TraveLetters (reader comments)
I get mail. Quite a bit, in fact, much of it from readers who want clarification on a particular topic of interest, or have suggestions of their own to offer. But I also get letters from folks who've tried out the ideas described in such detail on these pages, in a wide variety of travel situations. I thought it might be useful to include a representative sampling of them here, to help convince you (should you need it) that the approach I champion really works — for "regular" people, not just us obsessive types — and can make your travel experience more pleasant as a consequence.
And as many of these writers attest (often to their surprise), that discovery can be life-changing.
I've edited these letters only very slightly, to protect their authors from a public exhibition of minor grammatical faux pas. So what you read here is unsolicited commentary from people more or less like you, who just happened to discover OneBag.com on their wanderings through cyberspace.
Letters From Readers
I just wanted to thank you for your One Bag website. At first I was doubtful that I could bring everything I'd need in a carry-on, but my wife and I gave it a shot on our honeymoon in Italy, and it was great. Compared with previous trips, we realized almost all of the benefits you mention on the One Bag front page: we didn't have to take taxis, it was much faster to pack, we never had to check our bags, and we never stayed somewhere because it was too much trouble to take our bags somewhere else.
I always used to enjoy traveling when I went, but I would never look forward to it at home. Now I love traveling and think about it all the time. What a difference One Bag made!
I am a professional pilot. I travel for a living. I used to use the steel-sided bag that you see a lot of airline pilots dragging around; it weighs 14 pounds before you put anything in it! That was my large bag (I had two others!). Then I saw the article in USA Today about your packing method. I was on your site within two hours. Within a week I had a Red Oxx Air Boss.
The first time I culled items from my suitcase that I hadn't used in years, but "might need", it felt like doomsday approaching. Now I laugh at airline employees lugging all that crap through the airport. I carry the Air Boss, and that is all.
I am spreading the message. Once you see the light, it changes packing from a chore to a quick task. You bettered my life in a profound way.
I took a seven-night cruise last year and packed a ton of stuff. Nearly killed me lifting and hauling, and it was hard to find room for my enormous suitcase in the cabin. Well, I just got back from another seven-day cruise and all I brought was an Air Boss bag (rented the tux on the ship).
Thought you might get a laugh out of my "before and after" picture. I think I'm getting the hang of traveling light.
I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. I just got back this weekend from a trip with my church to the Dominican Republic. I took a lot of your advice and packed very lightly into one backpack. Everyone else (172 people to be exact) had big bags to take.
Even though we chartered a 737, bags were a huge hassle for everyone. Everyone except me — the only one in the whole group to have only a single carry-on! I could not believe how much time everyone spent loading and unloading their bags.
The best was when we were leaving the country. I got off the bus and was able to be the first in line, got an exit row seat, and off to the air-conditioned terminal (the ticket counter is out in the heat). While I was sitting back eating an ice cream cone, my friend stood in the line for 1.5 hours in the heat! Man was I glad to have my one bag.
I ended up using almost everything I took and never once needed something I didn't have. It was awesome. No one in my group could believe that I got everything I needed in one 1500 cu. in. bag. It was too cool.
Thanks again. I owe you one!
Thanks so much for your onebag.com web site. I have always been a heavy suitcase traveler — bringing everything "just in case." (And sometimes with luggage weighing over the limit!) I am on my way to Mozambique for 2 weeks and wanted to pack light. I can't believe it — but I actually am able to pack everything in a carry-on! If you knew me, you would know this is a miracle! I feel much more comfortable knowing that I won't lose my luggage.
Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how much I love onebag.com. I found it through Google, I think, and it has made a convert out of me! I used to be the worst packer — your stereotypical woman traveler with three suitcases packed with every bit of clothing imaginable for a weeklong trip. But now I've realized just how great living out of a carry-on can be — I spent a week in Italy with just one light roll-aboard (unfortunately necessary due to my back problems) and I even had clothing to spare!
I am a single woman and belong to an Ivy League dating group; among the many things I put there in my description of myself is that I go to France and Italy very often and that I make a point of taking only one carry-on, no matter how long I'll be gone for. You can't imagine how many responses this one trait has attracted!!! Never mind that I play the piano, am fluent in several languages, graduated from Harvard, am good-looking, athletic, etc, etc, etc. … the one thing that really attracts the men is the ONEBAG notion! So many men have told me things such as their marriage broke up because the wife had too many bags … not under her eyes but at the carousel! One man said that he left his wife at the bottom of the path to Santorini because she had so much stuff the donkey couldn't take it up the hill and he decided there and then to leave her. Just thought this would amuse you.
Thanks so much! My husband has been to Russia to teach in a Bible School seven times and the bundle wrapping method of packing has been so helpful to him. He has shared it with many others who were going on mission trips.
Last month, my girlfriend and I took our leap toward onebagness for a trip to France. We road tested the philosophy through airports, Paris' Metro system, and the luggage racks of the new TGV train to Strasbourg. I can say without reservation that we are converts. The system is genius, and it is practical in every way. We never felt the need for things we didn't pack — in many instances we felt that we overpacked (me one too many shirts, her a dressy dress), and this was in the oft-chilly weeks of early October. Thanks and praise to the packing list, which recommended thermal underwear, an obvious but usually neglected choice. Most of all, it was the little suggestions that added up: needle and thread, duct tape, sink stopper, used to prick a bottle of contact solution, repair a ripped backpack, and stop the shower to soak tired feed, respectively. And I can't say enough good things about bundle wrapping. I am certain I am going to become one of those people who snicker at luggage-laden travelers from now on. I am a one-bagger and never looking back.
I just wanted to thank you regarding the AA flashlight recommendation. Without the light, I would have missed out walking the Ankhor Wat royal libraries by the light of the red moon. The shampoo bar and travel towel were also indispensible.
… someone mentioned how well everything I wore went together so well. Choosing the one color scheme, in my case black and gray, eliminated the need for lots of shoes, jackets, etc.
I've mentioned you/your site to lots of folks. They may laugh at me for reading how to pack but I came off looking good!!
A "One Bag" travel mission in the books… and I'd call it a complete success!
From the moment I began reading your website in preparation for my two-month solo journey around Europe, I knew that to continue reading would be in my ultimate best interest. So I kept reading, and for the most followed your advice to the tee. I even managed to eliminate items from the packing list making my load much lighter.
Some of the best amusement I got was from people who felt the need to make fun of my MEI "Voyageur." People just could not fathom how I could be in Europe for two months on a strict budget with that tiny bag. They would speculate on all the things (read: necessities) that I must be without. In eight weeks and ten countries I rarely, if ever, desperately needed anything that was not in my trusty Voyageur. I did not see a single other person who was carrying the same bag as me. Even on the longest walk the weight on my back usually was not over-bearing, but I cannot imagine if I had had to bear the extra 40–50 pounds that some of the "Voyageur" critics I met were jamming into their enormous backpacks. The best things in life really are free!
I just wanted to write and thank you for the many excellent product selections. I will continue to consult the website and will surely continue to recommend onebag.com to any of my friends and family who may travel.
The Red Oxx "Air Boss" & bundle wrapping method have revolutionized my air travel. Finally, I feel I'm doing it right. Excellent work.
I bumped into your site after last year's terrible vacation with two (they weren't both mine, however) ultra-heavy Samsonite suitcases (of which the heaviest one broke — the pulling-handle, of course!) on flights and trains and the London subway (aargh!!). This year, I'm setting out for a similar trip, though much more enlightened.
As a woman with the need to wear different kinds of purses at different occasions, look glamourous some evenings (we're not backpackers, my husband and I like to live fairly comfortably) and comfy for museum excursions, it has taken some extra creative thinking, but I think I have nailed most of it. I have also discovered the fun of it, the joy of finding new solutions.
I've had some shorter "trial" trips during the winter, long weekends and such, and I'm down to a small, stylish carry-on-bag that weighs no more than six kilos. In it, I fit one pair of shoes, two pairs of pants, four tops (two long-armed, they work double instead of taking a big sweater), an overcoat, umbrella, raincoat, a backpack, a clutch and a middle-sized handbag. I also carry lots of medication, being allergic and astmatic. I'm confident I could live out of that bag for months.
Thank you for your lovely site and all the inspiration and good humour!
We found in the course of our journey the convenience of having disencumbered ourselves, by laying aside whatever we could spare; for it is not to be imagined without experience, how… a little bulk will hinder, and a little weight will burden; or how often a man that has pleased himself at home with his own resolution, will, in the hour of darkness and fatigue, be content to leave behind him everything but himself.
I serve on the board of a small development agency and recently took a short trip from my home in Canada to The Gambia, where we had a team of nurses and pharmacists working in the main teaching hospital. I found your site a couple of weeks before I left and I must have spent hours reading every detail. I adopted as much of your philosophy as I could (given the short lead time), and even with a sub-optimal bag was easily able to take everything I needed for a week without checking a bag.
As it turned out, a few of us missed the last leg of our inbound flight and were stuck for five days in Madrid waiting for the next available flight. Through the whole experience, I couldn't stop noticing: 1. all the wasted space in the ubiquitous rolling luggage that was everywhere; 2. how much less stress I experienced by never having to check a bag (thereby avoiding several customs and security checks); and 3. how ineffective rolling luggage is when removed from an airport (seeing a 50kg woman trying to lug an enormous rolling suitcase up several flights of stairs in the Madrid metro was probably the clearest example).
I did end up checking the djembe (drum) I bought for my wife on the way back, but having no other baggage to check, I didn't have to pay any excess baggage or shipping charges.
I just got back from two weeks in eastern Europe with only a small carry-on bag. I survived hot weather and very hot rain. I mailed some stuff back. When I came back I was routed Brussells to Washington DC to LA to SF, and because I only had carry-on luggage, I managed to get a standby seat from Dulles to SF instead of going through LA. This got me home four hours earlier at the end of a very long day. Very nice. I'll do it again.
I am currently emailing you from Sweden, with my ONE carry on bag. One recommended on your site, actually. The [now discontinued] bag from Rick Steves. This is the best way to travel. I have bought a few things, a pair of sneakers and two shirts, and a book. But bringing one bag has prevented me from buying crap.
I have to tell you that I felt very egotistical when the woman at the ticket counter in Atlanta asked me how many bags I was checking. I said none, and she said, "No, ma'am, I didn't ask how many you're bringing on. I asked how many you're checking."
[one year later] Well, I'm emailing you just one more time to let you know that I continue to use your website. I am getting better and better (and, well, smugger and smugger) about traveling lightly. I always smile to myself when I pass people staring at that conveyor belt, waiting for their luggage…
Last winter, I put Doug's advice to the test. After figuring out what luggage restrictions were in effect for carry-on luggage on international flights (particularly for liquids & electronic items), I happily spent 2 weeks in jolly old England carrying only ONE SMALL DAYPACK.
It's true: my 100ml bottle of shampoo ran out, but I bought some more at a Boots outlet at Victoria Station. I had to do laundry a few times, but that was also a pleasant domestic adventure. I sailed through customs and was on the train from Gatwick in under forty minutes, while my fellow travellers were snarled at the luggage carosel for at least another hour. Instead of struggling with taxis, I wandered through London snapping out-of-focus pics and eating eclairs before finding my hotel.
Thanks to Doug's advice, I was able to drastically reduce the amount of crap on my back, with no reduction in the enjoyment of my trip AT ALL. In fact, the reverse is true — I had a better time because I was carrying less! Unreal. Revolutionary. … I have seen the light.
I stumbled [into OneBag.com] last year when planning a round-the-world trip for myself and my husband. Suitably intrigued, I decided it sounded like a good idea, and certainly worth a try — was it ever! We have just returned from four months of travel (Dec – March) in NZ, US, Canada, Western Europe, UK, and Thailand. We stayed in campervans, hostels, hotels, experienced temperatures from -20C (thank you, Calgary) to 40C, skied, swam, hiked, went to clubs, pubs, casinos, and concerts, and walked around numerous cities, thanking various deities that we only had to carry our single [bags]! … we managed to stick to the 7kg limit for all flights.
So thanks very much for showing how it is possible to travel light. I hope our experience encourages other travellers to do the same! It's sooooo worth it.
PS: The single most useful item we took was our travel washing line … Everyone should have one!
The tips on OneBag.com were invaluable on a recent trip to Canada and the US. We were away for a month and I could not believe how much easier it was to pack with your tips. The bundle method of packing my clothes was an eye opener for me. I have recommended the site to friends and will continue to do so.
When I came across your website, I was very skeptical. I have never been able to pack lightly, and the one time I tried, I had all the wrong things. However, I now have a one-year-old and knew that when I did my traveling this summer I was going to need to pack lightly for myself, since I had to pack for two. I probably studied your website for a couple of months prior to our first trip in June. After I got my clothes packed in the large suitcase I usually take, I realized, "Hey, I have a lot more room left than usual. Maybe I can fit this into a smaller one". And so I did. And I had leftover room there. Then I fit it into an even smaller size. I had my husband and son share the large suitcase, and we were both surprised that I had less stuff than my husband! For our next trip in July I ordered a new bag and managed to pack even more lightly than before, and even packed all of my son's clothing needs in a backpack. It really is a fantastic feeling not to have to check luggage.
As my wife and I are getting ready to travel overseas to lecture, I took the time to visit the One Bag site. I just finished "bundling" my clothes and, to my absolute amazement, was able to neatly, conveniently, and easily bundle what had taken up two sides of my suitcase into one side! It even looks better. Thank you.
It has now been several years since I've converted to onebag travel, and I've never looked back! I was able to use one bag for travel for one month (in winter) to Michigan for a family medical emergency. I was able — amazingly — to carry all my clothes, caving gear, sleeping bag, and pad to Hawai'i in just a carry-on. My trip back was delayed and I had to go straight from the airport to work. This wasn't a problem, as I didn't have to wait for luggage, and was able to put together a nice work outfit because I had coordinated my clothes. I was able to use one bag to travel to Africa for two weeks on a mission/relief trip. I "forced" my roommate to pack for one bag too. This was a huge relief, as she broke her foot previous to the trip, and I had to handle both my baggage and hers. I couldn't have done it if we had not packed lightly! The best part? We were able to use our [checked baggage allocation] to carry supplies for the refugees. Your packing list was so complete that I ended up supplying others with all the little things they forgot.
I used your techniques to pack for a one week business trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where I needed business attire every day plus running clothes and shoes. Incredibly, I was able to get everything in a carry-on suitcase plus a briefcase for documents and computer. Using your techniques, all of my clothes remained wrinkle free. I told my colleagues about your website and you have forever changed how I pack.
I travel about 320 days a year. I haven't been home — or even had a house or apartment — in seven years (I tour with Broadway-style shows). Discovering your site changed my life. I am not overstating it: with the frequency and distance I travel, luggage has been a primary concern of mine for a while. I went from four bags (a 30", a 28", a 22", and backpack seven years ago) to a single MEI Voyageur today. I haven't checked a bag in forever. And I love it. Here in China now (where we are allowed 44 lbs total), the rest of the company is coming to me for advice on how to do it.
I did a six-week solo trip to Europe for the first time. I was an absolute novice traveler and I completely relied on the information and philosophy of OneBag.com. My friends and family thought I was insane when they saw my small bag just before I was leaving for the airport. My trip was a total success! And very stress free.
Our family group of three siblings plus spouses went on a self-planned 15-day trip to Italy in fall 2012: Rome, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Orvieto, Sorrento and vicinity, and finally Pompeii. All the planning and coordination paid off with a trouble-free and fabulous trip, helped in large measure because we "drank the OneBag Kool-Aid" and packed down to one bag each. In my case, for example, OneBag pointed me to MEI and their excellent Voyageur pack which I would never have found otherwise. Marvelous to be able to get around with nothing more than could be easily carried. And since one can leave clothes, etc. that are not targets of theft with the hotel, one can play tourist all day with nothing but a small day pack or messenger bag. Freedom to roam! Often no need for a cab! OneBag was a great discovery and we very much appreciated [it's] sound advice.
The very concept of traveling with one bag intrigued me, though everyone thought I was crazy when I insisted on packing one carry-on bag for a three-week trip to Rome, Copenhagen, Michigan, and NYC. But I did it, and will never, ever travel any other way. Thank you!
I was printing out a checklist for our holiday trip, and I realized how many years I've been using your site. It's radically changed how we travel. We've spent 3 weeks in England and Ireland with just carry-ons, 2 weeks in Italy, 2 weeks in Mexico, and just this March, two weeks in Japan and China in quite cold weather with just our carry-ons. It's truly fabulous! We actually use bags that are a bit smaller than your recommendations … [and] occasionally have trouble with security and customs people at airports, who can't believe we don't have any other luggage.
I think the most useful aspect of OneBag is the idea that the packing list is a contract we make with ourselves and that it represents the absolute maximum amount of "stuff" we will carry. I've gone from using a 26" case for three-day trips to carrying my Air Boss for a two-week trip and have never felt the lack of any item.
I really appreciate your help and suggestions. All of your tips are coming together and I cannot believe how much more efficient this is.
The Air Boss is amazing! Lightweight and very roomy and rugged. I am so happy with it, I promptly put my Tumi stuff on eBay and the wheeled 22" suitcase sold for USD$471. The Air Boss was half of that! I felt bad for the buyer as I thought, "He hasn't read OneBag.com and has no idea what he's missing."
Also, the Quark AA² is an amazing flashlight. I can't believe how powerful it is.
I wanted to let you know that my family used your travel techniques for a two-week trip to Japan in November. It was quite successful, and we can't imagine travelling with multiple bags again. Using Japan Rail to travel all over Honshu was so easy. We never had to struggle across the gap or try and fit giant suitcases behind the last seat. It also made it really easy to lock up our belongings in a train station locker for a day of sightseeing. We could fit three bags into one large locker for ¥400! I could then fit everything we needed that day into a Hammock Bliss daypack, including all the day's souvenirs. We even used your recommendation for bow ties when our family attended a formal steak restaurant ("Bow ties are cool", as stated by Dr. Who, became our own family declaration). Thank you for putting so much effort into this site and helping "lighten the load" worldwide.
I would like to take a few minutes to thank you for a terrific and informative website!!!
In the last six months alone, I've traveled to Prague, Brussels, Amsterdam, Nice, NYC, San Francisco, Baltimore, Tucson. And last but not least, Chester, CA.
Fortunately, I've been able to travel Business Class (international), and First Class (domestic). However, my luggage has not fared so well! For some odd reason, Delta enjoys my "frequent" visits to their Baggage Claim Center. In fact, I see Eric the Delta B.C. Rep in Atlanta more than I see my husband! (I know there is a joke somewhere in that last sentence!)
After finding your website, (a fellow passenger provided this information). I decided to implement a few of your ideas… I absolutely could not believe it!!! Everything fit into my carry-on…
You are either a genius or an angel!!! (And I'll be missing Eric from Delta.)
I've been on the road half time for 15 years, with wheels. It was your site that convinced me to go wheels-up, and it's been great ever since.
I'm so grateful for your advice. I've been a believer in principle, but now I am in practice. Let me explain. I've been reading OneBag.com and have had it bookmarked for several years. I've implemented some of the techniques piecemeal, primarily because I had an old rolling carry-on and just couldn't justify buying a new one when this one wouldn't die. Nevertheless, I've coveted the Red Oxx Air Boss for about three years now.
Well, my roller finally did die on a recent trip. And I bought a black Air Boss before I could talk myself out of it.
The challenge was convincing my wife that "no wheels" was a good idea. We have two little boys: one almost three, the other a year-and-a-half. It was a hard task, but I convinced her to let me try it for our upcoming nine-day family vacation to Maui.
It was an amazing experience.
I know people abuse the word "amazing", but I mean it here. My packing was easy and extremely organized, I did not over-pack, I had room for almost all the kids' clothes, two iPads, a MacBook Air, accessories, and the bag was still light enough to carry. Bundle wrapping was perfect. My wife had one carry-on, duffle-style bag too.
Now, we were traveling with toddlers, so we were not 100% one-bag, but the extras were only a small bag for food and a diaper bag. We carried on everything but the car seats.
My wife was totally impressed with how well it worked, and we packed about 1/3 to 1/2 less "stuff" then we packed last year when we went. More importantly, we did not "go without" anything, or feel like we had forgotten something at home that we needed/wanted.
I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am for your advice, how pleased I am with the results, and how simple my travel has really become.
I'm writing to thank you for your wonderful onebag.com site and the advice you give therein!
I happened to find the site when searching for advice on what to pack for a trip to Dublin and London in February — places I'd never been before. Since I'm a Texan, everyone told me I'd freeze to death without loads of heavy sweaters, tweed pants, overcoats, etc. A previous trip through Italy and France by train was spoiled a few years back for me by lugging a smallish check-in bag and a carry-on throughout the journey, so I loved what you had to say about the pleasures of traveling light.
Well — I'm here to report back! I bought a new carry-on bag (8x16x11) and a largish zippered shoulder purse for the trip and listened to what you had to say on your site. I'm a 48-year-old female academic dean at UT Austin (traveling on business), and a clothes-horse, so I thought I'd be facing a huge challenge. I listened to your advice about layering and didn't take heavy clothes. I managed to make it through eleven days in Dublin and London on the contents of that one bag, and never for one moment felt deprived or cold — and didn't have to wash anything except undies. I went to the theatre four times during the trip, swanky restaurants, and hoofed it through dozens of museums, art galleries and pubs — all the while being complimented by other Americans in the group about looking like a movie star. I'm here to tell everyone you are absolutely right — it can be done, and makes everything so much easier and the trip so much more pleasureable. I saved loads of money on cabs because I could walk with my bag, was able to easily take the tube from Heathrow to my hotel while others paid exorbitant taxi fares or waited forever for shuttles, etc. A colleague lost a bag between Dublin and London — which didn't resurface before we departed — so I was again reminded what a headache one is spared by not checking anything.
I did succumb to a slight shopping attack in London (two tailor-made shirts and cuff-links), but gave a pair of non-designer American jeans to a grateful hotel staff member, and, poof! The bag was back to its original size.
I'm off in May to Paris, Milan, Venice, and Vienna for fourteen days, and, emboldened by your site and my previous successful trip, I'm again taking just the one bag and the zippered purse. I'm excited, because I should be able to pack even lighter this time, since the weather will be warmer now. I'll be using a train sometimes on this trip, and I figure that's even more reason not to succumb to a wheeled bag — after reading your take on that matter.
Great, great site! I hope you are able to convert everyone to your fabulous travel light, less-is-more philosophy. I'm convinced doing so is the key to happy travel and marvelous memories and adventures.
Thanks again for the website! It has changed how I travel for the better.
Last year I travelled to Asia with a "rolling boxcar". This year I bought the MEI Voyageur bag, followed your thoughtful advice and philosophy, and took a 7-day one-carry-on-bag trip to Asia. I was amazed how easy this made travel and it will encourage me to travel more!
We are on our way home from a trip from Australia to Europe, via Asia. We have two adults and two kids. Three rolling bags — cabin luggage size — and one small backpack.
We have loved travelling with cabin luggage only. Getting around is so easy. We have loved standing at airports and other transport places smiling smugly at the people with oodles of luggage, thinking, "Not OneBag.com people!"
We used your packing method for our clothes and it worked beautifully. A friend used it on our recommendation and was so excited about it that she rang us late one night to tell us of her packing triumph!
Thank you for helping to make our travel experience so wonderful. We're never going to check luggage again if we can help it!
I have now used [your packing methods on two trips], and am happy to report that not only could I pack in one bag for myself, I also packed my toddler's clothes along with mine in the same bag. I did have to take a diaper bag too, but learned that it was possible to pack lightly even with a toddler in tow. As I was packing to leave Florida to come back home, my grandmother was fascinated by how I packed my clothes. I still seem to take some extra clothes that I end up not needing, and I came home with more clothes and shoes than I left with, but overall, it works very well and I look forward to packing and traveling now.
We use the [OneBag.com] packing list every trip (my 70-year-old mother keeps running notes on her copy and it is teaching my 12-year-old to pack light because she has to carry what she takes). We’ve never been caught short while traveling, and it is amazing how often the flat sink stopper comes in handy, even when traveling in well-developed countries.
I'm back from my China tour, which took me to seven of China's largest concert halls, including Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. The tour was a great success — and I did all the tour, including my tails, with One Bag only, thanks to you, and your continuous help. No problems whatsoever at airports, and I was not missing anything, thanks to your packing list suggestions (in fact, I had two shirts too many). The tails fit perfectly into one of the side sections of the [Red Oxx] bag.
After having used the Air Boss over three weeks and almost 40,000km, I must say that I find every detail in the bag perfectly designed. I am really happy with it, one of my best buys ever.
My violin, my Air Boss, and me in front of the Nanjing Performing Arts Center.
Thanks again, you made my life easier, lighter — and you turned my travelling routine into a bit of an adventure and a cool thing!
First, let me thank you for your website. I converted to the "travel light religion" a couple of years ago, and your site was a great help.
One of my first trips was the acid test: Armed with my pre-bloat Patagonia MLC, a surgical-tubing clothesline, and a wardrobe consisting almost entirely of CoolMax, I managed to trudge all around the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for two weeks, taking planes, trains, rental cars, and just plain walking. From the beaches of southern Oregon, to the top of a snow-covered mountain outside of Fairbanks, from Shakespearean theatre to a dog-mushing convention, I had an something to wear for every occasion and temperature. I haven't gone back to my old, multi-bag ways since.
Anyway, one of the tips that I really latched on to was your recommendation of shave oil instead of shaving cream. I tried it, and now use it exclusively, even when I'm at home. I've also used your book trick — trade or discard as you go. I hate packing something that I'll have to just haul around after I've used it. So, before (or during) a trip I'll stop at a used book store and get one or two cheap paperbacks. When I'm done with one, I'll scribble "Free book! Take me! Read me! Pass me along!" or something like that on a Post-it or scrap of paper and stick it on/in the book. Then I'll leave it somewhere. On a bus I'm taking, in an airport waiting area, on a train platform, etc. Maybe it just gets tossed by a janitor, or maybe it makes some random traveller's day when they happen upon it. Who knows? It certainly makes my day not to have to carry the deadweight around.
Thanks again, and keep up the great work.
… the Bundle [Wrapping] method is fantastic. I tried it for the first time on my trip to and from Japan… amost zero wrinkles. Much better than the touted "roll each t-shirt individually" method. I used the latter method on all my trips to Europe and my clothes always had tons of wrinkles! But I always thought that this is as good as it gets… until I tried the Bundle method.
Found your site around 1998, when my church choir was planning a tour of Eastern Europe. I needed more stuff (performance outfit, etc.) than would fit in a carry-on, but your site really helped me figure out what I needed, and what could be left behind. It was my first trip to Europe, and I had no idea what to expect. Your tips helped me keep my bag down to a manageable size & weight that I was able to carry & load on the bus myself. There wasn't anything I wished I had brought, and I ended up deciding there were a couple of items I could have left behind.
Thank you for all your advice on OneBag. I just went on a two-week business trip (with my new Air Boss) and following your suggestions made packing & traveling much less stressful.
I can't even begin to express my gratitude for the wealth of information you provide on your OneBag.com website. Several years ago I took a 10-day trip with an enormous 28-inch rolling bag plus a carry-on. That was truly an "interesting" experience. I just completed a 7-day trip to Amsterdam using just the Red Oxx Air Boss and it was a marvelous experience.
First, the shoulder bag phenomenon definitely allowed me to skirt the British Airways 6kg limit although on the return flight they announced they would be strictly enforcing it. Second, the customs agent as I was leaving the baggage claim on my return asked whether I had forgotten my checked luggage after he saw only one bag dangling from my shoulder. I had gleefully walked past everyone who had gotten off the plane before me (I was in the fourth to last row) and were still staking out the baggage claim for their checked luggage.
I travel a lot, and it has seemed to me that "every trip is the first trip." Which is totally insane. So I asked myself how do I make every trip not be the first trip. How do I standardize? How do I make this simpler, take up less time and energy, less stress? So I said to myself, there has to be a way to just have one bag. Period. And there is! As your great site so well instructs.
Thanks to the helpful information provided by your Web site, I was able to truly "travel light" for the first time in my life and enjoyed the benefits. Your site helped me to pack the most essential things and leave the rest at home, and (much to my surprise) I went through a nine-day tour quite comfortably with things I brought in a single carry-on bag! The driver of my tour group was so amazed by the small size of my luggage that he called me "his hero!" The only challenge was finding any leftover room to put the souvenirs I bought on my trip, but it also forced me to keep my shopping impulse in check, which worked to my advantage at the end.
I'm sure you get a lot of e-mail from grateful travelers, but I wanted send my own note of appreciation. In the future I'm planning to travel a lot more, partly because I've got the travel bug, and also because it's wonderful knowing that I won't have to worry about lugging around heavy bags when I go on the road.
I really appreciate the excellent material on your site … it has helped me considerably in my travels both domestic and international. I refuse to check baggage containing anything I would want to keep, partly due to the information I've gotten from a friend who is setting up the baggage handling system at the Munich airport. As with any engineered system, it is designed with a "tolerable" number of failures …
Well, I'm four hotels into this Asia trip and the bundle method of packing clothes works a treat! It will save me a fortune in pressing bills in the years to come.
[three months later] After my second trip — Singapore, Melbourne, Singapore, Manila, and Hong Kong, I wanted to write and thank you for the tip about shaving oil. I bought some Somerset's shaving oil and took it on the last trip. I'm never shaving with anything else again.
I have a one-page list from your website that is tattered, torn, and highlighted. I used the list on a recent trip to Nigeria — where we were often without water, electricity, and other amenities — and I never was without what I needed.
Our family of four (mum, dad, and two daughters 9 and 12) have just spent three weeks traveling through SE Asia with carry-on bags. It was easy and very satisfying and I would definitely do it again. One of the main advantages was that the children did not spend hours deciding what to put on — they had so little choice! (My 12-year-old is keen on personal adornment, so found it a bit stressful, but did not grumble — I think she wants to go on another trip!) There was a fair bit of washing, but my husband and I shared the task and got it done quite quickly (and hurray for Coolmax). We got a few comments from check-in staff and customs/quarantine officials who seemed surprised at our lack of luggage. Thanks for the Web site!
I am in Rio de Janeiro, having started in California, to Miami, then to Salvador, Brazil for Carnival. I mailed some gifts back home, even a pair of jeans that just weighed me down that I did not need to bring. I look forward to my next vacation. I plan to purchase an Around-the-World ticket and use my MEI Voyageur again. What a carry-on it has turned out to be!
I've used the Air Boss on four trans-Atlantic trips [recently]. It's the first time in 10 years I have not had to iron any clothes at the other end. To give you an idea — my Air Boss carries four formal shirts, one casual shirt, two t-shirts, a suit, my underwear, a sweatshirt and then laptop, cables, iPod, and books etc. necessary to my job.
I'd like to travel lighter, but regrettably circumstances do not usually allow. I was reticent to bundle wrap my suit, but once I worked out that the sleeves fold down the back of the jacket (my suits will not extend their sleeves sideways), it worked a treat. Because I travel with double cuff shirts, I've worked out that the best way is to actually fold the cuff back on itself, (after wrapping the sleeves) rather than round the bundle — as long as you follow the stitch line it seems to cause less creasing.
Anyhow — thanks again, I've saved around 10 hours of waiting time alone in the last few trips!
Thanks for helping to make my trip less stressful. A few weeks ago was my first air trip with no checked baggage. It was liberating. I still have far to go before I have minimized my packing, but I made a very good start, thanks to [OneBag.com].
After one too many luggage disasters last year, I returned from the USA determined to see if I could somehow go carry-on only, and quickly found OneBag.com … Until now I'd only had chances to test the principles, and my purchases, on domestic trips — which was actually very useful and informative about what I'd need, what I could live without, etc. Each trip was an opportunity to hone my packing list, not to mention test the Air Boss (yes, I bought it; how could I not?)
I've just now returned from a week in California, the acid test if you will, and wanted to let you know that it was a complete success. For one thing, my return journey was a nightmare of long delays and missed connections that had me shacked up in an airport hotel overnight, waiting for an open flight; except this time, I had all my luggage, underwear, toiletries, etc. with me.
But also, the sheer convenience of being able to waltz off the plane and out the door, without the tedious hanging around at the luggage conveyor, was a real boon.
This is already too long, but in conclusion: thank you, thank you, for saving my sanity. I no longer have an abject fear of non-ground travel, and it's all thanks to OneBag.com.
The MEI "Voyageurs" that my wife and I traveled with (we are both 66) proved their worth when we landed in Paris in the midst of a metro strike. Unable to take the train past the Seine, we quickly converted them to back packs and hiked quite comfortably the two miles to our lodgings.
I just received this from my girlfriend (I had loaned her my Red Oxx Air Boss): "Well, I made it safely, but that was after missing the Rome/Frankfurt connection because of reading the times wrong. We had to get on an hour later flight, and of course my traveling partner checked her bags and she has no bags.
I'm at the hotel with my bag. THANK YOU … your one bag is working for me."
A week ago I flew to Hartford for a few days. It was my first opportunity to fly with one bag. While it was a little rough around the edges, all of the major issues had been adequately addressed by OneBag.com. It was definitely a success. Although it was unnecessary, I washed an undershirt and shorts in the sink and let them dry to assess the feasability of doing so. They were perfectly dry by the next morning. My impression of the Air Boss is that it is as close to perfect as it will ever get for a one bag traveler. Since it was a relatively short trip, I had room to spare. I am now a believer.
This is a most inspirational site. I used it as my guide for how to live out of a single small bag for a year long trip around the world, and it was great. It's so freeing, mentally and physically, not to have to cart a whole bunch of stuff around and not to have to worry about a whole bunch of my belongings. My one bag was something of a conversation starter when I met fellow travellers at various hostels: their curiosities were naturally piqued when they learned how long I had been travelling, and they noticed how light I was travelling. Naturally, I told them all about OneBag.com.
I'm going on tour with the musical "The Full Monty" for the next five months. I head out tomorrow, and tonight set out to finish the chore that is packing everything I need for the trip… I have to express my gratitude for your introduction to bundle folding. I just finished packing the first suitcase, and I can already see how much more neatly the clothes are packed than any suitcase I've packed before. And not only are they much smoother, but I'm pretty sure I was able to comfortably fit more than I'm used to in one suitcase!
In this quick break before I go back to attack suitcase number two, I wanted to take a minute to thank you profusely for the website. If I hadn't stumbled on it, I'd probably be spending the next five months constantly mumbling about folding clothes and making extensive use of my travel clothing steamer. Thanks to you, I can leave the steamer at home and pack an extra couple books to keep me sane on the road.
I recently traveled to the US for about three weeks, and, after reading OneBag.com, decided I would try traveling with just one carry-on bag. I have to say: wow. It was so much more comfortable!! I didn't know I could travel that way!! I thought clothes were going to occupy the most space but it was the shoes and little items I took with me!! Next time I'll just travel with only a good pair of shoes (not three like this time!).
Two years ago I first started using your One Bag principle and have never looked back! It is just so liberating to be able to walk anywhere with just one bag. There are so many officious people in the travel industry, that to retain responsibility for your own gear sure lowers the stress levels. In fact, I am planning to apply this simple principle to how I manage a household. Will let you know how things work out. Thank you; your credo has brought back the joy and delight of travel.
My wife and I just returned from a 30-day trip around the U.S. and Canada by train. It was our first major vacation on our own, and we're thankful that we implemented the OneBag philosophy. Aside from the usual benefits of ease of carrying, skipping luggage lines, and avoiding fees, having just one bag helped me save our stuff from a flaming Amtrak train in the woods of southern Maine. Please keep spreading the word about travelling light.
My wife and I love our MEI Voyageurs. By packing light versions of what we need we were able to spend 2.5 weeks in the Greek islands with one bag for the two of us. Life changing experience. It did take some time, planning, and investment to get there — but totally worth it.
Onebag.com has changed the way I pack and the way I travel. It helped my son make a connection in mid-December when his arriving flight was delayed and, instead of having a 2½-hour layover, he had just 20 minutes to make a connecting flight between distant gates at the Detroit airport. He grabbed his one small bag and ran — and made the flight. Thanks for one of the best sites on the Web.
On a birthday trip to NYC to see my son, I took your advice and fit four days worth of clothes into an 18×10×10" duffel.
I took clothes for three days (underwear for four), thinking I could wear the same thing on the first and fourth days for traveling. Brought a dress jacket, never believing that it would not wrinkle when folded thus — but it didn't! Looked presentable at birthday bash.
The main thing: I took enough money for cabs, but my son, who is very familiar with the subway system, asked if I wanted to try it. I assented, and saved a massive amount of money, being able to go back and forth and to and from the airport with my one bag and purse! It was, all-in-all, basically a full-fledged miracle for a woman who is used to traveling with four suitcases for a two-day trip!
(I figured out the reason I did that. It was so I didn't have to make the hard decisions on what to wear before the trip. I'd take along tons of clothes and shoes so I could just pick a great outfit at my destination.)
Shoes were my biggest concern, especially since New York City has just experienced a lot of (now melting) snow, and was expecting serious rain/sleet when I was there. I ended up taking a sturdy pair of black rain boots (many NYC women wear these on a regular basis, I found out). I also had plain black flats, which fit in the purse for quick changes, like in the Brooklyn Museum. Also, thank goodness I took black flip-flops, as I needed them to walk around in the B&B. Never got cold or wet feet!
Picking one color palette helped a lot. A lot of NYC women wear black, and that was a great choice, as it worked with the few things that were not that color.
At any rate, thanks again. You really helped make my birthday trip a huge success!
There is actually no way that my wife and I could repay you for the all that you and OneBag have done for us! Thank you so much … we did our ten-day honeymoon last summer with one bag each — carry-on-only through customs is priceless!
We just finished another three-week trip to England using [OneBag.com]. Besides the obvious advantages on our flights, we were especially grateful when we had to use the Tube at the beginning of the morning rush hour in London. There is no way we could have done it with more than one bag each. In addition, the Travel Industry links were particularly useful in our actual trip planning.
I came to your site because my husband made me … for now, I'm refusing to read it and I'm bringing all five pairs of shoes on my trip next week.