Traveling by the one bag rule

Whether I’ll be away for a week or a month, I always follow this rule: take only one bag with you. This may seem like an extreme rule, but there are just too many benefits to traveling light. The most obvious benefit is the convenience. If you’ll be traveling by plane, you just have one carry-on bag. You don’t need to check-in your luggage when you depart or spend an hour or two waiting for it to appear on the luggage belt when you arrive.

Following the one bag rule also forces me to be very strict about what I really need. I don’t make room for additional items “just in case”. Oftentimes, these items can be bought or found in your destination anyway. It’s also a freeing feeling to see that all the items I need for survival can fit in one bag.

There is, however, a slight disadvantage to carrying just one bag with you. In my case, my friends are always laughing at me, saying that I probably travel light because I don’t bring a change in underwear. But I always have the last laugh, since I never lag behind nor complain about the weight of my luggage. This reminds me of something that Jeanette Winterson wrote in her short story, “The World and Other Places”:

The ones who recognised that love is enough and that possessions are borrowed pastimes, will float free to the exit sign, their arms ready to hug their friends, their toothbrush in their pocket. The ones who stayed up late, gathering and gathering like demented bees, will find that you can take it with you. The joke is that you have to carry it yourself.

How many bags do you often bring with you on a trip? Do you have your own packing rules?

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Posted by | Comments (5)  | May 7, 2009
Category: Vagabonding Advice

5 Responses to “Traveling by the one bag rule”

  1. Eva Says:

    What do you do about liquids?

  2. NZ Says:

    a the the one bag rule…I love it and would like to stick to it..but just can’t seems to make my wife implement it lol

  3. Cate Says:

    As an expat,I often move between countries so I have take more than one bag. If I just trip around it’s still two bags: camera bag and checked in bag. I don’t usually go by bag numbers though, I go by weight. My rule is to never travel with more than 15 kgs total unless it’s a return flight home. Not a lot, but do-able.

  4. Soren Aarlev Says:

    I always travel very light. I prefer to get my clothes washed more often than to bring extra weight. I’ve never tried the one bag rule though. I always have a small backpack (my rule is max 5 kilos) and then another small day bag, just for camera, cigarettes, books etc. I guess I could just put my small bag into my big bag when travelling, I never thought of that! I’ll definitely try the one bag rule on my next trip! Would be nice not to have to wait for your luggage after a flight.

  5. PT Says:

    the weight limit right now for most Airline is 7kg , so 1 carry on bag is just not going to cut it