I believe anyone can travel with nothing but carry-on luggage.
I’m completely devoted to carry-on only luggage – you've probably already figured that out by now! I think that only using carry-on adds tremendous value to your travel. Just think...
With all the advantages of carry-on luggage, why then do people still insist on packing huge suitcases? Here are some of the best excuses I've heard!
“I don’t want to look the same every day.”
But you DO look the same every day! You look tired from lugging your suitcase everywhere! And like everyone else, you’ll wear the same things again and again no matter how much you pack. Everyone has favourites that make them feel good –you’ll naturally wear reach for the same few things. So you might as well just pack those things and that’s it!
“I don’t know what we’ll be doing”.
Fair enough, not everyone is a crazy planner like me! But unless you highly suspect you’ll be participating in an extreme sport or going to a costume ball, you are much better off packing for climate and weather, not theoretical activities.
“I’ll need something for the different occasions”.
I do appreciate this sentiment, as travel is about trying new things and having special memories. While you may be addicted to book club, or duck hunting at home, when you travel you’ll be branching out and trying new things. Like a day on safari and a night of wine tasting. Or an archaeological tour in the morning, an afternoon at a gallery, and an evening at the theatre. There are easy ways to deal with this. Stick with a little black dress and switch up your look with silk scarves and bold jewelry. Using those same scarves and dressing up your safari T-shirt and archaeology tour jeans to be ready for the gallery. Stick with high quality, climate appropriate fabrics, and one main color palate.
“I want the photos to look good”.
Do you really think bringing 10 different T-shirts makes great travel photos? If you want to have beautiful photos, invest in a great camera and a photography class. Consider taking a make-up lesson and getting a great haircut before your trip. Use the internet and learn how to tie and wrap scarves. Bring clothing you can layer and accessories you can swap around. Travel photos are not about an homage to you – they are about capturing the memory of a place and experience.
“I have so much special stuff”.
Most of us are very lucky and do not have to travel with specialized medical equipment or mobility assistance devices. I’m able to pack light enough that my special stuff – my prescription snorkel gear – can squeeze into my bag. I know another friend who was able to take along a pair of rubber boots in her carry-on bag (for a garden tour).
Technology has made it possible that we don’t have to carry magazines, books, guidebooks, CDs, even notepads, maps, or documents.
Chances are you won’t have much time for hobbies – so limit how many materials you bring. Some needlepoint while relaxing in a hotel room is fine. The quilting and crochet materials can stay home. Many equipment – from golf clubs to camera tripods – can be rented on the ground for less than the cost of checking your bags.
“I have kids!”
Granted, I am no expert in this field, but I know plenty of people who travel with ease, balancing both kids and carry on. They do make an effort to plan in advance and have detailed packing lists. They also have high quality, well designed bags to maximize space and packing cubes to keep everything organized. Days are well planned so outfits and clothing are optimized. I know one couple who budgets time in their schedule to do laundry every two days. At first they thought it would be a waste of time. In the end, the parents would fight to see who would get the “treat” of a peaceful reading session in the Laundromat! You can call ahead to have local pharmacies deliver (for free!) items like diapers and formula to the hotel.
If you’re making the switch to carry-on only for the first time – good for you! Start small, and try to go carry-on for a short getaway that doesn't include any special or unusual events. Make notes after each trip to see what you used, what was dead weight what was invaluable. Before long, you’ll be a packing champion – with no excuses to use anything but carry-on only!
I want you to weigh in! What's your biggest packing challenge?
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