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People seem amazed that I only take one carry on bag while traveling.  I always hear “Oh, I could never do that!”.  While there are some trips that prevent one bag travel (medical issues, expeditions, moving) most trips could easily be one bag trips.  Most (not all) people just don’t want to change how they travel.  They don’t want to plan their wardrobe ahead of time.  They don’t want to do laundry on the road.  Maybe they want lots of shoes, or five outfits a day.  Unfortunately, they aren’t seeing that a few small sacrifices have huge payoffs that make travel enjoyable:

  1. Less planning is needed – if I take only the essentials I will be taking almost the same items every trip.  The only thing that changes are clothes and accessories.  I can actually pre-pack my bag and have it ready for my next trip.
  2. Packing is easy if you have less stuff.
  3. I only have to keep track of one bag.  No constant worries about “Did I forget a bag?”  I can keep track of one bag even if I’m loopy with jet lag.  ONE.  I can do that!
  4. I can arrive at the airport later.  For domestic trips I print out my boarding pass at home (or electronically) and go straight to the airport gate.  No standing in line at the ticket counter.
  5. I don’t have to wait for my luggage to arrive at the luggage carousel.  By the time others have picked up their luggage, I’ve already picked up my rental car and headed off to adventure (or on late night arrivals, to bed)
  6. If I’m traveling internationally, I don’t have to deal with all the customs checks for extra bags.   I don’t have to wait for the bag to come out of the luggage carousel so it can be re-checked on the next flight.  International transfers become simple.
  7. I have all my stuff with me if I’m stranded during a layover.  Most airlines won’t give up checked luggage until the final destination.  If you are stranded during a layover they will give you a small kit with a toothbrush and tell you where to go.  I won’t have to do that – I will have my clothes and pajamas with me!
  8. I can take public transit instead of taxis or rental cars. Moving around is a breeze, as I only have to track one small bag.
  9. If I do take a taxi, I can keep my bag with me instead of throwing it into the trunk.  No driving off with my luggage!
  10. I always have my bag with me, so I don’t have to worry about theft.
  11. I have access to all of my stuff during a long plane flight.
  12. Moving in or out of hotels is a breeze.  I put my bag on my back and walk up the stairs.  Done.  No back and forth loading and unloading.
  13. I actually have space in my hotel room.  I’m not taking it up with huge bags.
  14. Because I have less stuff with me, I’m less likely to leave it behind in a hotel room.  See reason #3
  15. If I have to be rescheduled on a flight, I have my bag with me.  Gate agents are much more accommodating if they know they won’t have to deal with checked bags.
  16. Because all of my clothes are coordinated, I don’t have to think about them while I’m traveling.  Life is simple, and I can focus on my destination.