Since the very first trip abroad we with Una have been traveling carry on only for most of the time. At first we did so, because we didn’t want to pay extra. Well, who does want to pay extra? So we just followed the rules. Packed as much as we were allowed. Or less. And that’s it.
Later on, however, we realized, that we don’t really need a bigger bag. Because we can pack all we need for a week, two weeks (or a year) in one carry on size backpack as well. How? Take a look at my minimalist packing list!
We are traveling carry on only because it’s much easier, it’s liberating and it’s cheaper.
But why do others are traveling light? To find the answer I reached out to some fellow bloggers, frequent travelers, and asked them the same question.
Why Travel With Carry On Only?
Dave Brett – Travel Dave UK Blog
In 2010 I decided to reduce my backpack to hand luggage by selling my junk I didn’t need to create a better, lighter travel lifestyle for myself. I’ve never looked back and enjoy the limitations.
My biggest hacking tip is to reduce items you don’t need by purchasing gear with multiple uses. For example, my smart phone is my main camera, flash torch, calculator, watch, alarm clock, WiFi hotspot and calendar. You get the idea, less can be more.
Travelling with cabin sized luggage has saved me loads of money and time over the years. No extra check in luggage fees, no luggage storage fees and my back is much happier being able to carry less weight and strain. My travel style is mostly an adventure focused which can be an issue at times when I need additional gear for activities, but I manage to get by simply by renting or borrowing gear when I can.
So far the biggest challenge was travelling around Finland during the winter season when you need to bulk up with layers to keep warm in the harsh cold conditions. Sticking with light Merino wool wall materials have seemed to have done the trick allowing me to still travel with only cabin sized luggage.
Claudia Tavani – My Adventures Across The World
If I can, I always prefer traveling very light. The more experienced as a traveler I become, the less I carry.
I have realized that if I pack cleverly, I only need a few t-shirts and pants or skirts, and I don’t really care about looking pretty and smart when I travel. I just need to feel comfortable and to have clothes with me, that I don’t care about in case I ruin or lose them.
The main reason I carry a larger backpack for most of the time is that I travel for months on end. And – as I suffer from asthma and I am on medications, I need to carry around almost an entire pharmacy with me. Besides, if I spend more than a week away from home I carry my MacBook as well, which inevitably takes some room in my carry on.
Sure enough, traveling with carry on only has helped me not to miss a flight a bunch of times.
For example, traveling to Jerusalem in November I was really thankful to have only a carry on backpack with me. Because as I had some very short layovers I had to rush from gate to gate. Traveling with extra luggage that wouldn’t be possible. Besides, some airlines are known for always misplacing luggage, and I hate it when that happens.
Anna and Matt – Hostel Geeks
On our way around the world discovering and reviewing the worlds best hostels, we travel with carry on luggage only. Traveling like a minimalist is quite fascinating to say the least.
We are traveling as a couple since 2012, and since 2016 we are completely location- independent, meaning, we sold our belongings back home in Barcelona, gave up the apartment, and hit the road. First we went on a road trip across Central Europe for two month, and then we brought one backpack of 16 kg each.
We felt, we will need all of it, as autumn in central Europe can be chilly, right? Right. Especially up in the North, in Hamburg and Amsterdam, and in Switzerland, where doing some sports activities, we really needed that extra warm clothing. But still, despite the fact, that we were right about warm clothing, we had too much things with us, yet again.
During our road trip in Europe, we run by chance into a specialized backpacker store in Utrecht, Netherlands. There wee bought two ultra-light backpacks on sale. Bags, that are optimized in weight and material and are perfect for traveling light.
Now we are in Thailand, traveling with carry on sized backpack only.
Traveling with carry-on only is freeing in several ways:
- It’s much easier to move from A to B;
- You loose the habit of wearing clothing for the sake of „wearing them“;
- There is a laundry service everywhere anyway;
- You save lots of money on extra luggage fees otherwises charged by airlines.
We enjoy traveling light as it has many advantages for us. It was an active decision we took, and so far we are still cutting down on shirts, and other small items. Soon we will get a motorbike in Hanoi, Vietnam, and will go on a road trip all the way South – to Ho Chi Minh. No doubt, traveling light will make this adventure much more enjoyable.
Are you now ready to travel with carry on only?
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.