It’s summertime, and travel is easy. There is no need for heavy coats, waterproof shoes, hats, or gloves. So I’m issuing a challenge to my LLT readers. It’s time to take your packing to the next level by sizing down.
- If you take a full sized carry on and personal item, travel with one bag only
- If you take a full sized carry on, travel with an international sized bag and personal item
- If you take an international bag and personal item, travel with an international bag only
- If you have an international size bag, travel with just a personal item
Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting strategies for reducing the bulk and weight of your carry on. I know that it took me several years of downsizing to get to personal item travel. I’ll admit that I’m not a super light packer like Brooke from Her Packing List. I could never travel with a 12 L bag because my travel style is quite different from hers:
- I have to bring my own toiletries because I have nasty allergies
- I always go hiking at my destinations, so always carry a day pack, protective outer wear, and good walking shoes
- I have to take a full coverage swim suit (previous melanoma)
- I am a curvy older woman, so never use leggings as pants. I don’t wear tank tops without a covering either. Just….no.
In spite of these limitations I can still get my gear into a 16 L backpack. I think that you’ll be able to downsize too. I hope to give my readers some shortcuts by showing the techniques I used to travel with a 16 L backpack.
In closing, I’ll bring up the Song of Solomon which states that the “little foxes spoil the vineyard” (Song of Solomon 2:15). It’s true! All the seemingly innocuous little things can slowly and quietly eat away at our later success. The concept is also true for packing. An ounce here, a cute dress there, and all of a sudden we have a big heavy suitcase. I’ll be showing you how to stamp out the little things that keep you from packing light.
Will you join me on this journey?
Just returned from a 2-week international trip (city and country, mix of business and pleasure) with REI Overnighter pack and a personal item. I’m up for the challenge of just the Overnighter pack, or maybe all the way to just a personal item for my next trip. Looking forward to your posts, and Thank You for your terrific site!
I’m planning to reduce what’s in my bag before we take off for a 3 month trip to Europe. Thanks for all your good advice and inspiration!
Based on many of your tips, over the past few years I’ve reduced my luggage to one international size carry-on and no personal item. But, that one bag weighs 25 pounds and is full. I’d like to find a way to reduce enough “foxes” to have it only 1/2 to 3/4 full and at less than 20 pounds. That way when I return with a few souvenirs, I don’t have to add a tote bag to an overflowing suitcase. I’m anxiously awaiting your strategies in your next few posts. Thanks Cindy!
I take your challenge
I’m a 60 yo, plus size solo traveler (can’t pawn stuff to a traveling companion). I’m going on a 3 wk cruise/land trip to the Baltics in August. I currently travel with 3.9 lb, small, 22 inch, wheeled carryon. I already use air pillow packing material to fill the empty spaces in my suitcase. I no longer take a personal item (only a small crossbody purse). On my last trip my suitcase weighed 18 lb 2 oz. My goal is to reduce the suitcase weigh to less than 17.5 pounds. At this point cutting 10 oz will be a challenge.
Thanks for issuing the challenge
Colleen N said:
I will take the challenge.
I’m taking my son, a high school senior, on a quick trip to multiple cities to check out potential colleges over four days. Because of our schedule, (fly in, spend night, tour school, grab taxi, airport in late afternoon for next city, etc.), we will have to carry our stuff with us during the tours. Therefore, I’m committed to carrying everything in a large purse, and son will carry only a backpack. It will be a challenge as I have never gone without at least a carryon/suitcase. With me luck!
Cindy Heazlit said:
You can most certainly do this! The biggest thing to remember is that most of the bulk and weight in our bags comes from “stuff”. I’m talking about the toiletry kit, our electronics, the makeup bag, the shoes, etc. Clothing takes up only a small part of the bag, but it is the thing we concentrate on. Look at your toiletry kit and electronics for weight and space savings.
Here are a few LLT posts to help you, with examples:
Weekend Wedding in a purse
All My Luggage is Under the Seat – A Wedding Weekend in Navy and Wheat
Under the seat: traveling with the Patagonia 22 L lightweight travel tote pack (16 L actual)
Minimalist travel in winter – Packing tips for traveling with only a personal item
Colleen Nibbe said:
Thanks for the tips! Will do!
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Colleen N said:
Wish me luck (Sorry for the typo)
It would be tight, but I think I could do this with my 20L backpack and my travel vest (use it instead of a purse for electronics and will be wearing it so it will not count as a separate bag). I would have to go without another pair of shoes though, but would still take my shower flipflops. Clothes may weigh more, but it is all the other items besides clothing that really add up…toiletries, 3-1-1 bag, makeup, medication & vitamins, electronics, Turkish towel, pillow, rain gear, outer wear if needed for the weather, extra pair of glasses, snacks, fillable water bottle, paper copies of travel documents. I rarely take any jewelry except the minimal amount that I wear on the plane so that, at least, is not an extra.