Pack Light: Ready for Our One Bag Challenge? Yes, You Are!


Are you this woman?

We all sang along with Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady,” yet many of us continue to pack like we are heading down the Oregon Trail every time we go on a vacation. Is this you? Baggage is the last thing you want weighing down your moments of freedom, so I dare you to take the one bag challenge! How’d I come up with this? Time and again I have over-packed only to regret my actions when I cannot fit my new souvenirs into my luggage. The whole point of travelling is exploration so take heed to the following tips and break those bad hoarding habits.

Overpacking is a Sin. No, Really.

With less baggage to worry about you can take time to enjoy and explore your new destination without lugging around unnecessary items. We all have packed and come home only to realize we did not use everything in our suitcase. Don’t be that woman.

Tip: Leave your closet at home. Instead pack a few basic pieces you can work into multiple outfits. You’re going on vacation, not down the runway. Bring one or two trendy pieces to spruce up your basics.

Vacation is Disconnecting, Not Staying Connected

The more bags you have, the more items you have worry about. Toting the world means you’re also opening yourself up to a world of mishaps. What if the airline loses that third bag? Maybe one of your bags is stolen at the hostel you’re visiting because you have too many cases to fit into your allotted cubby? Hey, this can really happen. If you’re in a hotel, bring what you can lug up some stairs, if you’re in a hostel, bring only what you can stuff under your pillow — the rest better fit in your cubby or you won’t be able to sleep a wink. Trust me.

Tip: Leave all work projects at home. This seems like an easy rule but a lot of us get into the habit of bringing work with us on trip so we can get busy during flights and layovers. Bad idea. Work items take up unnecessary space and frankly defeat the purpose of going on vacation. Stop yourself.

Carpe Diem

In the spirit of all things spontaneous … you can’t be spontaneous with 50-11 bags. In a world full of plans, it is sometimes good to break up the monotony with spur of the moment actions. Multiple bags force you to plan around your luggage instead of your whims. You can decide to randomly jump on a bus in a new city with one bag but not with several.

Tip: I have two words for you: shoes and accessories. You ever find yourself packing a bag of different purses and shoes for all those just in case moments? Stop it. You only need one small purse, the rest are space-eating luxuries. If you get to your location and find you must have another pair of sandals, buy them there and give them to someone in need before your departure.

Understanding of the Local Lifestyle

Next time you are packing, please remember to pack based on purpose, not probability. When you travel a part of your experience should include learning the ways of the locals. While in Brazil I could not find rubbing alcohol anywhere but through talking to locals I found an alternative cleanser Brazilians used for cuts and scrapes that worked just as well.

Tip: Cut down on your toiletries. Many of us pack soaps and creams like we are going to a deserted island. Pack only the bare necessities.

Become a minimalist when you travel next, we dare you. Grab one (average sized) bag and make it work. If something does not fit, ask yourself, do I really need this? Ditch the old and leave room for the new.

Last 5 posts by Kenyada McLean