Wednesday, 3 October 2007

The joy of one-bag-traveling

Like many travelers I didn't know any better than lugging my heavy suitcases around while traveling, packing things I didn't even use during the holiday (just in case I "might" need them) and waiting and standing around for my bags to come from the conveyor belts in airports. Then I read this post on Tim Ferriss' blog and I figured it was time for a change of habit. And my recent trip to London would be my testing case.

So in stead of my usual suitcase I decided to take a large messenger bag and packed it according to tips provided in Tim's post and from this site. So what did I pack?
All in all still a pretty substantial list, but small enough to fit comfortably in my messenger bag (but to be honest big enough to stop those "Man-oh-man I should pack more"-jitters) and weighing in at just under 6 kg.

My "one bag"-approach was vindicated about 10 minutes into my travels. Because of the early hour of the morning the escalator to the stations platform (I went by Eurostar; I think the pros to this way of packing will be even more evident if you travel by plane since you can take it with you as carry-on luggage) weren't operational yet. In front of me was a man hauling his suitcase from step to step while I walked passed him with my bag comfortably over my shoulder. People had the same problems with their suitcases getting into the train and storing them in the front of the passenger cars while I just swung mine in the overhead storage above my seat. For me a bag/suitcase is just a vessel for storing your stuff during a stay in a hotel/hostel. It didn't feel any different for me having the bag in stead of the suitcase. And since I did bring a day bag, I could happily trot around London, using it to store my map, coat (the English weather was unusually kind), bottle of water etc., etc..

There were some little difficulties to overcome. To give an example: I got a rather large stain in my sweater and had to find a way to remove it. Thanks to the very helpful hotel staff this was done rather quickly, were usually I would've thrown it back in my suitcase to take care of it at home after my trip was over.

Overall my experiences with this new way of traveling have been very favorable. There still are some things to iron out for next trips before I can be called a "One bag"-master but if it has taught
me one thing it's this: I'll never travel another way again.

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