How to Travel With Only a Carry On

If you’re anything like me, you hate checking luggage. I hate it almost as much as making multiple trips carrying groceries. Sometimes it feels like a necessary evil, especially because airlines are shrinking carry-on sizes every other day!

The hassles of checking luggage range from mild inconvenience to trip-ruining catastrophes. If your luggage makes it to your destination (emphasis on IF), then you have to wait in that drab baggage claim area fighting your way to the luggage belt so you can wait until the very end when it comes out next to the duct-taped garbage bags and car seats.

On a recent five day trip to Italy, I decided I wasn’t going to go through it again. I decided I was only going to use carry-ons. That’s right, I traveled internationally, for five days, and only used a duffle bag and a messenger bag. And let me tell you…It was AWESOME!

3 Step Process

Years ago a friend let me in on a secret he learned in the military. Instead of folding clothes, roll them. That’s it! That is how I made it to Italy and back with only a duffle bag. It all starts with step one.

1. Lay it all out. Deciding what to and what not to take is going to make or break your ability to travel light.

  • Plan for exactly what you need by day (as best as you can).
  • Laying it out helps you take a visual inventory of what you’re packing.
  • Go back through and pull out what isn’t necessary. Several of my items got the ax and to be honest; I didn’t notice at all on the trip!

2. Time to roll. This is the important step.

  • I typically roll every article of clothing except for socks. It’s my opinion that socks take up more room rolled than laying flat.
  • Try to keep your rolls as tight as possible; it cuts down on volume.
  • Stack all your clothes next to each other again and make sure you have everything you need. (Maybe you have more than you need)

3. Time to pack. Here’s the moment of truth. With everything organized and rolled, you’re ready to go.

  • Start with putting in rigid items like shoes, Dopp kits and pants first.
  • The second layer should be shirts, socks, and underwear.
  • Tuck in any extra accessories you may have and zip it up!

Make sure you check with your airline before fully committing to only carrying a duffle. The dimensions and restrictions are constantly changing. Between carrying my Dolce DuffleDolce Zip Top Brief, and Dolce Shave Kit, I was able to enjoy my travels worry free. My traveling companions not so much. Both of my colleagues’ luggage was lost between connecting flights. It took the airline three days to get them their luggage. In short, the weekend duffle bag is no longer only for weekend trips.

For all of Bosca’s travel accessories shop here: Bosca Travel Accessories