Traveling with carry-on luggage only. Some love it. Some claim it can’t be done. Though it’s a challenge, I personally love carry-on only travel.
I started traveling with carry-on luggage only a few years ago, and I can’t imagine going back. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it work. I was amazed at how much easier plane travel became when I could eliminate checking my luggage at the start of my trip and picking up my suitcase (hopefully!) at the end.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a challenge, but it was also totally worth it. And I like a challenge.
- How to Pack Carry-on Only for a Week in Europe
- 10 Awesome Tips for Packing Light
- Complete Guide to Packing Your Liquids When Traveling Carry-on Only
Let me challenge you to give it a try on your next trip. Perhaps do what I did, try it out on a no-pressure domestic trip…maybe just a visit to family…to see if it works for you.
I think you’ll be surprised at how doable it really is.
Here are my top five reasons to pack light and travel with carry-on luggage only.
#1: Carry-on only travel means that all your luggage stays with you while you travel
I never have to worry about my bags making it with me to my destination. And other than the occasional leg of your trip on a plane with limited or small overhead bin space requiring you to valet check your bag until you deplane, all of your luggage will be in your control at all times.
#2: No waiting in baggage claim
This is a big plus for me. I love that at the end of my trip I get to just grab my things and go, no waiting at the luggage carousels for me! I’m already on my way to enjoying my trip or heading home by the time you see your checked luggage…I mean, assuming it’s there.
#3: It’s easier to be mobile
Imagine rolling into Florence on the train and walking through the pedestrian-only historic city center with an enormous suitcase the size of a trunk. I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you travel with a carry-on only, you can toss your bag in the overhead rack on your train and be on your way.
#4: Packing carry-on only forces you to think about your packing list…in a good way
How many times have you packed one…or several…garments that you didn’t actually wear once on your trip? But you told yourself you might wear it, so you needed to take it. Don’t! You don’t need it. You only need to pack what you definitely will wear…and, unless it’s for a special event, wear more than once.
What are the chances that the million people who see you at the Louvre will also be at the summit of the Eiffel Tower with you…and remember you….and remember what you were wearing? If they do, report them to the police, because you have a stalker.
All joking aside, there’s nothing wrong with repeating an outfit or two on your trip.
#5: It gives you the chance to focus on your experience rather than your things
After all, that’s why we travel, right? To experience new places and people and cultures, to perhaps step out of a materialistic mindset wrapped up in the accumulation of things?
There’s nothing wrong with caring about your appearance. I certainly do, but I care to the tune of one favorite lipstick and 8 outfit options for a one-week trip rather than more.
I have found that traveling with fewer things actually takes a load of my mind as well. When my suitcase is decluttered so is everything else. Truly.
There really is no downside to packing light and traveling with carry-on luggage only. Give it a try. I think you’ll find it’s a great way to travel.
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