Carry-on travel

I was asked on the post below to share how I manage to travel without checking any bags. I thought it might be useful to share what I have done to date and what are some of the things I’ll be doing differently in the future. So I boiled it down to a few points:

1. Make a list of the clothes and shoes you want to bring. When I don’t make a list, I tend to bring more. I think the list makes you a bit more aware of the sheer quantity of things (will you really need four different bathing suits or three pairs of jeans?)

2. Make sure every piece of clothing go with every other piece. That’s a basic rule for traveling light. It allows you to maximize the number of outfit combinations you can make.

3. Don’t bring things you might use. We are not talking about trips to the middle of the jungle here. If you think there might be a chance that perhaps an extra party dress could possibly come in handy, maybe, then don’t bring it. Chances are you won’t need it and if you really do, you have an excuse to buy something new.

4. Think in terms of volume. I often don’t bring a particular piece of clothing or a pair of shoes if it is too bulky and would take too much space. If you really must bring your hiking boots, then wear it on your way down. And consider yourself lucky that you have that option because when Alan and I travel, we have to wear business casual clothes and shoes that we know will be useless where we are going, and have to stuff our hiking shoes, which take a lot of room, into our suitcases. The joys of traveling as an employee.

5. Choose a good carry on set of luggage. We did zero research on this. We simply bought a set of Air Canada carry-on suitcase with the matching bag that goes on top. Something like this:


6. Pack it systematically. My basic system is simple: since the bottom of the suitcase is sort of uneven because of the pull out handle, I stuff socks, underwear, bathing suits, anything that fits between the ridges. I then put any pants with their ends (the waist part) lined up against the top of the suitcase and the legs hanging out the other end. I put the next pair of pants on the opposite direction. Once that is done, I roll each tshirt or top in very tight rolls, which I line up on top of the pants. I usually have one or two layers of these (which is a LOT of tops – I can often have way more than 10 tops in my suitcase). People who swear that rolling method keeps their clothes wrinkle-free say you should rolls more than one piece together; I don’t really do that. I basically do it so I can fit more clothes; it works well. But I tend to roll only lighter clothes. Once I have my layer of rolled clothes, I fold the legs of the pants on top of them and I add any other bottom or thicker clothes on top (like a pair of shorts, a sweater, etc) and then I fastened the straps inside the suitcase and pull them tight. I can usually fit one or two pairs of shoes on the space at the corners. I then use the other bag to bring gifts, any shoes that didn’t fit on the first bag, toiletries, hair drier, etc.

I think the longest trip I took with this system was about three and a half weeks but could easily have spent a couple of months since I didn’t wear half of what I brought with me. Honestly, I do think I carry a LOT of stuff on those two bags. You would be surprised.

So, as I mentioned below, my goal is to trim down from that system to one in which I can only use one bag. I’m hopeful that it will be possible after I found out that hard suitcases with wheels have half the volume and twice the weight of soft bags like the one I ordered below. So it might be possible to trim down without giving up on too much. We’ll see. But here’s how a family was able to go around the world on 7 kg of carry-on luggage each. Courtesy of One Bag One World blog.

Author: guerson

Food-obsessed historian and knitter.

7 thoughts on “Carry-on travel”

  1. I’m paying attention! Vou testar o seu método na minha próxima ida ao Brasil. :)
    Adorei o “Don’t bring things you might use.” – Sou mestra nisso! Afff

  2. Using this method for visiting family is even easier – over time, you can leave some stuff behind (some clothes, a couple pair of shoes) and have all these extra items that will feel new when you get there!

    Monica, remember the golden rule of travel: bring half the stuff you want to bring and twice the amount of money…

    Best of luck!

  3. Adorei as dicas e a indicação do One Bag One World blog. Obrigada! Já estou guardando para tentar colocar em prática na próxima viagem. Quero só ver que bicho vai dar. Espero que eu consiga!

  4. Oie! Descobri seu blog há pouco tempo, pela Andréa, do Picolé Carioca. Adorei a possibilidade de viajar sem despachar mala, até porque vamos passar 15 dias na Inglaterra a partir da semana que vem e pretendemos fazer vôos internos que não incluem franquia de bagagem. Só que… não sei como fazer com as coisas de banheiro, já que não se pode mais embarcar com líquidos. Como você faz? Compra tudo lá?



  5. Oi Camila,

    Essa é a realmente a parte mais chata. Pode se embarcar com liquidos sim, desde que estes respeitem os novos limites – ou seja, cada liquido tem que estar num potinho de não mais do que 100ml e todos os liquidos devem caber em um saquinho tipo ziploc de mais ou menos 20cm x 20cm (1 litro).

    Informações do site da British aqui

    Aqui no Canadá é muito fácil comprar todo tipo de produto (shampoo, gel, pasta de dentes, spray para o cabelo, espuma de barbear) em tamanho menor de 100ml. Basta procurar pela sessao de viagens que qualquer farmacia tipo Shoppers Drugmart.

    Mas quando eu estava na Espanha, não encontramos NADA dos tamanhos recomendaveis. O shampoo nós tínhamos embalagens pequenhas e foi só encher com nosso shampoo normal. Mas creme de barbear e produto para o meu cabelo nnao tinha mesmo. Como íamos passar 4 dias em Lisboa, acabamos indo sem e comprando lá mesmo. gastamos uns 2-3 euros em cada item (creme de barba e mousse pro cabelo) e os deixamos no hotel. Fazer o quê, né?

    A vantagem de viajar com o marido é que ele tem menos coisas pra colocar na sacolinha dele e eu acabo colocando algumas das minhas coisas (hidratantes para o rosto, protetor solar, brilhos para labios, etc) na dele tambem ;)

    Boa sorte! se vc se animar, deixa um recadinho aqui contando como foi!


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