Core Principles of One Bag Travel

keep-calm-and-carry-on-royal-blueThe most asked question I get asked by newcomers is “What bag should I get to travel light?” I usually give them a list of choices depending on their budget and other preferences.

Than I let them go and get frustrated and they eventually come back and ask what they’re doing wrong.

It’s at that point I smile and say, “One bag travel is not about the bag. It’s not about the packing list. It’s about the mindset.”

And then I give them the basics:

1) You must pack only those items you truly need.

2) You must limit your “what if” items–those items you take “just in case.”

3) For every item you pack, you have to ask yourself, “do I really need this?” and “will I use it enough to warrant carrying it my entire trip?”

4) You must be willing to do laundry along the way.

5) You must make sure the items you pack are meant for one bag travel. Are your clothes easily washed, quick drying and wrinkle free? Are they of good enough quality that they will last the entire trip and then some? Do the colors mix and match so you can do with less clothes yet have a larger choice when combining items.

6) Are you willing to take along just enough toiletries to get you started and then replenish as you go?

7) Everything you eventually take with you must fit in one, wheel-less*, carry on bag measuring no more than standard carry-on dimensions:  22″ x 14″ x 9″/56cm x 35cm x 22cm. (This will vary depending on the airline you are flying.)  The use of a second, smaller, personal item is optional. (Gold stars to those who can put their personal item inside their carry-on.)

One-bag/light travel is not for everyone.  And after trying it, it’s not for you, that’s fine. Everyone should travel in a way that makes the happy.

If this type of travel is for you, then I hope this website will be of help.

One more thing, I know there are many of you who prefer a wheeled carry on size bag and you’re wondering if this site has anything to offer you. The answer is a resounding yes. While we prefer to travel without wheels, the principles of one bag travel will work for you as well. Just skip the wheel-less part.  But don’t ask us to recommend a wheeled bag.  🙂

2 Responses to Core Principles of One Bag Travel

  1. Alan B says:

    Absolutely “mindset…principles” are the issue. Beyond that, maximum carry-on size often gets quoted as 46 liters, though the dimensions frank cites above actually calculate to 43 liters. As to the wheeled versus non-wheeled differential, using two similar bags from one very good manufacturer, Osprey:
    – the wheeled bag capacity is 6 liters less
    – the wheeled bag at 6.0 lbs. weighs nearly twice as much
    – the wheeled bag at $230 costs more than twice as much
    – the wheeled bag will not into the overhead bin of a “regional” airliner, unlike its wheel-less cousin
    and in general:
    – the wheeled bag does not usually fold for storage, but most wheel-less bags do
    – the wheeled bag really doesn’t like terminal or hotel stairs

  2. Jodi says:

    For sure! One Bag is about getting out there, having fun and relaxing! The concept is really quite liberating in preparing, using and even when you return home. Fewer things to wash, put away and store. I love it! You learn that we have a few basic needs, that are really easy to meet, and the rest is all gravy, less waiting, money saved, less hassle, more time to actually do whatever it is you travel for. Remarkable! Keep Calm and Carry On! Indeed!

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