How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Sized Bag

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Before going traveling it’s easy to over-pack and to bring more than you need to (especially if it’s you first time), as you probably won’t realize just how little you actually need to live fairly comfortably.

I myself have been guilty of packing too many clothes and too many useless gadgets I never used on more than one occasion.

Last summer, Roy Abraham of set himself the challenge of traveling the world for 3 months using only a carry-on sized bag (i.e. a bag that can fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane).

So why would someone set themselves a challenge like this? Let’s see what Roy has to say:

  1. You are more mobile. You don’t have to lug a large backpack around.
  2. You save time. You don’t have to wait for your bags to arrive on the turnstile or worry about the airline losing them.
  3. You save money. With most low cost airlines in Europe, you now have to pay for checked bags

carry-on bagThose certainly are some good reasons! Having to lug a heavy backpack around at 3am whilst you’re looking for a place to stay is no fun (trust me, I’ve been there) and having an airline lose your luggage can really spoil your trip.

Obviously traveling like this isn’t for everyone and there will be times when a carry-on sized bag simply isn’t big enough (especially if you’re traveling for a long period of time and picking up souvenirs along the way).

Roy has created a list of things you should consider before attempting to travel with only a carry-on bag and has provided a few tips for helping you along the way:

  • What are your deal-breakers? Do you need to travel with an overly large stuffed animal which serves as an ice-breaker, as well as a traveling companion on lonely nights? If so, it may be too much of a pain to travel with only a carry-on bag.
  • You can’t buy much stuff. Because you have such limited capacity, you won’t be able to buy many things along the way. Well, you could always lose things along the way like how I lost 1.5 socks, making room for my shiny new Wacom tablet. If you are on a budget this is more of an advantage than disadvantage.

This is something you really need to think long and hard about before taking a carry-on bag traveling. Do you intend to buy lots of souvenirs? Will your friends/family be expecting presents?

  • You will need to do laundry often. You will probably need to handwash your clothes often so you always have clean “unmentionables”.
  • If you decide to take your own laundry detergent, you are better off bringing a laundry soap bar rather than put the powder into a ziplock bag. Because customs may think it’s drugs.

A good point here. Although it will be clear in the end that you aren’t carrying drugs, it’s not worth the hassle of having to wait at airports/border points for hours on end just for the sake of having powder laundry detergent.

It seems that there are lots of advantages to packing small and light, but that it won’t work for everyone.

To read the full article and to find out exactly what Roy packed in his bag, click here.

Alternatively, check out this post for more tips on how to travel light.

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