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Is There Such Thing as True One-Bag Travel?

Woman looking at a map while traveling

There are a lot of websites devoted to minimalist and one-bag travel, but is traveling with literally one bag truly possible and necessary? I suppose anything is always possible. You can pack your wallet, your phone, a toothbrush, a bottle of Dr. Bronners soap, and a clean pair of underwear and off you go.

But is that realistic? Probably not.

  • An extreme example is Rolf Potts who discusses traveling with nothing but his ScotteVest Tropical Jacket which is quite extreme in my opinion. He basically just stuffs a handful of essentials into the multi-pocketed jacket and heads out the door. It would be very freeing I think, but not really the way most of us want to travel.
  • A more realistic version is from Brooke at Her Packing List in which she traveled for three weeks with only a 12-liter cross-body bag. But interestingly enough, she did take a small second bag to serve as a day bag. So already we are at two bags, truthfully speaking.
  • We have all seen those backpackers in the airport with what appears to be an entire chest of drawers strapped to their back. Okay, so technically that would be one-bag travel but when the bag itself is the size of a twin bed, does that net you anything over dealing with two reasonable size bags?

Overall, I do think that true one-bag travel is possible but let’s be authentic about that. To truly net the benefits of that sentiment, the bag should probably be a manageable size. It does also depend on the trip’s purpose. Vacations are probably easier than business trips because you are wearing more casual clothes and can get away with fewer electronics. I’ll stick with a purse plus a carry-on suitcase.

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