My little carry-on brings me big joy when I travel. The 21-inch bag instantly makes me the lightest and brightest traveler in the terminal.
For me, travel is about freedom and nothing strips away your freedom faster than wrestling oversized luggage through gates, subways, train staions or airport terminals. The more luggage you carry, the more headaches you’ll have.
Shake your Tylenol bottle once if you’ve cried over lost luggage. Shake it twice if you’ve paid airlines fees for checking your bags. Shake it three times if you’ve been penalized because your luggage exceeded weight limits.
In 2016, Tom and I traveled to Ireland for two weeks with nothing but our carry-ons and smiles. Below is a picture of my carry-on, which I proudly packed tight and right. To follow suit, you don’t need travel gadgets, just gumption.
I didn’t use vacuum bags or packing tubes. Nor did I travel commando. I simply limited myself to two pair of shoes and packed outfits in complimentary, mix and match hues. Black and tan in the spirit of Guinness Beer with a pop of fuchsia worked well in Ireland.
I highly recommend going light on the jewerly and heavy on the scarfs. Scarfs allow you to make the same outfit look different and take up virtually zero space in your luggage.
Halfway through the trip, we had our laundry washed and folded for less than $10 a bag. Packing less is easier when you remind yourself there’s always a laundry service available or time to handwash a few essentials along the way.
Tom and I also enjoyed a seven-day Caribbean cruise as part of The Elders farewell tour – Racing the Tide. If you don’t know who they are, they’re an Irish band based in Kansas City. We love all things Irish.
Below is a picture of Tom relaxed and unruffled on the day of departure sitting beside our Samsonite and Joseph Abboud carry-ons. While the other passengers stressed getting their luggage packed and into in hallways the night before, we simply wheeled off without assistance to spend the day playing at Port.
I only mention the brands of our luggage because Tom did a much better job shopping for quality than I did shopping for value. Tom’s Samsonite tops the USA Today list of the Best Carry On Luggage of 2019 with its Flexis 21’ Spinner. My carry-on looks worse for the wear but I’m going to squeeze another year or two out of it.
Anyone can pack everything they need in a carry on if they’ve been through every lost their luggage. I was a carry-on convert after returning from a European trip to six countries in 10 days where I only had my luggage for two. After you experience a half dozen trips waiting for the return of you lost luggage, you’ll be ready to donate your large luggage to Goodwill like I did and pack light like pros.
Pack Like the Pros
Doug Dyment is the author and genius behind the website One Bag. Glean all you can from his site as it will set you free on your next trip. You can’t overpack if you follow packing checklists based on your gender, trip destination, and personal style.
Alexandra Jimenez Travel Fashion Girl provides a Minimalista, Essentials, Classic, and Maximilista packing list to download.
What’s your packing style? Heavy weight hoarder or minimalist mouse. We’d love to know your best lessons or packing secrets.