Later this week, I’m off to one of my favorite places: London, England.
This will be the third time that I am traveling with just a carry-on. Packing light is what started my journey into minimalism. I’ve traveled for as long as 5 weeks with only a carry-on, so a little less than a week (6 days) is a walk in the park.
Some of the benefits of traveling with only a carry-on include: express check-in at the airport, never losing your luggage, not having to wait in the luggage line and being able to take public transportation (cheaper) to your hotel.
And I would be experiencing all of the above benefits on this trip too, except I’m traveling with a non-minimalist.
Hopefully, by seeing how easy it is for me to get around, my friend will be converted to using only a carry-on for her future travels.
bring only what you can carry
The key to the carry-on only strategy is to plan to wear your clothes more than once. Another strategy is to only bring clothes that color coordinate. I tend to stick to a color palette of gray, black and mauve.
Below is a list of what I plan to bring with me. Just like I like to see what people have in their grocery carts, I think it’s fun to know what people pack in their suitcases.
Note: I’m more of a day traveler than a night traveler. (Read: while I enjoy dinner and drinks, I won’t be hitting any night clubs).
what i’m wearing on the plane
- skinny jeans
- black t-shirt (to then be used as my pajama top)
- gray cardigan
- mauve scarf (doubles as a blanket on the plane)
- green trench coat
- black Hunter rain boots (depending on the weather forecast)
in my purse
- travel documents/ID/money/debit card/credit card/keys
- London A-Z map book
- Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle (to limit my disposable cup usage)
- umbrella (definitely a necessity in London)
- iPhone and earphones
- enviro bag
- eye mask and earplugs (so that I can try to sleep on my overnight flight)
in my carry-on
- black shoe-booties (these may be the only shoes I end up bringing)
- two gray dresses
- one light gray and two black long-sleeved t-shirts (to be layered under dresses)
- gray 3/4 length top
- navy blue dressy t-shirt
- pajama pants
- undergarments, socks and tights
- iPhone charger
- UK adaptor
- supplements (vitamins, probiotics)
I may be forgetting a thing or two, but that’s about it. Also, I will monitor the weather forecast before I go to see if I need to make any substitutions.
let’s talk liquids and shoes
Liquids and shoes seem to be what stops most people from using only a carry-on. To get around this, bring only what you will actually use. How many times have we brought items “just in case?”
For liquids, bring travel-sized versions. You might decide not to bring shampoo, conditioner or soap, if you are staying at a hotel. Consider bringing Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap along for its many uses. I like the unscented baby mild version. I use this as my facial cleanser (removes make-up well). It can also be used as soap, shampoo, laundry detergent – even as toothpaste! My make-up is in powder form, so I only need to worry about mascara for liquids.
As for shoes, wear your bulkiest pair on the plane. You really don’t need a different pair for every outfit. I try to limit myself to two pairs, plus flip flops or slippers.
what if i buy something?
There’s still space in my carry-on if I decide to make a few purchases. If this is what would stop you from using just a carry-on, you can always pack an extra collapsible bag. Then you would only have to worry about checking in luggage on your way home.
a long way to go
Crossing the pond is not exactly eco-friendly. So I purchased carbon offsets for my round-trip flight to London from a Canadian company named Less (very appropriate). This company received the highest score on David Suzuki Foundation’s Purchasing Carbon Offsets Report. My contribution will go to support the FRSWC’s Landfill Gas Management System Project in Fredericton.
This is the first time I’ve offset a flight. Maybe it makes a difference, maybe it doesn’t. It still seems like a worthwhile project to support.
where in the world is sandra?
I’ll be (hopefully) uploading pictures and tweeting while I’m away . . . feel free to follow my adventures on Twitter!
Do you travel with just a carry-on? What do you pack?