Minimalist Travel – Carry On Only

Packing lighter will make life on the road more comfortable and flexible. By keeping your bag carry on size you can  save a lot of money by avoiding check in bag fees. Plus when you land at your destination you also save time by not having to wait at baggage claim. 

Taking a smaller backpack you will also avoid over packing. Less space will reduce the temptation to accumulate things as you are on the road and force you to prioritise packing only the essentials.

Most airlines allow for a total of 10kg this includes one main bag and a smaller bag for under the seat in front. For us, our backpack of choice is the Osprey Farpoint 40 litres. It is a comfortable bag with a lightweight frame and has a lot of capacity. This backpack is front loading which means it opens like a suitcase, making it very easy to pack and unpack.

Packing Tips

  • Pack “Must Have” not “Just Incase” items. Before you pack, layout all of your gear. Think long and hard about the items you really need. Anything you don’t really need do not pack. Remember there will be shops where you are going!!
  • Only pack one week worth of clothing. Pack versatile clothes that you can mix and match or dress up and down. It is much easier to do your laundry on the road then it is to lug those extra KG’s. Most hostels and Airbnb’s have laundry facilities, plus doing laundry is MUCH cheeper that checking in a bag!
  • Use packing cubes. Packing cubes will completely change the way you organise and pack. My general rule is to only take one packing cube of clothing. This prevents over packing and the cube also compresses my clothing allowing for more room in the backpack.
  • Make the switch to digital. If you enjoy a good book or like me you are a travel guide addict (Lonely Planet books to be precise) making the switch to digital will save you so much space. Prior to your trip download any books or city guide you need. Those bulky books taking up that valuable space will be a thing of the past.

Carry on liquids

When traveling carry-on, packing liquids can be a real struggle. Tip number one is to avoid paying a premium for those miniature travel size toiletries. 

  • Most toiletries meet the criteria. When taking toiletries in your carry on you are limited to products 100ml or less. A lot of our day to day items actually already met this criteria. Toothpaste, roll on deodorant, face moisturisers, hand cream, make up. Typically these products are easy to find at 100ml of less.
  • Invest in a good set of reusable travel bottles. These bottles will allow you to take your favourite toiletries on your trip. 
  • Replace liquids with solids. Soap bars, shampoo bars, and sunscreen sticks make for a great alternative to those large liquid bottles. 

Every trip has different packing requirements. Make sure you plan in advance and pack accordingly to your trip. What are your minimalist packing tips? Leave in the comments below.


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