Just discovered this website: http://www.onebag.com. Tons of great advice about packing, what to bring, tips, etc. for traveling. I consider myself a pretty professional traveler/packer and I picked up some great tips wandering through this site today. Here’s the info from the home page:
Learn how to Lighten your Load!
There's no question: overpacking tops the list of biggest travel mistakes.
Thus this Web site, which offers exhaustive (some might say exhausting!) detail on the art and science of travelling light, going pretty much anywhere, for an indefinite length of time, with no more than a single carry-on-sized bag.
Why Travel Light?
Of all the travel skills you might acquire, travelling light is the one most likely to result in a relaxed, productive, stress-free travel experience. There are many reasons for this, including ...
Security: With a greatly reduced need to check baggage (or otherwise entrust it to the care of others), you are much less likely to lose your belongings to theft, damage, or misrouting. You likewise foil those who would enlist your unsuspecting aid as a conveyor of contraband goods. Would that peace of mind were always so easily acquired!
Economy: You don't have to pay porters and others to carry and store stuff for you. You eliminate extra baggage charges (and many airlines now charge for all checked baggage). You are more able to take public transportation (even from airports, just like airport personnel and flight crews), rather than taxis and limos. You can even walk. All of which also bring you into more intimate (hence rewarding) contact with the people and places you have come to visit.
Flexibility: Less stuff means greater mobility, which gives you more travel options. You needn't arrive at airports as early. You can board trains, trams, and coaches with alacrity. You can more easily deal with delayed transportation and missed connections (because you can choose alternatives without worrying about what will happen to your belongings); you can also switch to earlier flights when space is available. You can sell your seat (by volunteering to be "bumped") on full flights. You can travel as an air courier. You will be among the first to leave the airport for your destination, while others wait for baggage delivery and long customs inspection queues. And you won't feel compelled to take the first hotel room offered: you can comfortably walk down the street should the reception counter person quote an unreasonably high price.
Serenity: If there is a bottom line, it's that travelling light is simply a better, more hassle-free way to go. You have more time, because packing takes little. You waste less energy hauling stuff. You know what you have, and where everything is (as you pack your bag the same way every time). We've all seen those hapless folks at the airport, with too much baggage and panicked expressions, worried that they have lost track of something, or left something behind. Foreign travel in particular can be challenging because it is unfamiliar and unpredictable, but the one-bag traveller copes by operating from a solid, familiar foundation, with fewer unnecessary things to worry about.
Ecology: All of the above are concerned with short-term benefits to you. But travelling light also yields long-term benefits to the planet. Less stuff to manufacture.--> Less use of vehicles and other machinery to move things (including you) around. Less fuel for the vehicles that do move you. Less greenhouse gas production. Less damage to our celestial home. Greater likelihood of upcoming generations being around to do some travelling of their own.
I'm Convinced! How Can This Site Help Me?
He who would travel happily must travel light.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry
If there is a "trick" to travelling light, it's the understanding and proper use of a packing list. Apart from that, however, there's no particular magic, no specific secret. Travelling light is a skill comprised of a very large number of very small considerations. Individually, many of them might seem relatively unimportant; collectively, they make it possible to journey for extended periods of time carrying no more than will fit in a surprisingly small bag.
If you're a typical traveller, don't expect the transition to happen overnight (unless you are unusually diligent). The expert one-bag traveller will have learned a great deal about:
- What To Pack, avoiding the temptation of lugging around too much stuff;
- What To Pack It In, understanding what to look for in efficient & effective luggage; and
- How To Pack It, particularly the management of clothing so that it doesn't get wrinkled.
But there's no need to become an instant expert. Feel free to meander through this site, taking inspiration where you find it. Every single topic detailed on these pages can help you become a better (and happier) traveller, but it's unnecessary (and probably counterproductive) to tackle them all at once. Start with those that most appeal to you, and leave the others for when you seek to further hone your skills.
Where To Begin?
The main sections of OneBag.com cover each of the above three topics in considerable detail. I suggest starting with Using A Packing List, then continuing as and where your interests lead you; you needn't assimilate everything immediately.
If you came here looking for luggage tips, you'll find much on that topic under the What To Pack It In menu. Appreciate, however, that merely acquiring a bag, no matter how "perfect", will no more turn you into a one-bag traveller than a superb violin will turn you into a concert soloist!
You'll also find a detailed analysis of every individual item on my personal packing list, along with a considerable variety of supplemental information, including:
- a checklist of things to take care of prior to leaving on a trip
- contact information for suppliers of specialty items mentioned on these pages
- a (very) few recommended books on related topics
- a collection of links to a carefully-chosen assortment of sites that One Bag enthusiasts are likely to find interesting
- my own compilation of travel industry links for airlines, hotels, and rental automobiles, plus the best metasearch engines, handy lists of country/airport/airline codes, and tools for checking real-time flight status, airport delay conditions, & aircraft seating arrangements
And don't miss the TraveLetters page, featuring representative comments from people who have put these ideas into action, thus offering reassurance that this site isn't merely (or at least, entirely!) the ravings of some geek with a packing fixation.