air travel Backpacking carry-on bag solo travel Transportation

How to travel light with Carry-on only

By Yrene – Last updated on February 15, 2019 – Solo Travel, Transportation, Travel Ideas

Have you ever considered ditching your cumbersome suitcase and travel light with carry-on only? You might have come to the correct place. During my current backpacking trip to Portugal, I travelled with a 40-litre backpack weighing only simply over 12 kilograms. The backpack held all my belongings for the four-week trip and it was January, the middle of winter. I had one bag, that was it!

Travelling light isn’t as massive of a deal in the course of the summer time months, nevertheless it gets difficult upon getting to pack heat clothes for cooler temperatures. Still, minimalist travel is completely doable and has tons of advantages.

The constructive facet of travelling light with carry-on only is large.  It provides me the freedom and adaptability I wouldn’t have with heavy baggage in tow.

Travelling light is figuring out what and how to pack. It’s necessary to use an appropriate backpack or bag and the correct gear for the trip, and determine what you completely can’t be without.

The Advantage Of Travelling Light

  • Travelling with only a carry-on you save on check-in baggage fees in your flights.
  • Saving time – With a carry-on bag, you possibly can go right to security if you arrive at the airport. At your vacation spot,  you don’t want to wait on your baggage to arrive and also you don’t have to fear that it might be lost.
  • Simpler to travel – With one bag,  you’ll be able to shortly move by way of airports and railway stations. It’s straightforward to travel on trains and busses and using public transportation.
  • Quicker to pack your bag – With a small bag it’s straightforward to pack up in your subsequent vacation spot and there’s a less probability that you will depart something behind.
  • Carrying your bag – You’ll walk with your baggage extra then you definitely anticipate. With a small backpack in your again, you’ll be able to go window buying whenever you’re too early to examine in at your lodging. Carrying a small bag can also be easier on your body.

What Backpack/Travel Bag Should You buy?

Travel light with carry-on - backpackMy Osprey Fairview 40 backpack

Examine and examine the weights of suitcases and luggage once you’re purchasing for new baggage. There isn’t a one sort of bag that matches all.

I made a decision to search for a bag with a most measurement of 56 cm x 45 cm x25 cm to match into any airplane’s overhead bin. Although some airlines permit larger dimensions, I needed to make certain that the dimensions of my bag was accepted by any airline I chose.

First I was serious about a tender bag with wheels and straps but thought that it may be unpractical travelling in cobblestone paved cities with numerous steps. Wheeling round on a lot of these pavement could possibly be a real ache and onerous on the wheels. Wheeled luggage also seem to be heavier and subsequently I made a decision, not to buy one. Nonetheless, these luggage go well with many travellers and are value testing.

Wheels or no wheels, I don’t assume that I’ll ever purchase a bag with out straps. Straps are practical features to have in a bag to transfer it into a backpack, to get you up those long stairways or via other crazy situations simply.

What Bag Did I Purchase?

Travel light with carry-on - the backpack I reccommendThe surface compartment of my bag displaying the laptop sleeve

I did a fair bit of analysis earlier than I made a decision to buy the Osprey Lady’s Fairview 40. This bag has many particular features and was what I used to be on the lookout for. Osprey luggage are additionally out there for males and in several sizes.

  • The Osprey Fairview 40 has the dimensions I needed. It opens up utterly like a suitcase, permitting me to easily see and entry the contents.
  • It has a LightWire frame and a mesh back panel for air flow and different options for carrying comfort.
  • I can zip away the padded straps and convert it right into a duffle bag once I board a aircraft. For day to day strolling around I have a cushty backpack.
  • It has a number of mesh dividers with lockable zippers to assist hold my stuff separate and a padded laptop computer sleeve. I especially like the water bottle mesh pockets on the surface.

How to fit an entire trip’s value of bags into the small backpack

Only take the fundamentals and determine what you are able to do with out. If unsure, don’t take it. Keep in mind which you can buy any essentials most locations you go. Whether or not you’re off travelling for every week or a month or a yr, in Mexico, Canada or Europe, you will have the fundamentals. The only thing that you’ve to modify, is your clothes.  Keep in mind, no matter you’re taking, you’ll have to carry round.

Ideas On Garments

Your superb travel clothes is sturdy and takes up minimal area and weight. An ultralight down jacket packs up into a tiny bag and keeps you heat and comfy. Be certain that to choose one with a hood!

Look out for clothes made out of merino wool which is super lightweight and keeps you warm in chilly climate and funky when it’s scorching. Options are clothes made out of wool. Select artificial materials for undergarments as an alternative of cotton. They are lighter, take less area they usually dry much quicker. Take layers as an alternative of bulky pullovers.

Don’t pack your giant and heavy merchandise, wear them as an alternative. Airports are often cold, no matter your vacation spot.

Packing Cubes

Travel light with carry on - packing cubesTravel towel, ultra-light stuff pack, silk sheet, mini umbrella and packing cubes

Packing cubes are an amazing invention. I didn’t have any once I left for the journey however bought two of them at my first destination. My cubes are made out of nylon with a mesh prime, saving plenty of area and helping me to be more organized. The bigger cube comes with two zipped compartments. The 2 cubes have been excellent for me and left enough additional area in my pack to retailer odds and ends outdoors of them.

The massive dice held my spare pair of light jeans, a couple of t-shirts and lengthy sleeve tops. The smaller cube I used for underwear and too many pairs of socks, a long-sleeved thermal shirt, and my leggings.

To maximise bag area, there are airless baggies available on the market that save you much more area.

How I pack garments to match into a small bag

Travel light with carry-on how to pack clothesThe Osprey Fairview 40 zipped open

I roll up all of my garments individually, making them more compact. You also can use rubber bands and tie up each bit of clothing to further save area. This gained’t make your bag lighter but you’ll in a position to match more into your bag.


Especially us lady seem to need many various beauty merchandise. Sadly, all we will take is a one-litre sealed plastic bag filled with liquids and lotions to undergo airport safety, and that’s not so much at all. You might determine not to take something and buy all of it at your destination. This works, when you travel to one place and keep put. The problem with this is, that you’ve to fit all of the stuff you buy into your pack once you transfer on and have to eliminate it before taking your next flight until you buy all small quantities.

Myself, I don’t like to search for a store as quickly as I arrive at a brand new place. As an alternative, I refill small bottles and containers at residence.

By means of Airport security I maintain all of it within the required plastic bag and transfer it into my toiletry case at my destination. This all the time has worked greatest for me.

Most toiletries can be found as strong products, which tend to be smaller and may be a greater choice for you.

Should Have When You Travel Light

Travel Light with carry-on Osprey Stuff Pack My dawn jacket, day pack, my snug footwear, my purse and scarf

  • Extremely-light Stuff Pack – This the absolute hit! My ultra-light backpack from Osprey packs away into its own carry case when it’s not in use however provides me 18 litres of area once I need it.  As quickly as I arrive at my vacation spot, I exploit it for my day journeys. It carries my digital camera, additional clothes, snacks and a small water bottle. It even has an extra zipped compartment with quick access on prime.
  • Small purse – You could go for a waist bag as an alternative, or a travel pouch to put on inside your garments. I really like to have a small purse close to my body. It has to be small enough so it doesn’t rely as an additional bag once I get on the aircraft. In there I maintain my pockets, passport, cellphone, timetables and a pen.
  • Travel towel – They often are available three sizes, pack up small, dry super quick and are useful in numerous situations. I all the time wrap my digital camera in it for additional protection once I carry it in my day pack.
  • Sarong – You’ll discover limitless use in your sarong. I exploit it as a seashore blanket, curtain to block out light, wraparound, additional shawl, maintain my head heat, bed cover, and extra.
  • Scarf – Identical to a sarong, a scarf has many makes use of. Put on it whenever you travel so it doesn’t take up area in your pack.
  • Pair of light slippers or thongs – For cooler destinations, any light skinny slippers will do. For a scorching local weather, a pair of thongs might be extra helpful.
  • Leggins – can be utilized as a spare pair of pants, to sleep in, or worn underneath your normal garments.
  • Silk sheet – Not all lodging you come across is clear, and sleeping in your personal sheet may give comfort and help to get an excellent night time’s sleep.
  • Small mesh bag – It shops my electrical adapter, cables for my cellphone, digital camera and laptop computer.

What Not To pack

  • Cumbersome towels – Take a camp towel as an alternative. Towels are virtually all the time provided. At hostels, you’ll be able to lease them for a minimal payment.
  • Electrical toothbrush and charger – Although I missed my SoniCare toothbrush dearly.  I recommend getting an electric travel toothbrush
    that runs on batteries as an alternative.
  • A large first assist package for any unexpected situations. – Hold it primary. You will all the time discover a pharmacy in cities and concrete areas.
  • Travel Guide Books – I promised myself, that it was the final time I lugged a Travel Guide Ebook alongside. Getting digital travel guides reduces a fair bit of carrying weight.

Ideas On Electronics

  • Laptop computer – Don’t take one if you can do with simply your telephone and you will save further area in your bag. I carried my 15.6″ display measurement laptop along and wished I might have had a smaller one. For street tripping in Canada, the large measurement works nicely but takes up an excessive amount of room in a keep on pack. A advantage of having a totally charged laptop computer with you, it may well charge your lifeless cellular phone.
  • Cellphone – Undoubtedly probably the most helpful system to take along. I used it with no knowledge plan and relied on Wifi only. All the apps I downloaded have been extraordinarily helpful. Offline, the telephone was my navigation system, my second digital camera and my flashlight. Take a look at my favorite apps once I’m on the street.
  • Digital camera – I took my mirrorless Sony 6300 along and I’m glad I did. The digital camera is comparatively small and gave me some great photographs. No digital camera means additional area again. My compromise was to depart my zoom lens at house.

A Observe On Backpacking

My recommendations on travelling with a carry-on backpack are meant for city destinations and concrete travel. To enterprise into backcountry Canada or any sparsely inhabited rural area, my recommendations and lists mentioned in this article aren’t suitable. Backcountry travel needs far more gear.

Backpacking is a particular approach of travelling and best for minimalists. For those who have been a suitcase traveller till now, it’s time to give backpacking a attempt. Travelling with a backpack in your back provides you a lot of freedom and alternatives to meet open-minded, fascinating individuals on the best way. With only a backpack you’re cellular and in control, something which is great for individuals of all ages.

Related Hyperlinks

Join my Publication, comply with me on Fb and get notified on new posts.

Be a part of our new Facebook Group Backcountry Canada Discussions

Yrene Dee

Yrene lives in Lumby British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of She was born in Switzerland, lived and labored on totally different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that’s me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover. I write about things I really like. Mostely.

About the author