How to Travel the World in a Single Bag
One of the easiest ways for us to travel inexpensively is usually on a budget airline, + with budget airlines usually come extra payments for EVERYTHING. One way that we make sure we don’t get hit with an even larger bill? By only ever traveling with a carry-on. We’ve traveled for 3+ weeks with nothing but a carry on + because of that have saved thousands of dollars (seriously…RyanAir has NO problem hitting you with that 50 Euro baggage fee). How do we do it? Read below to find out!
before you travel
Plan Your Outfits - K is a HUGE proponent of planning out what you think you might wear each day. She writes out an outfit for each day of travel, + depending on the length of the trip she tries to make sure she’s wearing each item in at least 2 different outfits. Obviously, once you arrive you don’t have to stick to your plan exactly, but it does help cut down on overpacking + making sure that you’re bringing clothes that can actually be put together in outfits.
Roll Your Clothes - One way that we can fit everything we need into a carry-on is by rolling our clothes. It takes up much less space than folding your clothes + it helps keep them wrinkle free. So it’s a win-win. Our only exception? Bulkier clothing items - like sweaters or jackets. Those we fold + is our last item to be placed into our bag.
Realize What You Can Live Without - Everyone has different priorities, but you do have to figure out what your priorities are before you travel. L is a beauty regime guru + loves her Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask + all the skincare products. She takes up more space with these items in her carry-on. K, on the other hand, is in an online master’s program. That means she generally needs to travel with her laptop + charger to keep up with her schoolwork while traveling. We each sacrifice some other items in order to make room for our priorities.
Pick the Right Luggage - We love the Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote for traveling. Yes, it’s on the pricier side, but there’s a reason it has 1.5k reviews with a 5 star average on Nordstrom. We love it because it folds up into itself which means it takes up almost no space in your luggage + allows you to use a backpack as your personal item. If you are using it as your personal item we love it because it zips up, which we’ve found many totes don’t. For our actual suitcase? We love a hardshell suitcase. The hardshell cases maintain their shape more when full which means they’ll always comply with the airline standards. K bought this one last spring + it’s held up amazingly across multiple Transatlantic + domestic flights! Soft cases tend to bulge when full + after one too many struggles trying to stuff them into overhead bins, we switched to hardshell cases for good.
Figure Out What You NEED to Pack - If you’re traveling with someone, do you both need to bring a Mac charger + toothpaste? Chances are, no. Plan with the person or people you are traveling with + don’t pack multiples of things that aren’t necessary. Traveling alone? If you’re tight on space think about what things may be easier to pick up once you land, such as a few toiletries, to cut down on your luggage.
at the airport
Wear Your Heaviest Items - Regardless of where we’re traveling, we always wear a long cardigan when flying. This not only opens up space in our suitcase, but also helps to keep us warm on the plane + they make for great blankets! We’ve also learned that shoes - especially boots - take up a lot of space. If we’re tight on space in our suitcase, we’ll wear our boots on the plane.
Rewear Your Clothes - If you’re traveling for 3+ weeks, it’s going to be hard to bring 21+ pairs of pants in a carry-on. For items such as jeans, you should really be able to wear them ~3 times in a trip depending on how long you’re traveling for (J Brand’s former Head of Design actually recommends wearing jeans 4-5 times before washing them). Remember when we suggested planning your outfits before packing? This is why. Mix + match the clothes you brought to make the most out of a small packing list.
Take Advantage of a Washing Machine - This is crucial if you’re traveling for more than 1 week + plan on rewearing some items multiple times. Most Airbnb’s we’ve stayed in have some access to a washing machine + if you’re staying in a hotel some hotels offer washing services for a small fee (still cheaper than paying $50+ to check a larger bag!). If neither is an option? Try hand washing a few items.
Don’t Go Crazy on Souvenirs - Don’t buy so much stuff that you then end up having to also buy an extra bag to bring it all back (although, this is why we love tossing our Longchamp into our bags in the event this happens). Do you truly need to buy all of your coworkers a trinket from your travels? Probably not. L + I do try to pick up one item on our travels to help us remember our trip, but be smart about it! K, for example, loves to pick up a print when she’s traveling. This is perfect because it’s flat so takes up almost no additional space.
What are some of your favorite packing tips? Let us know below!