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  1. #1

    Default One-bag a roadtrip?

    This probably doesn't apply to you US based roadtrippers (although it could), but any overseas roadtrippers ever attempted to bring just one carry-on bag with them on their trip and survive with it for an extended road trip? That's about 15lb of stuff including clothing, toiletries, gadgets, books and maps.

    My trip next year, I'm hoping to one-bag it. Since I'll be staying in motels and hotels, I won't need camping gear and I'll have a nice sink to wash my clothes in every day. I've got some light weight technical clothing and as long as I keep the gadgets to a minimum and purchase some stuff when I get there, I might just manage it. Anyone tried it before and succeeded (or failed, so I'll know not to bother)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Why ?

    Just wondering if they have they started to charge extra for check in luggage ? Couldn't imagine going on a trip like that with just a carry on bag with everything in. Mind you I usually travel in October and need plenty of layered clothing, I got coats that weigh 15lb !

    >Radical thought< 1] Take one Rucksack. 2] Fill with essentials. 3] Place on Bathroom scales.
    4] Check weight. 5] Remove least essential items to get to 15lb. 6] Check again.

    TBH, I think a 'check in' case with what you need would be far less hassel then having to wash your smalls in the sink everyday and having to buy gear along the way. Any gear you do buy, you may well want to keep [tourist T shirt etc] and will end up buying a suitcase to bring it all home in !

    Nothing like a challenge though ! ;-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Keep it light

    This is something that I've heard Rick Steves mention on his travel show, as well as on his website. There are others with similar advice as well.

    For my solo road trips I try to pack as little as possible. Granted I have a tent and camping gear with me, but if I were to stay exclusively in hotels or motels, everything in my bag would be enough to get me through a week. Thought it's not a critical consideration, I've taken to rolling up shirts to keep them from wrinkling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I actually have done this before. I was meeting some friends to join up with the 2nd half of a roadtrip. I was meeting them in Portland, Oregon, but in one of those quirks of the airline industry, it was cheaper to fly to Boise - with a layover in Portland! So I packed a carry-on, flew to Portland and "missed" my connecting flight. I couldn't check any bags, so I made do.

    I had the advantage that my friends had most of the gear - but that was for camping and wouldn't apply to you anyway. I still had to make a stop at Target to pick up some basic items - and that would be more important these days with the liquid/gel restrictions.

    Since you're not camping, all you really need are your clothes and other day to day basics. You'd have to limit the gadgets, certainly, but I couldn't see why it wouldn't work.

    (plus you should be able to fit at least a few changes of clothes, and use the hotel laundry rather than the sink!)

  5. #5


    You do get charged for checked baggage on most airlines these days (and I discovered last week that a airline called Spirit(?) charges for carryon aswell - portent for the future), but it's the hassle more than the cost, the waiting around, the worry that everything made it, the need to be at check-in several hours before take off (which really still applies when you're doing carry-on only, but they tend to be more lenient).

    I'll be following Dave's "radical thought" alright, I'm going to buy a carry-on bag that conforms with all airline limits, then see what I can live without. The best advice I read was make 2 piles, 1 of everything you'll definitely need and one of everything you might need. Then pack the first pile and leave the second pile at home.

    I've not given it much thought, but the basic list seems to be for 3 changes of clothes (including socks and jocks) so as long as I park up at a motel with laundry facilities every couple of days, that will work. Having said that I spent 4 weeks in Japan in 2009 with little more and used to wash things in the sink each night - no great hardship.

    No harm in trying I suppose, I'll be bringing a collapsible duffle as I think I'll be doing checked baggage coming back just because I'll have souvenirs and whatnot, but it'd be nice to sail through my 3 outgoing connections with little or no hassle.


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