stairs or cobblestone.

How does minimalist packing work?

Laundry. I pack clothes for 5 days (not including what I’m wearing on the plane.) This means that I would need to do one load of laundry for a 12-day trip. My t-shirts are Nike Dri-FIT and my socks are SmartWool. My shorts are hybrid boardshorts. Undies microfiber…. ahem. Everything hang dries in a few hours.

The Bag:

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. I like that it opens fully, giving you access to all of your contents. Comes with stow away shoulder straps. It’s been one of my best investments.

Packing cubes:

Packing cubes help keep you organized. They compress your clothes and save a lotta space. I slip a Bounce dryer sheet into each one to keep things “fresh.” Ziploc bags will work.

Travel wardrobe:

I wear my bulky clothes on the plane. I rotate two pairs of dark blue jeans. I am fond of my baseball cap.


I bring just one pair. I know that this is the deal breaker for some. I wear trekker shoes on trips. Great for walking around the city or exploring nature. Super comfortable and waterproof. They’re versatile and can match jeans or shorts.


I wear my jacket on the plane. It’s usually cold. I recommend a black jacket. It’s neutral, and dressy enough to get by.

My iPhone is the only device that I travel with. I’ll bring AC adapters and occasionally a GoPro.


I pack a collapsible daysack inside of my backpack. I always have an umbrella with me. I hate rain. I use a Moleskine notebook for journaling. Toilet paper is an absolute must. I will also bring a Santa Clause hat for my next Christmas card.

• My toiletries kit has a hook for hanging. Sometimes there’s no counter space. (Sometimes there’s no counter.)
• I print a copy of my passport for my bag, and I email it to myself.
• I stash an ample supply of Airborne Chewables to stay healthy.
• ChapStick & sunscreen will save you.
• No need to carry a water bottle or heavy flask. Bottled water is available everywhere.
• TSA pre√. Take the express line and never take shoes off again.

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 bring back souvenirs and “stuff.” I’m too poor. All of my spending money is for food.

This kind of packing is not for everyone, but it works. It’s so “freeing.” You should try. Pack light….

2 thoughts on “Pac-Man Lite

  1. You have so much street (air/travel?) cred! Thanks for sharing your tips. My wife and I did a 2 week trip to Europe with just carry ons. We were not as organized as you but managed somehow. I will put into practice what I learned in your post on our next trip 🙂

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