Experienced travelers the world over know the tried and true saying: Less is more. Who wants to schlep around heavy, bulky bags when you’re far from home, most likely running from place to place, trying to make sure all of your belongings continue to be your belongings? The trick of the trade, according to seasoned travelers, is to consider packing only one bag. What’s more, to consider making that bag the size of a carry-on bag. That’s right, the size of a bag that fits, or mostly fits, in the overhead compartment on today’s commercial airlines.
Consider the following reasons to travel light:
Simply put, one bag is easier to keep tabs on than two bags, or three, or… You get the idea. You don’t have to check your bags and risk losing them altogether as you travel.
One bag means less to carry, which means you don’t have to pay someone to help you or pony up for one of those Smarte Cartes at the airport. Also, with one bag, you won’t be as tempted to buy as many useless souvenirs you’ll never need, because there won’t be room for anything extra in your bag on the return trip.
With only one bag, you don’t have to worry about getting to the airport so early or sticking around so long after your flight lands. You can run through train terminals more speedily and shove yourself more quickly into the backseats of taxi cabs. And customs inspections? No problem.
So, now that you’re convinced you should limit your travel bags to one, you may well be wondering how on earth to fit all your necessaries into a single satchel. Plan carefully what you will need for your trip and take only those thing: If you think, “I might need this” then it’s probably safe to assume that you won’t. If you think “I can’t live without this,” then into your travel bag it goes.
- Plan to do laundry while you’re traveling (even if that means doing them in your hotel room sink!). This way you won’t feel as compelled to take as many clothes.
- Take clothes that you can mix and match.
- For your toiletry items, use travel-size products. Even if they’re not easy to find, you’ll be glad you took the trouble. And remember that most of them can be refilled and reused—even toothpaste tubes can be refilled with enough patience and manual dexterity!
- Pack underwear, socks, and other small cloth items inside larger items, such as shoes, to maximize all available space.
- Check the weather of your destination ahead of your departure time so you can plan your wardrobe accordingly.
- If you’re the type of person who can’t resist a good—or a bad—souvenir, take one or two items of clothing that are mostly worn out. Wear them once, toss them, and fill up the space they occupied with that plastic replica of Mt. Rushmore that you just can’t live without.