Traveling with just a carry-on is amazing. I try to not brag about it too much when I’m on the road, because I know it pisses off some people (the ones with big bags-cough), but here I’m bound to say the truth : it’s the best.
Here’s why :
1 – You don’t have to pay anything extra on your flights.
2 – You get in and out of the airport faster.
3 – You’re free. No need to think about where to store your things, or how to get them from point A to B, you can just go. I once rented a bike to tour the north of the Netherlands, how could I have done that with a backpack that I couldn’t take with me?
4 – Your back will thank you. A thousand times.
5 – Taking only the essentials will make you appreciate a minimalist lifestyle. It makes everything so much simpler.
6 – It’s just practical! You should have seen the people with suitcases trying to make it to a cab at the arrival bus station in Iceland in 40 centimeters of snow, while I simply walked the twenty minutes to town.
7 – When you arrive in a new city, you can enjoy it rather than having your main focus on finding accommodation so you can put your bags down.
8 – It’s always cheaper.
Honestly, the freedom is the best part. Just try it once, and you’ll see what I mean.
So, now that I’ve convinced you, there’s still the main problem to solve, which is to answer the “but I need ALL these things”.
I used to think so too. On my first trip I left with a suitcase, a backpack and a tent. I was so intent on not being that ridiculous again, that I found the one secret to traveling carry-on only.
Are you ready for it? It’s pretty revolutionary.
Okay, the one secret to traveling carry-on only is to … drumroll … buy a small backpack!
I’m not kidding! Buy a small backpack, and you’ll see that you’ll just have to keep thinking until you manage to fit the essentials in there. That’s how I did it, and now I always travel, no matter how long I leave for, with my Osprey Sirrus 36L backpack and less than 8 kilos to carry around.
Some advice on how to choose your carry-on :
1 – If you’re a woman, look for one specifically made for women. The structure is not the same.
2 – Find one with a rain cover, or buy it separately, it’s useful in case of rain (duh), but also to make it less accessible to wandering hands in a crowd.
3 – Consider if you want a top or side loading backpack (mine is both, it’s the best).
4 – Look for straps to attach a tent or sleeping bag to. Could be useful if you want to go on an impromptu trek or camping trip.
5 – Don’t buy a backpack in a bright color. You want it to be as discreet as possible.
6 – Mine has a feature I really love : the mesh back system, which means that there’s a space between my back and the backpack itself, which means that I never end up with the typical backpacker sweaty back.
7 – My last advice would be to make this purchase an important one. Try the bag, don’t buy anything too low-cost. This is something that can last you your whole life, and that you’re going to spend a lot of time carrying around!
If you have a carry-on backpack to recommend, comment below, I’d love to know about it!
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