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9 Tips for Traveling with One Bag, From a Skilled Backpacker

Traveling light is an art that expert travelers have mastered to maximize their experiences. Let’s be honest: it’s not very ideal to lug multiple heavy luggages around, especially if you have multiple destination stops during your trip. The best tourists know how to travel with one bag, and if the idea of living out of a backpack haunts you, don’t worry ? we’ll explain how you can travel as light as possible with either just a travel backpack, carry-on bag, and/or small luggages.

Even if you aren’t a minimalist, there’s no denying your trip will be easier the lighter you pack. Whether you’re camping, backpacking, or even planning an all-inclusive resort business trip, you don’t want to add the hassle of overpacking to your list of stresses. And yes, you might run into issues if you don’t pack everything you need for your next trip, so we’ve compiled a packing list, along with some tips and advice, to help make your one-bag travel run smoothly. Avoid baggage fees or a possible missing piece of luggage; instead, focus on your adventure that awaits by packing only what you’ll need.

How to Travel with One Bag: 9 Tips for Packing Light

1. Don’t be afraid to re-use your clothes. Ideally, you don’t want to pack for more than seven days if you can help it. Doing laundry is actually cheaper than a checked bag, so if you find yourself needing it, pack some dry powder laundry detergent in a Ziploc bag. Keep your clothes to just the essentials: t-shirts, underwear, and socks.

2. Pick light-weight fabrics that you can roll up to minimize how much space you’ll be using. Keep in mind that darker clothing helps reduce the visibility of possible stains and that neutral colors can make for multiple outfit options.

Venture Pal 40L Travel Hiking Backpack

3. Wear your bulkiest and heaviest pieces of clothing, such as your pants and jacket, during your road trip or while on a plane. If it’s too hot, you can tie your jacket around your waist or around the shoulder straps of your backpack. If you have extra space, you can pack an extra pair of pants, too.

4. Never bring more than two pairs of shoes: one casual sneaker for athletic activities and maybe a nicer pair for fancier events. If you find yourself with some extra room in your bag, adding a pair of lightweight flip-flops could also be beneficial.

One Bag Travel Mistakes to Avoid

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5. For toiletries, if you know you can buy certain ones at your destination, opt for that option instead of trying to stuff all your personal items into a small bag. You’ll also avoid issues with TSA, in having to worry about whether your bottles are the right sizes. Normally, hotels can supply toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, deodorants, razors, and more if you ask, or you can purchase those travel-sized items at a local store, which tend to run cheaper than the normal-sized ones anyways.

6. Quick-dry towels are incredibly handy, especially if you’re staying at a hostel or going camping. Their multi-purpose functionality will be useful in any situation you might find yourself in.

Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Fast Drying Camping Towel

7. While many like to travel with books to read while en route, you’re obviously not going to have much room in a smaller bag for more than one book. So if you find yourself needing to bring more than one, use an e-reader such as a Kindle. If you do bring a book and need more, you’d be surprised at how willing other travelers are to trade. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there are even hotel or hostel libraries where guests can exchange books.

Packing Cubes

8. Among the necessities to bring while you travel light that go beyond clothes and toiletries are specific gadgets such as chargers and adapters. If you’re traveling with a laptop, find a travel style bag that has a laptop compartment built in, so that it won’t get damaged. Use packing cubes to keep things in confined and organized, so that you won’t open your bag to find that your toiletries spilled all over your electronics.

Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Daypack with Laptop Sleeve

9. How you pack your bag is most important. The best way to first approach doing so is by laying out all the items you’re planning to put in you bag. Organize them by context, meaning putting pieces together to complete outfits and keeping your gadgets together, such as your laptop and chargers. As I mentioned earlier, rolling up your clothes so that you have more room is one of the best strategies to fit more in your bag, so roll your outfits together so they’re easier to take out when it’s time. Use those packing cubes to stay organized, so that your bag doesn’t get disheveled while trying to pull something out.

How to Pack a Carry-On for One Bag Travel

Tortuga 45L Carry On Travel Backpack

Have you successfully traveled with a single backpack or a small carry-on size bag? Share your experience with us at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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