Standard's Guide to One Bag Travel

Short of venturing out with no bag at all, there is no denying that one bag travel is really appealing. Many travelers think that the more time they spend traveling, the more things they need to carry. Nothing could be further from the truth! According to CNN Travel staff, overpacking is the number one travel mistake. At Standard Luggage Co, we second their opinion.

Lightweight backpacks are in now. If you pack right, you can travel for days, weeks or even months with just one bag. How do you ask? We are going to tell you everything you need to know about packing light and the perks of traveling with just one bag whether you’re on a business trip or a holiday.

Standard's Guide to One Bag Travel

Why should you travel light with one bag?

Traveling with one bag makes it easier to move around

Allow us to explain this by sharing a fellow traveler’s solo travel experience.

“I was on a low budget trip across Europe for three months with a large suitcase, a laptop bag and a mid-sized backpack. As a debutante solo traveler, I was clueless about how to pack smart. While using the Paris metro line, I was so tired of lugging my heavy suitcase and backpack up and down staircases that at one older station, I resorted to pushing my suitcase down the stairs instead of carrying it”

Most frequent travelers will tell you how grueling it is to travel heavy with more than one bag. Imagine the hassles involved! You have to lug it to the airport, dodge crowds, stand in line to check it in and do it all over again on your way back. On the other hand, if you just have a lightweight carry-on bag or backpack, you can just take it and leave.

Traveling with one bag is cheaper

When you pack less, you save money. With only one carry-on bag, you save on checked baggage fees, porters and luggage storage costs. You can also save on travel by using public transport, rather than traveling in taxis to accommodate your big bags. In fact, you can even opt to walk if the situation permits. Great way to stay in shape too, eh?

Traveling with one bag is safer

This is especially true for backpackers and low budget travelers. Would you want to be in the Louvre looking at a Claude Monet masterpiece and worrying about your chunky bags back in the hostel room?  When you travel with just one backpack, you can always have it with you and be assured that it is safe. Moreover, many hostels and popular tourist attractions provide safety lockers for smaller bags at marginal rates. So, you can even leave them behind in peace.

Traveling with one bag reduces stress

Traveling with heavy bags can be a real drag! Learn the art of packing light in order to reduce stress and save time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to reach your destination airport and walk out with your carry-on bag instead of waiting at the luggage carousel for your bags to show up? If you are concerned about reusing smelly clothes, consider booking an Airbnb or hostel with a laundry option.

Traveling light is easier on your body 

Traveling with heavy bags often cause muscle strain, hernia and severe back pain. Do you want to throw your back out and spend your vacation days popping pain killers? Seasoned travelers will tell you what a nightmare that can be. Packing light will make travel so much easier on your poor muscles and joints.

Love and Road Choosing the Right Travel Backpack
Photo Credit: Love & Road

How To Choose the Right Bag for You?

Are you convinced about the importance of traveling light? Now, let’s talk about your bag. How will you choose a good travel bag?

If you’re a frequent traveler, we cannot stress enough the importance of investing in a good backpack. Spending an extra buck or two to get a sturdy bag will make your overall travel experience super comfortable!

If you’re on the market for a good travel bag, here are the three most important things you need to consider:

Choose the Right Bag for One Bag Travel

Backpack size and weight are important

As a general rule of thumb, go for a carry-on no larger than 22” x 14” x 9” inches. This is the standard size allowed in most major airlines.

The overall weight of your packed backpack should not exceed 20 pounds and it should ideally have a non-rigid frame. If you’re flying via a small airline in a foreign country, you may even have to pay extra fees if you exceed their weight restrictions.

Even if heavier bags are allowed in an airline, you still have to carry it around, don’t you?

Pick a bright-colored backpack with extra pouches and pockets

Choose a bag with a bright color to make it easy to spot in the luggage carousel (Just in case you exceed your weight limit and have to check it in!).

Also, check the interiors for pouches or pockets to hold your dirty laundry. However, avoid backpacks with too many straps, fittings or pockets as they add to your backpack’s weight.

Try the backpack before you buy it

Don’t go by the look and brand alone. As far as possible, try the bag before you buy it! Walk around with it in the shop to see whether it is comfortable. Also, check whether the fabric feels comfortable and durable.

If you’re shopping online and can’t try it, look for reviews and recommendations from other travelers. Order your bag at least a month in advance so that you can return it if it is uncomfortable.

Although this may seem cumbersome, the manufacturer warranty is important too. Check whether your backpack seller offers warranty for their products and compare them with the warranty policies of other backpack sellers.

Make Your Own Packing Checklist

Make A Packing List

If you’re a frequent traveler, preparing for trips doesn’t end with buying a good backpack. You also have to learn how to pack like a pro and the best way to do this is by making your own packing list! How you pack will set the tone for your trip. There are many printable packing list templates online that can make this task a lot more streamlined.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to sensible packing because what you take depends on your individual needs. But here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Roll your clothes, don't fold

Most travel experts, including backpackers, agree that rolling your clothes is better than folding. If you roll your clothes tightly, they would not only take up less space but reduce the chances of creasing as well.

2. Don’t pack too many clothes

Packing too many clothes is a big travel mistake that you will begin to regret as soon as your trip starts. Comfort and not fashion should be your mantra when you start packing. Pack only what you need to take and not what you want to take.

Many travelers have reported having to discard some of their favorite clothes and shoes simply because they were too heavy to carry around.

3. Pack from the bottom up

Pack all heavy items and things you may not require urgently at the bottom. Use the corner spaces of your backpack. You will be surprised as to how much space they can offer. At the top, put your essentials and a towel.

4) Check destination weather before packing

Think weather-appropriate. Amazing weather apps are just a touch away. Use them before you start packing.

If you are traveling in cold weather and need a bulky jacket, wear it on your body instead of packing it. You should also take a lightweight packable raincoat if there is a possibility of rain

5) Get travel size toiletries

Consider buying travel-size toiletries. You just need a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant. If you’re staying in a hotel, toiletries are usually provided as a standard.

Remember that you must stay under the admissible limit for liquids packed in your carry-on bag. Else, you will be forced to toss them out at the airport.

6) Get a lightweight travel towel

Bath towels are bulky and take up a lot of room. Get a lightweight microfiber travel towel instead as they take up far less space.

7) Buy a universal travel adaptor

We recommend investing in a good universal travel adapter so that you don’t have to worry about the different types of plug points in your destinations. After all, most of us hate going off the radar, right?

Packing light is a talent that takes time to master. So, don’t get discouraged if you cannot do the transition in one go. It takes experience and experimentation to get it right.

Final Thoughts

The key to packing light is all about considering weight, space and the duration of your trip. Start by selecting a bag that meets your needs. A lightweight carry-on bag is a great option for most trips, while a larger roller bag will be more suitable for extended trips.

Also, keep in mind not to bring too many items that you don’t really need. Choose clothing and accessories that can be used for multiple purposes and that can be easily layered. Roll your clothes instead of folding them and use packing cubes to keep your items organized. Make sure to bring any travel documents, electronics, and other important items in your carry-on bag. This way, you’ll never be without them even if your checked bag gets lost.

One bag travel is not only practical, but it also encourages you to travel smarter and to appreciate the journey more. With the right packing strategy, you will be able to enjoy the freedom of traveling light while still having all the essentials.

Make Sure You Have A Printable Packing Checklist

Download your free packing checklist here.

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