travel with just one bag

How to Travel Carrying Only One Bag

For obvious and not so obvious reasons, traveling with only one piece of luggage exists as a great advantage. From cheaper fees regarding baggage to general ease of mobility while you’re on the go, practicing the art of minimalism is the way to do it while venturing the world.

The question though is how do you do this? Many people see the benefits and perhaps even go as far as to say that they will indeed “pack lightly next time,” but when that next time comes, they’re boarding the plane again with most of the content of their room too.

Packing lightly is always easier said than done, but it certainly isn’t impossible. If you are interested in taking on this challenge, follow this guide to take the first steps towards your “one bag only” vacation.

Develop the Mindset of a Minimalist

This first step is especially important for those inclined to a more materialistic sort of lifestyle. Minimalism entails reducing your life down to the bare necessities. While taking on this philosophy and applying it to an entire lifestyle may not be so practical, applying it to your travels is another story. Packing lightly starts with a conscious decision to only bring what you absolutely need.

Some people may find that their judgment in defining things of absolute necessity a little bit skewed, so you may want to invite the input of a trustworthy and honest friend.

Read also: How to Successfully Create a Sustainable Wardrobe

Organize for Easy Accessibility

When it comes to packing a backpack, it’s all about efficiency: putting stuff where they’ll be simple to find when you need them.  It may take some time for you to figure out which method works best for you. Practice packing and unpacking your backpack at home and on short journeys to find what works best. In any case, you’ll want to develop a technique that you use consistently, so you have what you need when you need it.

Before you begin packing your bag, arrange the items you bring in and classify them according to when you will need them.
Learn how to sort your gear in order of importance, then add those items to your pack so that the weight is evenly distributed.

Choose a Perfect Backpack

Look for a backpack that allows you to fill it to its maximum capacity. A good backpack should be resistant and made of high quality materials. Choose a model with a lightweight, waterproof and insulating fabric. The backpack should have several internal and external compartments that allow you to access them quickly. Finally, you should choose a model that is neither too large nor too small. Remember to always check the weight of the backpack.

Pack for a Week… Or less.

Depending on your bag’s size and your dressing habits, you may be able to fit an entire week’s worth of clothes quite easily. Or not. Either way, a good approach to packing for one bag is anticipating what is needed in a week’s time. Even if you might be abroad for longer than one week, remember that there is a thing called washing machines.

Also, try to think of items that are especially cumbersome and limit yourself to only one or two of those things. For the ladies, such items are probably shoes. Consider packing one pair of shoes suited for a variety of occasions rather than lugging along a whopping twenty pairs.

Roll your Clothes

The majority of us fold and stack our clothes and belongings. Your bag or luggage becomes a mess and everything is spilling out, unfolded, and unorganized. This isn’t the ideal approach to prepare for a vacation. So, how should you pack a suitcase or a compact travel bag such as a backpack?

Roll your clothes instead of folding them inside your pack. You’ll be shocked how much room you can save this way. This also allows you to sift through your backpack’s contents more effectively without having to empty everything out.

Adopt the Practice of “Communal Living”

This step works exclusively for groups traveling together. If you’re headed out for a vacation with your honey or with a group of friends, consider putting each person in charge of certain items to bring that can be shared within the group. This could be anything from shampoo to a camera. But when it comes to toiletries, try to maintain a standard of hygiene.

…Or Shrink Everything

So this step may not be applicable to clothes, but it certainly is with your toiletries. Visit your local convenience store and stock up on mini bottles and travel sized containers. For clothes, consider investing in some airtight bags that are sure to reduce space in an overflowing bag.

Read also: Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With A Baby


Overall, packing lightly with only one bag is a great practice for the frequent traveler. With less of a burden on your back, the freedom to roam long and far, and some money saved on that baggage fee. The majority of frequent travelers will tell you how exhausting it is to travel with multiple bags. Consider the difficulties! You’ll have to take it to the airport, navigate crowds, check it in, then do it all over again on the way back.  It’s safe to say that the light traveler is the happier traveler.

I hope you now feel confidence in only taking the necessities with you on your next vacation and that you will pack light. I know that seems intimidating, but believe me when I say that you can do it!


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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Kara Bout It