Jetset Genius Podcast

9: One Bag Travel? Yes It’s Possible.

Why Smart Travelers use a Single Suitcase

 by Brad Kammlah

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In this Episode, You'll Learn:

  • Do you travel like Karlie Kloss
  • Are you a Loaded Traveler or a Light Traveler
  • Why traveling with even 2 bags can be stressful
  • Benefits of single luggage travel
  • Options for how to best travel with a single bag
  • Nested Bag Travel Technique

Is it really possible to travel with just one piece of luggage? And if the airlines let you bring 2 carry ons then why just bring one? Well smart travelers are starting to fully embrace the overwhelming benefits of traveling with everything in a single carry on bag and it's called One Bag Travel!

Do You Travel Like Karlie Kloss?

A few months ago I was scrolling through twitter and came across this photo of fashion model Karlie Kloss. And she was at the airport headed to Shanghai and was in front of 8, yes 8 suitcases!!! 

Fashion model Karlie Kloss at the airport headed for Shangai in with 8 hard shell suitcases.

Now she has a great excuse… fashion models need to change every 5 minutes on the runway. That's usually not required of me on a normal business trip, unless I spill coffee or something.

And while she looks totally relaxed, what the photo doesn't show is her struggling to push that over-sized cart of suitcases through the airport and try to get them checked. Now Karlie probably had someone helping her with all those bags, but you and I very well may not.

Now most of us don't travel with 8 bags, but even traveling with 2 bags can really start to be tiring after a few trips.

So let me first ask you…

Are You a Loaded Traveler or a Light Traveler?

There are really two types of travelers, the Loaded Traveler and the Light Traveler. Let's look at each one and you can decide which one you've been so far.

Loaded Traveler

The Loaded Traveler thinks they are traveling lightly. They might even avoid checking any bags and only have 2 carry ons, but when you look a bit further you might see the following:

  • Their 2nd bag is propped on top of the rolling bag, which keeps falling off
  • So they start to carry both bags
  • Their bags knock over everything in the airport store
  • They have to set down both bags to browse through the books
  • They leave with a magazine under their arm, dragging their bags behind them
  • Their fumbling with both bags while trying to get their coffee
  • Then they get a text and now have to somehow get their phone too

How do they look? STRESSED!

This is how most of us travel and how I traveled for years!

Now let's look at the Light Traveler.

Light Traveler

Now a light travelers looks completely different.

  • Everything is in one bag
  • There is nothing else in their hand, not even their phone… it's in their bag
  • They might even be straps on their bag, so both hands are free
  • They are leisurely browsing books and magazines
  • They grab a cup of coffee easily because they aren't fumbling with their luggage

When you see a Light Traveler at the gate, you notice something different. They are oddly RELAXED!

We immediately think this person must not have as much going on in their life. Then you overhear them talking about their startup and 80 hour weeks.

And then it dawns on us… traveling lightly with one bag is a HUGE STRESS RELIEVER.

So which one are you?

Author holding a small black travel backpack.

Why One Bag Travel is Amazing!

I switched to One Bag Travel most of the time a few years ago and had no idea just how nice it would be.

  • Less to keep track of
  • Both hands free
  • Forces you to pack even lighter
  • Easier to shop and stop in at a restaurant
  • Less stress!

How to Travel with One Carry On Bag

So then how do you do this? There are really two options:

Option 1: Single Bag

This is the best, lightest, simplest solution.

  • Fit everything into one bag
  • Pack your clothes in the main compartment
  • Pack laptops and electronics in adjacent compartments

I love traveling this way because I'm never fumbling with two bags and I've found it's perfect for weekend getaways and vacations.

The only problems with this approach are:

  • Going into the Office: Now you have to bring your larger bag into the office, which can be intrusive
  • During your Flight: Since your 1 bag is in the overhead bin you have to keep getting up to grab stuff like your laptop or headphones.

Option 2: Nested Bags

So to fix this, I now prefer nesting two bags into one bag.

  • Bring the same bag you would if you were just traveling with one bag
  • Bring a very small messenger bag or purse that can fit your laptop and electronics
  • Use a cable organizer to keep everything neat
  • Make sure that when both items are packed that the messenger bag fits inside the larger bag
  • Still get the benefits of just one bag, but you also can pop out the smaller bag during flight and when going into the office.

I am currently traveling with:

These nest well together, but I am always searching for new and better bags.

Try It!

I know you've probably been traveling for years with the same 2 bag system you've been using. And any change to your travel process can feel really weird, especially using new suitcase.

On your next trip, just see if you can use one of these packing methods and how you like it.

My guess is that you too will be surprised at just how nice it is to travel elegantly with a single carry on bag.

Happy Travels!

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