I will be taking several trips this year: Hawaii, New Orleans, Chile and Easter Island. None of these places really have anything in common, except that I will be traveling with one small carry-on bag to each of them.
In the past 15 years of traveling, I have yet to check a bag. I have used only one carry-on bag for each of my trips, and I've used the same style of packing whether I am traveling for a few days or for a month. I even went "no baggage" for a trip to Texas last year. Most of the time I carry a Patagonia MLC wheel/backpack hybrid, but for my recent trip to Hawaii I only carried a school day pack.
The idea of traveling with one bag seems to be a subject that a lot of people are interested in, and blog posts written by people like Colin Wright and Craig and Linda of Indie Travel Podcast all tout the positive aspects of carrying your immediate world on your back (and having it fit nicely in an airline overhead bin).
So, why travel with just one carry-on bag?
1. There is less to worry about
You will not have to stress that the airline will lose your luggage, someone will rifle through your underwear or your bag will end up in Batanbang while you are waiting for it in Boston.
2. No waiting at the baggage carousel
Waiting with hundreds of other people at the baggage carousel while you are half-asleep is not fun. Bypass the carousel and get the first taxi out of the airport.
3. It's easier to run for that train you are late for or to make a quick getaway
While it's never great to be late for a train or bus, it's even less fun to have to run through a strange city while carrying a 40 pound bag plus your two carry-on bags. In addition, with the state of the world these days (and those pesky natural disasters) it's nice to know that if something happens, you can grab your small bag and make a quick getaway.
My next post will be how I pack a small, minimalist travel wardrobe.