Worried about checking a bag during a chaotic travel summer? Consider perfecting the art of minimalist packaging with tips gleaned from Reddit.
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AAttention all chronic overpackers: we hear you and we see you, but you really don’t need to pack twenty pairs of underwear for your four-day trip. Let’s face it, some of us are blessed with travel anxiety and we pack it on our poor suitcases, stretching those zippers to their limits. But with so many recent reports on woes of summer air travel, maintaining the lifestyle of an overpacker (which certainly requires at least one checked bag) is dodgy at best. The solution? Commit to carrying only one travel bag, courtesy of r/OneBag.
When faced with a problem in modern times, most today turn to the internet for an answer. And there’s no better way to crowdsource a solution than to turn to the myriad online communities of Reddit, a website all about discussion forums. There are dozens of subreddits dedicated to travel, like r/DigitalNomad, r/TravelHacks, r/SoloTravel, r/small, and, of course, r/OneBag, which describes itself as “a minimalist urban travel community devoted to the idea of carrying less bullshit.” Getting feedback and reading about the experiences of seasoned travelers is essential, but learning how to make the most of those experiences without drowning in excess toiletries and clothing? You could call the advice invaluable.
So step out with the freedom to travel unburdened and remember, don’t pack your fears!
What is a trip with a bag?
A travel bag is a bit explicit: it’s traveling with only one bag. No check-in suitcase, no extra personal items, just the only luggage you can take on the plane. What’s the point? There are several advantages to traveling with one bag:
- Freedom: Traveling with just one bag frees up the rest of your body and makes it easier to navigate to your exciting new destination.
- Peace of mind: There’s a lot less chance of your luggage being lost by the airline (or just losing track of a suitcase) if you store it in an overhead compartment.
- Economic : Forget checked baggage fees.
- Win time: No more moping and sighing around the baggage carousel. Imagine being able to disembark, bypass the baggage carousel, and simply drive straight to your hotel with all your belongings. Plus, since you’ll be traveling with less, it’ll also take less time to pack (and unpack).
- Security: For those who like to travel solo, packing your belongings in one bag is a great way to provide maximum protection for you and your belongings, since everything is in one place, your belongings will be easier to keep track of.
Of course, there is a small inconvenience when it comes to traveling with only one piece of luggage: since you will only be traveling with hand luggage, you will have to respect TSA regulations when it comes to liquids. So, don’t plan on bringing back a souvenir bottle of wine or liquor during a single bag.
How to travel even with one bag?
Chronic over-packers might find the idea of using just one travel bag absolutely absurd. But all it really takes is a little wise planning.
Of course, not everyone will be able to comfortably take a one month European vacation with a Fjallraven Kanken backpack. But for those who have mastered the art, the benefits of traveling as (almost) free as possible, the pros outweigh the cons.
The bulkiest thing in everyone’s luggage is clothes. And while it’s not advisable to bring just one outfit for a trip, there are ways to simply bring less. Consider bringing fewer pairs of underwear than you would need and washing the unspeakably dirty in the hotel bathtub or washing bag. These pocket size biodegradable detergent sheets make the chore easier. Investing in a few pairs of woolen socks or other woolen pieces is a great idea. Thanks to the wool fibres’ hydrophobic propertiesBO particles have a hard time absorbing into woolen clothes, so you can wash them less often.
It’s a good idea to wear your biggest and bulkiest items on the plane, like jackets or boots (and they’ll keep you warm in that chilly cabin air). To save space in your bag, consider investing in a few synthetic fabric parts, which are easier to roll up or fold (rolling is believed to save more space than folding, but each their own side) compactly than traditional fabrics, have better wicking properties moisture and dry quickly. For some eco-friendly alternatives (polyester, acrylic and nylon fabrics are among the biggest contributors to microplastic pollution), invest in herbal linen, lyocell, rayon, bamboo and viscose garments, which perform much like their synthetic cousins.
Since shoes can’t be folded, consider sticking with the one pair of shoes you’ll wear on the plane and packing a compact pair of slippers or sandals if you need them.
As for toiletriessolid shampoo, lotion, conditioner and bar soap are your friends. Lush has a slew of in-bar beauty products, but brands like the New Zealand company Ethics (which also happens to be 100% plastic free) and Obia are great options. Not only do they pack away more neatly thanks to their naturally contoured shapes, but you won’t have to worry about them exploding in your bag either. Also, rather than carrying all the toiletries you need with you, consider packing only the essentials and buying anything you might need from a local pharmacy at your destination. Who knows, you might find yourself a fan of a new italian toothpaste.
Electronics can also be a problem. Consider investing in lightweight laptops and tablets if you know you’ll be on the go a lot. A multiport adapter is also a good idea, so you can bring just one charger for all of your tech. While packing, ask yourself: do I really need this electronic equipment? Do I really have to bring my Nintendo Switch? Or should I focus my efforts on connecting with the culture around me?
The best options for a bag
Although the internet can give you all the advice in the world, it’s a decision that only you can make.
A way to facilitate by r/OneBagis to decide in which camp you are: do you prefer “buy a bag and adapt your packing list to fit or pack your finalized packing list and measure LxWxH of it all and search for a bag with similar dimensions? »
Either way, there are a few things to consider when choosing a single bag. Do you want a backpack, a sports bag or a suitcase? If it’s the latter, is it important for you to have four wheels over two? Likewise, would you prefer a soft or hard shell? Regardless of the type of baggage, you also need to consider the airlines you commonly fly: are they the ones with strict baggage policies or are they more generous with baggage weight?
Here are some bag options frequently recommended by Redditors:
- Duffel bags: Cotopaxi Allpa 70L sports bag and Patagonia Black hole gym bag (which comes in 40L, 55L, 70L and 100L) are perennial favorites on the bulletin board. The sturdy bags are made of weather-resistant recycled materials and can be carried by hand or worn as a backpack (and the straps for either option are stowable and removable).
- Backpack: Scrolling through the subreddit, you’ll notice that backpacks are the preferred system for baggers. And there are so many choices. The one that appears frequently is the Bellroy Transit Plus Backpack because it respects carry restrictions, has a removable sternum strap and concealed hipbelt to take the strain off your shoulders, and has internal compression straps to reduce bulk. Another popular option is the Osprey Fairview Travel Kit. It comes with a zippered backpack for extra storage or just for walking around town during the day. For those looking for a hybrid wheeled backpack, the Fairpoint Osprey also good reviews. For something smaller, Redditors also suggested Cotopaxi’s Allpa 35L travel bag because it is light and has a full zipper like a suitcase.
- The suitcases: r/OneBag enthusiasts aren’t very fond of suitcases – the wheels weigh the bag down, and they’re not as easy to move around crowded streets or cobblestones. Yet, if they had to choose one, it would be the Briggs & Riley Compact Cabin Spinner Where Away is the carry-on. Both are sized to meet most airline carry-on limits and come with a lifetime limited warranty.
One Bagg Travel Hacks
- Use packing and squeezing cubes: Easily keep your clothes separate from your power cords (or, more importantly, your dirty underwear from your clean underwear) with these storage bags. They’re especially handy because they make it easier to pull out what you need (instead of emptying your bag looking for your tweezers). Compression bags also help crush items into more manageable packs – it won’t save you weight, but it will give you more space.
- Choose a rectangular shaped bag: Because squeeze cubes are usually rectangular, it is best to use a similar shaped bag, this helps to maximize packing efficiency.
- Bring a carabiner: A carabiner attached to the outside of your bag can be useful: it can hold an extra pair of shoes, a water bottle, a hat or a jacket.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to pack for every eventuality. And just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re going to be a drastically different person from back home, so only pack what you’ll actually use.