10 Easy Tips for Becoming a Carry-On Traveler

I don't remember is this was posted here--I'm sure our resident reference librarian, Kent, would remember--but I saw this on the Fodor's website. It might help those newbie heavy packers:

10 Easy Tips for Becoming a Carry-On Traveler

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
766 posts

It does take some cognitive behavioral self-therapy (changing your thinking to change your behavior) to pack light, but it is very much worth it. For us, not only does it save money and time, but the flexibility of having your luggage with you is another great advantage. For example, our flight to DC was delayed by two hours when coming back from France, but since we have the benefit of having three airports servicing our area, we were able to switch to a another flight with the same airline (we were going to IAD and the new flight was going to DCA) and the only reason we were able to do it (and not the other passengers) was because we had not checked our luggage. We even arrived earlier than our original arrival time.

Posted by Beatrix
2204 posts

Yeah, I know. It's still not going to happen for me because of the liquid restrictions. In the summer I do need my sun screen and don't want to risk an allergic reaction with something unknown I buy at the destination - btdt. And when I go this coming winter one of the few gifts that are really appreciated and not available for my father in Germany is cranberry juice.

And don't tell me that all the gifts the kids will receive from relatives the first time ever they celebrate Christmas together will fit into the carry-on ...

Posted by Marlene
Winnipeg, Canada
111 posts

I remembered my first trip to Europe, which was my first time using trains, I overpacked. Boy, did I wish I packed lighter. I brought clothes that I didn't even wear during my 3 weeks there.
I did carry on the first time earlier this year (21 days) and again this past summer (10 days). I had to learn to "let go". It was great getting off the plane and quickly catching the ride into the city. I'm now a Carry-On Traveler.

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
944 posts

And for those of you trying this.. it's TWO! Not two bags plus something extra you want to take. So ladies the "purse" is not a FREE third carry on. Men, the bag you strapped onto the other bag is not a FREE third carry on!

(Exceptions are medical equipment and food you buy IN the airport. Your little cooler is NOT a FREE third item)

I do it a LOT, but tomorrow I have "THREE" so one of them gets checked.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

I agree with Frank II and Norm. For years, I’ve used only a small backpack with an empty messenger bag stuffed inside for daytrips. By small, I mean student-sized bag. The total weight when packed is around 13 lbs, well below what most airlines allow. I’ll be on a flight within the next several weeks and can go all the way up to 17 lbs (woo-hoo). It doesn’t matter if I’m going for 5 days or 3 weeks…this is it. And, my whole family travels like this…never an issue. Summer or winter…doesn’t matter. Many of the European airlines now allow just 1 piece of carry-on baggage in the cabin…never a problem. Gifts or new clothing can be mailed home…I’ve done it. Toiletries not taken can be purchased in Europe…have done that, too. I realize that this may be too tight for many and not even thinkable for others, but it has always worked in the past for me, and I have no reason to believe it won’t work every time in the future. I will always recommend carrying-on as lightly as humanly possible.

Posted by Janis
Grapevine, TX, USA
873 posts

My husband & I flew to Santa Fe yesterday, and I realized that the only carry-on problem we have going to Europe is just the liquid restriction in that one quart-size bag. I'll be trying to figure out how to make that work before we leave in March.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3278 posts

For the 1 qt liquids bag, limit yourself to small amounts of liquids/gels. If your stuff won't fit, plan on buying what you need after you arrive in Europe. In England, the Boots stores carry almost everything including makeup, sunscreens, various lotions, etc. Look for solids (to take) that work as well as gels, such as deodorants, soap, makeup; these don't need to go into the liquids bag.

If you are traveling with a partner, you may be able to carry only one supply of firstaid supplies and miscellaneous stuff. Plan on handwashing a couple items of clothing every night; that way you can travel with only 1 or 2 changes of clothes. You'll be wearing your bulkier/warmer clothing onto the plane.

Shampoo works just fine for washing out most things. Wring out in a travel towel, hang to dry overnight.

For me, the major weight decision has to do with books. They are heavy, but I need one or two travel books. I tear out chapters and usually carry one complete book to cover the largest part of my trip.

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
983 posts

Janis, it is entirely possible to get within the 1 quart limit even with taking lots of "girly" stuff. I slim down my makeup needs to one color family, which works since I am slimming down my clothes to one color family. Then I substitute for as many powders and sticks as possible--powder eyeshadow, lipstick, powder blush, and mineral makeup in place of lipgloss, cream shadow and gel blush, liquid foundation. My skincare I decant into tiny jars I get at storables or into little clamshell containers the size of a silver dollar that I get free from the cosmetic counters at Nordstrom. While at the department stores (or speciality makeup stores like Sephora or Kiehls or Ulta) I ask for sample packets of eyecream, face cream, etc. I substitute solid shampoo for liquid--Lush and Burts Bees make good ones. I also keep little bottles in which to put things like Woolite, vitamin C serum, etc. You can decant a months worth of gel deoderant into a jar the size of a golf ball. The bottom line--between getting things entirely out of my baggie by substituting for non-liquids-and-gels type products, decanting what I can't into tiny containers, and bringing along sample sized sachets, you can bring everything a gal could want and still do carry-on.

Some things I do buy once there--sunscreen in particular, both because I use so much of it that it isn't practical to get enough into the baggie and because Euro sunscreen is so much better than what is available in the US. In fact, on the way home, my then depleted liquids and gels baggie will contain two or three Euro sunscreens to take home.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6521 posts

Those tips may be fine for a week's vacation in the U.S., but when I think "European travel" I can't relate.

Most carriers still allow 2 free checked bags on international flights.

Most European trips are 2 weeks or more, often when weather conditions are variable, and often have multiple destinations. Many travelers expect to have a need for both very casual wear (hiking, beaches, bicycling) and "dressy" wear (dining, concert).

My sense of the posters here, especially the newbies, is that a European trip is a BIG THING in their lives, an experience they want to enjoy as fully as possible and to have memories for years to come. Doing it like a camping trip - wearing the same 3 outfits and doing hand laundry every night is counter to that. Traveling that far for that long means taking "extra stuff" - electronics, chargers, guide books - and bringing back gifts and souvenirs.

Any time (and money too) I would save by not checking a bag would be used up at my first destination, trying to buy toiletries in an over-priced shop in a foreign language - never mind the frustration factor.

Instead of trying to get everything into a carry-on, I put the essentials in: everything for my first 24 hours on the ground. This way Im prepared in case my checked bag is delayed.

And have you noticed it's always a GUY who touts carry-on only?? :-)

Posted by Frank II
4844 posts

Sorry, Chani, but are you sure you didn't think you were posting on the Fodors/Frommers big bus, let's take the kitchen sink to Europe board?

Packing heavy is contradictory to the Rick Steves style traveler.

Packing light does not mean you have to look like a hobo.

My travel clothes would be classified as business casual. They can be worn day or night. I wash every three days or so.

I also find it easy to move about with just carry-on, have no problems with transport, and have it easy just looking after one bag.

And I've met many women who travel the same way. I'm sure we'll hear from a few.

May I ask if most of your trips are either tours or cruises? If they are, it would explain your heavy packing.

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

Chani...I hardly think that packing light means you have to live like you're on a "camping trip!" And I would dispute your claim that it's only men suggesting carry-on only.
While not everyone will get down to one carry-on, partly for the reasons you mention, I think our urging newbies to check out packing tips like those already listed, is to try to get them to think a little more closely about their wardrobes. Virtually every first-time international traveller I've run across has come back with clothes they never wore and/or gadgets they never used. Cutting away the clutter and reducing the over-packing could make the difference between an excellent holiday and one filled with drudgery. Let's face it....washing a few socks in a sink every couple of nights is probably a good tradeoff for lugging a massive suitcase up and down stairs, through metro stations, and onto trains and planes.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1184 posts

I'm a girl and to me the purpose of packing light is to make it easy for me to get around. My first trip to Europe I took two overpacked bags and it was a struggle to handle them on the train etc. What a nightmare! There is so much freedom to packing light and it's such a great feeling. It really makes you think about what is important and what your travel philosophy is. I do take a fold up bag in my luggage and always come home with two bags but try to limit my purchases. Believe me, packing light is the way to go.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
9300 posts

Okay, everyone, gender details here:

Grier and Swan are women.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell from the names used on the forum!

Posted by Shelly
St. Cloud, MN, USA
59 posts

First, my daughter is studying abroad in England this fall and she was only allowed 1 checked bag. Northwest Airlines just changed their rules and you have to pay for any additional bags over 1 now.

Second, my husband and I are taking our first European trip in about a month and I've already told him that we are only using carryons. I did a week's conference/vacation in NYC this summer and test drove my bag and it worked great. I actually had packed more than I needed so I'm feeling very confident that our one bag a piece will work just fine.

My only concern is that I know I'm going to want to buy lots of things to bring home and I may not get back with only one bag!!

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3278 posts

Gee, Kent, and I thought nobody was paying attention. Indeed, I am female, but not the type to carry makeup and worry about curling my hair. My hair is gray and I'm more concerned with what's on my feet than what's on my face. I pack almost the same for US trips as I do for European trips. I do cheat a little in the US and send stuff in the Flat Rate boxes from the USPS. Too bad the same inexpensive system doesn't work for parcels from Europe. I don't buy many souvenirs; I jetison some stuff in Europe, so the new purchases have room in my bag.

Posted by Cheryl
San Francisco, Ca
59 posts

I am a 47 year old woman. My husband and I both travel carry-on only. Our yearly European trips are 4-6 weeks and we seem to travel lighter every year. I get my hair cut short for Spring so no hair dryer or curling iron for me. I also go without makeup and my husband still loves me. We save so much time and enjoy our travels more especially on trains. A little laundry in the room... we switch off doing it and it works out great for us! Easy Peasy!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24131 posts

Frank II,

Very interesting, thanks for posting that. I'm in the process of restructuring my travel methods for "carry on only" and anxious for the next trip so that I can try it.

There seems to be a growing movement of "one bag travellers" lately. I suspect that Red Oxx and Tom Bihn have seen an increase in sales. Unfortunately, I'm a bit cynical and I'm wondering how long it will take the airlines to figure out some way to "nick" the "one bag travellers" with some extra charges as well.


Posted by Frank II
4844 posts

Ken, let's hope the airlines don't start charging but I have a feeling they will. However, they're making enough money from checked luggage so far that they kept us carry-on people alone. Or, they might go the European route and restrict size and weight. Let's hope not.

Quite a few luggage companies are introducing new carry-on bags. Even RS has a new line called Autobahn which will include a rollilng bag with backpack straps, a backpack about the size of the Appenzell and a Messenger Bag about the same size.

If I'm not mistaken, I think you got the Air Boss? If so, you'll be amazed on how much it holds. I have a Tri-Star and was shocked as to what I could put in it--and it's smaller than the Air Boss.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3134 posts

Chani- I was one who at first questioned the possibility of doing the carry-on only thing. I have been a full convert for 20 years now. It is liberating! 3 or 4 sets of clothes with a few extras like a scarf or a "big shirt" that serves as a blazer or an extra layer if needed is really all you need. One outfit (at least) is all black and will pass at anything outside of a "black tie" event- and if I wind up needing to attend that, I will want everything new anyway and buy it there! My Rick Steves' bag (20 years old and it looks like new) weighs about 12-15 lb. fully packed. My hubby's weighs in at 10 lb or under. That is for anything from 1 week to 3 or more (around the world one summer).

Posted by Karen
Abilene, TX
37 posts

I'm going to Europe in January and I will also be going with one carry on! I have been studying packing lists and I don't think I will have a problem with it. My husband bought me a RS carry on bag (the one with wheels). When I showed my mom my new bag....she said she LOVED it! My mom and dad went to Germany a few years ago and they took WAY too much luggage and then they had to cart it around and take it on trains. She said it was awful. She said if they go again she would do it exactly like I'm doing it. I will have to carry my luggage by myself, so I want to be as light as possible! This may sound weird, but I'm kind of excited about figuring out how little I can take and still survive!

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
944 posts

Another female raises her hand.

Sorry, but the "amount" of stuff you bring rarely translates into "memories" of a lifetime.

And if you think "bringing more will make me look better" and "bringing less is camping" this might not be the right board for you.

I don't wear blue jeans when I travel to Europe. I wear pretty much the same things I wear when I travel at home. (Business type clothing, that's just how I dress)

After waiting NINETY minutes today for my luggage from a LAX to ATL flight I was reminded again why I normally do carryon (Had some business materials in the suitcase so... it had to go under the plane, it was too full to get down to two items.) My clothes were fine.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
9470 posts

Well, I travel with carry on only,, and I look just fine,, not like camping at all( well , especially since I pack skirts and sundresses,, which with nice walking sandals are comfy and cool outfits for summer touring,, and not slobby at all)

The article had some very good points. I personally do not use hotel shampoo to wash my hair,, but it makes great laundry soap! I buy shampoo and conditioner in Europe,,, they have many of the same brands,, and some better stuff then we do anyways. Same with sunscreen. I can only wear Ombrelle .. but they have the same stuff in France( it is by Loreal after all) . I do bring a small tube of face sunscreen,, but it fits fine in baggie, as does my makeup,, I mean,, how much liquid make up does one need.. LOL ??

I disagree about the no wheels and one pair of shoes thing though. I like my wheeled bag,, and since I bought well it handles cobblestones just fine.
I always bring at LEAST two pairs of shoes,, and I bet an podiatrist would agree,, wearing same shoes day and day out for 2 or 3 weeks is not great for feet. As a woman I do beleive we have it easier as our sandals are smaller ,, and take less room in bag( I do wear the runners as suggested),, where as my hubbys size 13s require half a suitcase on their own, LOL He manages though( I stuff his sandals in his suitcase with his clothes,, can fit a t shirt in each! LOL

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24131 posts

Frank II,

You're correct, I did buy the Air Boss. When I first opened the shipping box, I thought there must be some mistake as it seemed so BIG. I verified the size with a tape measure, but it still seems "big".

After giving it some thought, I'm sure it IS in fact carry-on size, but the "trick" will be to avoid overpacking it because as you noted, it holds A LOT! There would certainly be potential to exceed either the size limits or weight limits.


Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6521 posts

Okay - here's my story. I went to Paris in June, then trained to Amsterdam for a Baltic cruise. The additional "stuff" for the cruise amounted to about 1 lb (cocktail dress, dressy sandals and evening bag). Out of 19 days of sightseeing (not days at sea), 10 were reasonably warm and 9 were cold and mostly wet, either constant drizzle or bouts of pouring rain. I was so happy that I had taken 2 pairs of jeans (one light-weight and one medium-weight) both because they were warmer and because I wasn't about to wear a skirt with my hiking shoes and socks. There's a difference between looking like a tourist and looking like a dorky tourist :-) I still ended up wearing pretty much the same things because it just wasn't warm enough to wear the summery ones. Heck, half the time I was wearing 1/2 my clothes at once anyway, layered, just to keep warm. Once my shoes got so wet from the rain in Paris, they squished. Luckily they dried out overnight, since the next day was definitely not sandal-weather.

My 24" wheelie weighed 18 kg when I started out, which gave me leeway to bring back a gorgeous coffee table book of Paris, souvenir books of the other 5 cities I saw, and 2 packages of Angelina's hot chocolate mix! On the ground a 24"-er is no less manageable than a carry-on. My carry-on was about 6 kg (mostly camera, binoculars, computer, iPod, chargers, toiletry kit, change of clothes). I had some non-essentials - maybe 1 kg of socks and undies (I REALLY hate hand laundry), a wine saver (essential if you are solo in Paris!) The only things I never wore - light-weight summer clothes!

I am happy for all of you who can manage with 10 lbs of stuff for 2 months (even a bit envious). I am one of the (many?) others who can't.

Posted by Frank II
4844 posts

Ken, you're right about overpacking. One of the reasons I didn't get the Air Boss, besides not having backpack straps, was that I heard from owners who said the material Red Oxx uses tends to bulge outward when overpacked. That could make it too thick for some European airlines.

Besides that, I've never heard one bad word about the bag. I'm just wondering if you'll be able to get all your camera equipment in. That would make your travel life so much easier.

One thing I did with my Tri-Star, and it proves I have too much time on my hands, is I made a scale drawing of the bag and then cut out scale models (two dimension only) of the packing cubes, toiletry kit, messenger bag, etc,that I use and found the best way to fit them in. Then, I followed it with a real packing and it worked perfectly--with room to spare.

Like I said, I have way too much time on my hands. But when I devote it ways of making travel easier, it seems worth it.

Posted by Laura
London, UK
356 posts

Chani - it is totally possible to survive with just one bag. I spent three months in the USA with just a medium-sized rucksack! The only thing I had to buy there was laundry detergent and some toiletries.

I do not like to look scruffy, but can still look smart with a few well-chosen good-quality items and a few accessories. Plus I take make-up. You can look totally glam with just a few items.

I don't think it's that difficult to find inexpensive toiletries abroad. Yes, some countries are expensive, but many will have inexpensive drugstore-style shops.

My friend has just come back from a month-long cycling trip around Europe. She is a very high-maintenance gal, but she not only managed to get everything she needed into two bike bags she also didn't use some of it. She used to go on holiday with tons of stuff and now she is so excited about packing light!

Posted by Rose
Indianapolis, Indiana, usa
357 posts

Laura said something important regarding traveling light when she said she bring a few well-chosen good-quality items. Of that, I think good quality is as important as well-chosen. Good quality pants & skirts can be worn over & over without stretching, bagging, & looking worn & scruffy. A little spandex in the fabric works wonders. Skirts with a little fullness work even better than pants as the fabric isn't as close to your body. In summer skirts are cooler than shorts & look good on most of us. In cooler weather, skirts with a pair of tights are warm. I'll spend more for a pair of travel pants than pants to wear at home because of the heavy usage.

Posted by Emma
Northern California
118 posts

I'm sure my fellow carry-on ladies probably already know this, but it bears repeating:

basic black + fun accessories = unlimited combinations of "outfits"

A silk scarf and some bright, not-too-valuable jewelry layered over neutral colors make you feel dressed up even when you're wearing that skirt for the third day in a row. And you can ALWAYS find room in your carry-on bag for one more necklace!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24131 posts

Frank II,

I was also concerned about "bulging" but I figure I can manage that to some extent by the method I use to pack. For example, if using Eagle Creek Packing Folders, clothes will always have a flat profile so bulging should (hopefully) not occur.

I tried a "test pack" of one of the side pockets using the clothing I'd typically take to Europe and it fit without any bulging at all. That's a good sign! The pocket almost looked "empty".

One of the best examples I found for travelling with the Air Boss was tacticalgearhead.com/?p=361 (an impressive list of countries with just ONE bag).

The Camera equipment is definitely an issue and I'll probably adopt two different travel methods as a result. For shorter domestic trips I should be able to fit the dSLR, one extra Lens and a few accessories into the Air Boss. There'll be less clothing and other gear than on Euro trips so size and weight won't be as critical.

For trips to Europe where more gear will be necessary, I'm going to try two carry-on Bags, the Air Boss along with a Photo Backpack. The Backpack I've chosen is www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtAccel.php. Once again, after seeing it "in person" it sure looks TOO big for carry-on, but the photos on the website seem to confirm that it will fit. I've been looking at Photo Workshops in Tuscany and other locations in Europe for next year, so will definitely need "the full kit" for those.

Two carry on bags should be acceptable on International flights, however if using any Euro airlines I'll have to check one of them (probably the Air Boss as there's NO WAY I'll trust Camera gear to baggage handlers!!!). That possibility was another reason I chose the Air Boss as the zippers can be locked, something that's not as easy to do on the TB bags (I told TB that lack of locking capability was a "deal breaker" for me).


Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24131 posts

continued from previous post......

I must also have too much time on my hands, as I've spent hours revising my packing lists from a "Backpack, Daypack & Camera bag" format to an "Air Boss" (and in some cases Camera Backpack) format. Using cut-outs (even two dimensional) is certainly a precise way to plan packing, but I used a somewhat different method.

Over the years my packing list has evolved into quite a detailed Excel spreadsheet, which has all of the items in each compartment in my Daypack, Backpack and Camera bag separately listed (including those carried "on person"). In addition to listing each item, the value and other information such as serial numbers is also shown. I try to use a "modular" packing method where possible, using Eagle Creek Packing Cubes and Pack-It Sacks, and even the items in each module are listed.

Having a detailed Inventory also provides a convenient document that I can use for "insurance purposes" if necessary. I carry a copy of the packing list on a USB key that stays in my Money Belt. The USB key also has a copy of my Itinerary (also very detailed, on a Word document), Hotel information, etc. I keep a backup copy of the Packing list and a few other files on my Palm PDA, using Docs To Go (I always like to have a "backup" of important information).

So much for the theory - it's going to be interesting to see how this all works out in practise! I'll have to plan a trip somewhere (anywhere!) in the near future so that I can try a test run of my new "one bag travel method".

BTW, I think it was you that first suggested the ChargePod for charging electronics (thanks for that!). I tried that on the last Europe trip and it was fantastic! Being able to charge six devices simultaneously definitely makes life a lot easier. I packed a few backup Chargers for the Cell phone, PDA and GPS but I likely won't take those on the next trip.


Posted by Frank II
4844 posts

I use packing folders/cubes and they make the difference in multi-compartment bags.

FYI--the zippers on the three main compartments of the Tri-Star do lock. (I wouldn't have bought it if they didn't.) The small front compartments don't but I only use them for items I won't miss if stolen, not that anyone would steal them--book, map, snacks, 3-1-1 bag, bottle of water, etc. They really don't hold much. Anything of value is locked in one of the three main compartments.

Yes, the Chargepod is something I'm glad I found. Only now they have something called a Fueltank. It will charge two items at once...but...has a built in battery so you can charge up the Fueltank and then, without having to plug it in again, charge your small electronics 2-3 times before having to recharge the Fueltank. Great for long plane/train rides. Although, I do have a similar device that charges one item at a time and uses AA batteries.

I'm always on the lookout for smaller and smaller gadgets to make my bag lighter. I just found small LED flashlights made by Mighty Bright--they come as small clips the size of a quarter and as a carabiner. Very bright--they claim the light can be seen for a mile, and cheap. $6 US.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14110 posts

This guy, Stalling, in my opinion, has an awful lot to learn, too much to be advising others.

He starts out by talking about his rolling bag, then poo-poos laptops. Well, my netbook weighs only 2.2#, probably less the the weight added to his luggage by it being a rollaround.

And my with my netbook I can do so many useful things. I am posting this with my netbook in Germany right now. Earlier today I used this netbook to add to my webpage and upload it to the Internet. I have an extensive spreadsheet with all of the information (accommodation addresses, train schedules, maps) I need, as well as copies of emails to the places where I stay.

BTW, Lufthansa weighed my carryon when I rebooked in NJ and it only weighed 6 kg. My computer case, which they did not weigh, is about 2 kg.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24131 posts

Frank II,

Actually, I've already got a similar product to the FuelTank. I ordered it from APC before the FuelTank was introduced. I'm not sure if APC still offers them, but it's nice to have a bit of extra power for long trips if needed.

Yes, it was mainly the three compartments on the front of the TB bag that I was concerned with. I'd probably have to store something "important" in one of those pockets, and the fact that they can't be secured would be a problem for me, especially if using the bag in "backpack" mode in a place like Milano Centrale.

Posted by Ashley
Sherborn, MA
73 posts

Another really helpful tip I can offer for those who have frizzy hair is to shave your head before you go, because that's the only way you're going to be able to avoid having to check all the products you'd normally bring.

Yep, I travel light (5 days worth of clothing, no matter the trip length), just like RS says), but I do have to check my shampoo, conditioner and hair goo if I am traveling for longer than this. I got over this a long time ago, though.
Not everyone is cut out to carry on.

Posted by June
Edmonton, Alberta
475 posts

I also created my own packing list based on Ricks list and his female travellers list.

On my next trip to Paris, I am considering only bringing black shirts and several scarves. Not sure if I can do it, I might bring one colorful light colored shirt if it is very warm (travelling Oct 1-11). Happy Travels

Posted by Tamara
209 posts

oh my goodness! This all sounds very complicated!

I just use my backpack. The one I found on sale and carried to school for several years. I put minimal amounts of stuff in it, and hit the road!

I think I'd get a headache if I put any much more thought in to it than that!

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3134 posts

June- I use black as my base color also as I like the "all black" look- but my Hubby complains! So-I take red and cobalt blue or royal purple or grey Ts/turtle necks (long sleeve in winter and short in summer) as well as one black one. All my pants are black (maybe 1 khaki pair in summer). I take a scarf or two that incorparte the colors above. I also take one or two "big shirts" to use as blazers or light jackets - these are either solid black, red or stripped in any of the above colors.

Posted by Teena
Piedmont, nc, usa
296 posts

Chani, I'm a woman and won't willingly travel with more than one bag (well going, at least. Coming home is a different matter). The biggest hurdle was of course the 1 quart bag but after honing the process, I have room to spare now. And don't toss the bag after the trip. Plastic stretches. I used to fly weekly and finally had to toss one that I'd used for many, many trips. It had gotten very roomy but unfortunately, had several holes as well. So use mineral make up, trial size deodorants, creams, etc.and you'll have plenty of room. When hopping trains in Germany this May I was especially grateful to have only one bag.

Posted by maggie
St Louis
406 posts

One bag travel certainly isn't for everyone, but it's a very liberating form of travel. First of all, if you don't check the bag it can't get lost or delayed.Second, if you will be using public transportation as we always do, running for a train, or hopping on a bus is so much easier with one bag each. Next, it's easier to manage your stuff when there is less of it, and you increase your exposure as a target for theft. For we women in particular takes some planning and creativity and for some women an extra dose of self confidence to pare down on the "special" hair gels, shampoos, conditioners and assorted beauty products that the big companies have convinced us we must have.
Check out Color me beautiful, and pick a chord of colors that are flattering for your coloring. Hopefully you already have some basic pieces in these colors--- if not they are a great investment in your wardrobe. I take a bit of mineral makeup for evenings out, and am a huge fan of the Dove body sprays--- they smell lovely, are in 3 oz bottles and are a great pick me up. I take two pair of comfortable well broken in shoes, but agree with Pat that if you're older and have foot problems you might need more. I picked up some nice travel knit clothing on ebay in my color chord. I research and preplan our laundry stops and we usually combine laundry with a take out lunch, journaling, postcard writing and chatting with locals in the coin laundry. This year we had an apartment in Rome with a washer so that was even easier. We each take a roll on carry on plus a zippered canvas bag as our "personal item". I have a Jansport half pint in black that is my travel purse and fits inside of my zipered canvas bag. Coming home the roll ons get checked (usually because they have bottles of wine and olive oil inside, usually one of the canvas bags filled with clothing also gets checked. The remaining canvas bag with valuables, and 3 shopping bags get carried on.

Posted by Michael 1
Phoenix, AZ, USA
1035 posts

Nothing like stepping off an international flight and clearing customs and immigration while everyone else from the flight is still waiting for the luggage carousel to fire up!