Long Winding Road · The Grind

Traveling Freely

Source: Flickr user o5com

I just got back from an eight-day trip for work to San Antonio. I didn’t check any bags for my trip. Yep, that’s right – I had a carry-on and a tote bag, and that’s it. I’ve never done such a thing before. I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone anywhere in an airplane without checking a bag before. Granted, most of my work trips are 5 days or more; I’m not in the kind of job that takes me away for a night and then I get to come back home…but I also only have to travel 2 or 3 times most years instead of every week or whatever, so there’s the trade-off. Anyway – yes, I am a wondrous wonder, traveling for eight days without any bag-checking action. There seem to be two questions I’ve encountered when telling people about this: how and why?

First the how: I owe it all to a great website, onebag.com. It’s filled with good advice, packing lists, pros and cons of different bags, clothes folding methods, etc. I didn’t follow all of the advice – for example, I wasn’t down with washing out my undies in the sink and hanging them up to dry on a clothesline that I brought with me to the bathroom of a 4-star resort, all to save the space 4 pairs of underwear take up in my bag – but a lot of the advice was sound. I found that following the bundling method to pack my clothes really did save a lot of space and kept most of the wrinkles out. I planned my outfits in advance and packed layers of clothes so I could mix and match camisoles and pants and sweaters and jackets and whatnot and never look like I was wearing the same thing the whole week. I got by with two pairs of shoes the whole week and felt fine about that. The only thing I didn’t bring with me that I missed all week were casual pants. I’m a jeans girl, and I had no jeans or shorts or capris to change into after work time – I was trying to save space by leaving them out, but I really missed them. Don’t think I’ll leave them at home ever again.

Now for the why – because it’s awesome. Sure, I didn’t spend the crazy checked bag fees, but since my company would be paying for that on this trip, that wasn’t such a big deal. But the real reason to do it is it’s freeing. I printed my boarding passes at home, walked into the airport and straight to the security line – no other waiting. When I landed, I walked straight to a taxi – no time wasted on the interminable wait for bags in the baggage claim area. It’s as simple as that. It was truly, truly awesome, and I missed only ONE THING that I decided not to bring with me. I’ll bring a pair of jeans next time, and I expect all will be wonderful.

We’re preparing for a big family vacation in May which will be followed by my attendance at a 4-day conference for work. The vacation will involve a cruise – which requires a plethora of clothing as it is – as well as amusement park attendance. The conference will require business casual attire. Total time gone will be 12 days. A lot of different types of clothing will be required. I’m still game. I’m going to give it a try again. And I have a back-up plan – if the clothes don’t fit by the bundling method, I found an alternative method of packing from a flight attendant. 🙂

So how about you guys? Is anyone else a carry-on only enthusiast? Any tips for a newbie?

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