It seems that more and more of us are desiring to travel and explore the world sooner than later in life.
There is so much to see and do, that sometimes the smallest changes will have a tremendous impact on how we experience our adventures.
One sure shot way to improve your exploration is to minimize the items you carry.
A successful one backpack traveler brings with them their most essential items and organizes them in such a manner to allow everything to fit in their backpack.
They are all about the journey, can let go of the material things and adapt to their environment.
Benefits of one backpack travel
A hands-free experience allows you to interact with the world without the hindrance of holding additional items.
Rather than having to pull a bag behind you, you’re hands are free to do other things such as grabbing a bite to eat, being able to write, and opening doors.
Less baggage to deal with
You have less baggage to bring about with you. You will have fewer items to worry about remembering.
A backpack that you carry around with you always, you’ll want to make sure that it isn’t as heavy, so therefore you will have fewer items in it and have less weight to carry.
Fewer things to worry about
When you have checked items, you’ll have to make sure that you picked up all the pieces of luggage from the carousel.
Whereas, if you only have one bag to think of, it takes the stress and conscious thoughts of having to count and check if you have grabbed all your luggage.
Having plenty of bags while traveling, you might try to keep track of items, and it adds to worry about remembering the things you brought.
When you head into a bathroom, let’s say, you have less baggage to think about. When traveling with a roller bag and carry on, sometimes you don’t have the space to go into a stall, and therefore you need a place to store your luggage.
It’s an issue if you travel alone, it isn’t so bad when you’re with others, because they would be able to watch your things for you.
With only a backpack, you can bring it with you into the restroom.
Easy access to all your items
Everything you own will be in one bag, you don’t have to play the guessing game trying to find a particular item. You will not have to go through different bags to search for what you are looking for.
With the bag resting on your back, you can easily swing it around to open it and grab the things you want.
A bag with multiple pockets helps you stay organized and be able to access the things you are seeking.
Freedom to pick up and go
Having with you one bag that you are responsible for allows you to pick up and go. It takes less time to gather all your belongings.
Once you get off the plane, you can go about your merry way instead of having to add another stop at the baggage claim.
With your backpack secure to your body, you can move around more easily.
You are not pulling anything behind you. And you can walk easily and use the escalator. In comparison to a bag with wheels, you have something to drag with you, and getting on and off an escalator is challenging.
You can move more quickly without additional items to carry!
Save money on baggage check-in
You’ve already spent quite a bit of money on your flight, why not save yourself some funds and the hassle of checking in your baggage.
A backpack that meets the cabin allowance frees you from checking-in your item.
More time for enjoyment
While vacationing, you want to be able to maximize the time actually enjoying your trip. You can save time by only having one bag.
You save time by not checking your bag in, and not picking it up from baggage claim. You don’t have to search for a cart to carry your extra bags.
You save time because you are packing fewer things and fewer bags.
Fewer things to worry about losing
The chances of misplacing items are less because you have fewer items with you. Also, you have fewer things to account for.
Since you don’t have many things with you, you will most likely remember what you brought on your trip. Therefore, the chances of leaving anything behind is significantly lower.
It’s safer hauling fewer items
Having to deal with hauling multiple bags can lead to injury. The bag can
From my personal experience, I’ve witnessed my mother fall backward on the airport escalator, hauling bags behind her. She was trying to time the sequence of the escalator steps and when to step on with her bags. She made a miscalculation and lost her balance and fell.
This can even be an issue for the elderly. As you age, you can potentially lose your coordination. Making it difficult to walk and navigate stairs and escalators. Just imagine having to carry multiple bags too.
All your belongings are with you at all times
There are times when things do not go as planned, or the itinerary doesn’t match up.
For example, your check out from the hotel is much earlier than your actual flight back home. So, where do you leave all your bags? Traveling with only one bag, you keep all your belongings with you at all times.
Flights can change, and at times your luggage arrives later than you at your final destination. That puts a damper on your trip. When you have one bag which is with you always, you never have to worry about your change of clothing or other essential items being apart from you.
You feel secure knowing that all your valuables are with you at all times.
How to prepare for one bag travel – Choose the right bag
The right bag is the most important investment you will make. Consider the following things:
One of the most essential things to consider is the size of the backpack you will be using. Make sure that you can pack a good amount of items in it. Have a backpack that suits your needs that has enough space for you to pack all your essential things.
Ensure that your bag meets the requirements of the airline you are taking. Check the airline before deciding which bag you want to use for your travel. Check the dimensions and any weight restrictions for your carry on.
When selecting a backpack, it is ideal to try it on and try a few to get a feel of which one is right for your body type. You have to decide if the level of comfort is to your liking. This is the utmost importance because you will be carrying it around with you most of the time.
Make sure that the backpack is secure to your body, and that it will not cause any harm to your back.
Choosing a backpack with a chest strap and a hip strap is a great idea. If the bag doesn’t come with some items, you can purchase separate accessories to add on to your bag.
Bag size that fits under the seat
You’re already considering traveling with only one bag. So, why make things more complicated by trying to fit all your stuff in a bag small enough to fit under the seat of the plane?
Well, you may want to consider this if you have a short trip and or you want to ensure that all your items stay close to you. Bags that fit under the seat in front of you are considered personal items. If it fits under the seat, you don’t have to worry about finding space in the overhead bin.
According to usatoday.com size restrictions
“Below-seat dimensions vary slightly by the airline. American Airlines accommodates personal items up to 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches in size.
JetBlue’s under-seat allowance is a little more restricted at 17 inches by 13 inches by 8 inches. Southwest has one of the most generous policies.
It allows travelers to bring personal items of up to 18.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 8.5 inches onboard.”
Smaller bags are also great if you will be walking around a lot and want to have less weight to carry on your back.
The material your backpack is made out of is important. Some things that you may want to think about and consider:
Breathable material for additional comfort from the heat
The material that goes against your back should be made of breathable material if you’re seeking additional comfort. You don’t want it sticking to your back, it’s not fun, especially when you’re visiting hotter climate destinations.
Durable, smooth zippers
The last thing you want your zipper doing is breaking while you’re traveling, so make sure that the zippers on your bag are sturdy, smooth, and secure.
YKK is an excellent quality zipper, and if you can find a bag that seals the zippers, even better.
Waterproof backpacks and covers
A waterproof backpack is great because you never know what weather you’ill encounter in your travels.
The material, which makes the bag waterproof, also makes it easy to clean.
An alternative could be purchasing a waterproof bag cover. This way, you don’t need to invest in a whole new bag.
Security for your bag
You will be carrying some of the most important things you own in one big bag. Consider owning a bag that has RFID, slash-resistant material, and anti-theft locks and zippers.
Variety of pockets
Bags with multiple compartments allow you to organize your items. The separate compartments allow you to place the things you want where you want and have access to the items you need immediately.
Whether you are bringing your laptop to use for entertainment or for work, it’s good to have a bag that offers a separate compartment for your laptop.
Having a separate compartment in your bag to store your laptop makes it easy to access it at the airport when you have to remove it from your bag to get it scanned.
The separate compartment tends to have extra padding to protect your device.
It also keeps your things organized, so you don’t need to worry about something leaking into your laptop when it shares space with other items.
Many bags fit a 15-inch laptop, but make sure that your bag fits your particular computer size to be sure.
Clamshell opening bags
Since you’re traveling with one bag, you want to be able to utilize every inch of space in it.
A clamshell opening bag allows you to have access to all the space in the bag. You can open your bag all the way around, making things easy when it comes to packing, and you can visually see most of your items when it’s fully open.
Using packing cubes
Being organized is one of the main tips that help people who travel with only one bag.
Packing cubes are typically rectangular shaped fabric containers with zippers. You use it to pack your clothing.
They help you organize your clothing so you can maximize your bag’s space. So that your clothes aren’t everywhere, but instead folded into one of the cubes.
Another great thing about them is that you can open your bag and not have to worry about your items of clothing falling out.
They are like mini drawers, so you take them out of your bag and place them in the cabinets in the room you are staying in and have access to your clothing easily.
You can also take out what you need, and remove the right cube, as long as you arrange your items.
There are two kinds of packing cubes you can use. There are ones which compress and ones that don’t.
The ones which compress claim to save you more space by compressing, thereby reducing the size of the cube. The idea is that you will be able to have more space in your bag for other items.
Plan your wardrobe
As you plan your itinerary for your trip, plan what you will be wearing as well.
Pack the right clothing for the climate, activities, and events you plan on attending.
Decide ahead of time what you will wear for the days you are traveling. You can even take photos of the outfits for each day, so you can refer to them. Doing this will ensure you pack less and will take less time for you to get ready each day of your travel since you’re planned ahead of time.
Reuse your clothing
Maximize the clothing you bring by reusing them. For example, you don’t need to bring 3 pairs of jeans. Bring one or two pairs that you can reuse.
Mixing and matching your clothing, create more outfits for you, so that you don’t have to worry about wearing the same things in your photos if that is of concern to you.
You can use things such as scarfs to add some change to your outfit. Or mix and match tops with the same bottoms, to create an entirely different look.
As much as possible, you’ll want to wear and pack clothing made up of lightweight material.
Light clothing allows you to be comfortable and also minimizes the weight in your bag. Allowing it to be lighter, to enable you to pack other things in it.
An example is a lightweight jacket, which keeps you warm, but is not bulky.
Some clothes can convert into different styles and also can serve as multi-purpose. For example, some pants have zippers that can be unzipped from the leg, and they turn into shorts. Or, shawls that can convert into a dress.
Dress in layers to save room in your backpack
Wear layers and any bulky items when you are boarding the plane. This way, you can pack less in your backpack.
Spacing saving shoes
Shoes can take up a lot of space in your bag. Therefore, you’ll want to minimize the number of shoes you bring. Wearing one pair and packing the other.
Ideally, wear bulkier shoes and pack the lighter one.
Another option for shoes to consider is wearing lightweight or barefoot shoes. Shoes that you can flatten and pack in your bag.
Cloth refresher and wrinkle spray
Consider bringing with you a spray that can refresh your clothing so that you can reuse them.
Packing cubes are also great to minimize the wrinkle in your clothing. But, you could also use wrinkle spray that you can use to “iron” out your clothes if the iron is unavailable where you are staying.
Everyone’s definition of essentials differs. For the most part, it will be many clothing items that we can do without.
The best way to tackle this is to lay out all the items that you believe you will bring with you on your trip.
Take inventory of everything you see and make decisions on which items are essential to you. Things that you cannot go absolutely without and are necessary to make your trip stress-free and enjoyable.
Most of the time, it will be some clothing that you will have to remove from your item list. Be creative on how to make the most of your wardrobe, and you will not have regrets about packing less clothing.
For the women, one thing to consider is minimizing the amount of make-up you pack and go without bringing your large hair tools.
Don’t bring things you can purchase when you land
You can minimize the items that you bring with you by buying these items once you land at your destination of choice.
Toiletries are usually items that you can purchase once you land. It’s primarily a great idea if you are traveling for a more extended period. That way, you don’t have to bring multiple containers for your liquids.
You could even consider purchasing laundry soap so that you could do a few washes of your clothing, and be able to use them again.
Airline baggage allowance
Research the airlines’ baggage allowance for each trip you take. Each airline has its own rules, and the last thing you want is you have to check in your backpack because it does not meet their requirements.
Lightweight, compact and multi-purpose items
Bring with you items that don’t weigh much, can compress, and can serve multiple purposes.
Items to consider:
- Inflatable pillow
- Lightweight water bottle
- Lightweight coffee mug
- Small foldable bag
- Dry bag
- Travel size containers
- Bring a tablet that can serve as your laptop/entertainment
Protect your things
You want to make sure your bag is secure as well as protect the contents in your bag.
Purchase TSA approved locks to secure your items, even though the idea is that your backpack will be with you at all times, you never know if you will be asked to check it in. This is an added security feature.
RFID bags and wallets are a great idea to invest in to protect your personal information.
Bring an extra foldable bag, to have just in case you have to check in your backpack. You will have another bag there to remove all your essential documents from your backpack to keep with you at all times.
Another option is using a fanny pack or a cross over bag.
Have a small laundry bag, wet clothing bag, and shoe bags to separate your dirty clothing, damp clothing, and shoes from other items in your bag. This ensures the clean clothing stays clean and dry.
Flying economy with your one bag packed up could pose challenges if you are looking to use the overhead compartment to store your bag.
At times you will be one of the last few people who end up boarding the plane, and the overhead cabins are already filled up, You can possibly be asked to check your bag in.
So much for the convenience of having one bag with you. To avoid situations like this, you should learn how each plane boards their passengers and try to choose your seat accordingly.
For example, many flights board from the back on the plane to the front. So, you would choose a seat as close to the end of the plane to ensure you are one of the first few people who board. This will ensure that you will be able to park your bag in the overhead bin.
Being able to travel and enjoy your trip is attainable with one backpack travel. There are many benefits to traveling this way. The one that makes it worthwhile is that you have more time to enjoy your adventures.
By following the advice and planning ahead, anyone is capable of achieving this type of travel.
It may not be a one size fits all. It does take a bit of trial and error and a skill to be comfortable not bringing everything you desire.
Overall, with the right mindset and organization, you will experience simplified and fulfilling travel adventures.