One Month Travel With One Carry On??

Packing is one of my biggest travel challenges.  I always intend to travel light, but sometimes I get carried away at the last minute.

I’ve been able to go for two weeks with just a carry on.  But a month?  Can I get everything I will need into my trusty eagle creek carry on and my backpack?  I’m going to try.   I hope others find my attempt helpful.  If not, at least this post will allow ME to remember what the heck I stuck in my bag.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been “auditioning” my clothes to see whether they dry quickly, are versatile enough for weather that will vary between the 40’s and 70’s and, most importantly, can be crammed into my bag.  I’ve tried out different combinations to see how comfortable I am at NJ’s current cooler temperatures.  My discovery is that lightweight pants, when paired with silk long underwear work out just fine.

For past trips, I have either used local laundry facilities or I packed enough to get me through the entire trip.

In Pokhara, Nepal, doing the laundry was a cultural experience.  The promised “tumble dry” only works if the government doesn’t shut off the electricity for several hours every day.  Bet you know what happened while I was there.

THIS time, my plan is to wash as I go.  I don’t normally hand wash clothes at home, so I gave it a whirl.  I wanted to see how long it took for different items to dry, and I was also curious as to how my duds would look after I had sloshed and wrung them out.  The verdict:  I figured my technique needed a little work.  Then I remembered a tip from a fellow traveler.  She nixed the wringing, instead opting to gently squeeze, then wrap her garments in a microfiber towel.   She swore her clothes were dry by the next morning.  So, I ordered a microfiber towel  from Amazon and gave it a try.  My technique still needs work.

Because I expect to do a lot of walking, I wanted to make sure that I had comfortable shoes.  I found a pair of Sketchers that should do the trick.  Air cooled? Memory foam?  My feet may be in better shape than my head.

I have super sensitive feet, so I am reluctant to put all my toes into one basket–or one pair of shoes– so I’ll be wearing my trusty Keens on the plane.  Yes, I WILL wear those Keen sandals with a pair of socks, and YES, I DO know that is a huge fashion faux pas, but hey I’m old enough not to care.

Here’s how I started out:IMG_5673

Then I had to make some choices.  One white knit top and pink bathing suit – out.  (I found another bathing suit that squishes up smaller)  Hanging toiletries bag, replaced by a zip lock bag, which also freed up space for my hair dryer and adaptors.

There are those that swear by rolling clothes, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Some might think I am REALLY obsessive compulsive, to take everything out, and try to put it all back without rolling.  Others would realize that I am completely committed to the scientific method.  YOU can pick whichever explanation you prefer, but I’m going with the latter.

Want to know the result of my “science” project?  Both methods produced the exact same result.  Conclusion?  Do whatever brings you joy.  I wasn’t going to take everything out and roll it up again.  I’m not THAT crazy, so I left everything packed flat.  Here’s what made it into the bag.

  • 6 long pants – 1 corduroy, 1 jeans, 4 quick drying (one lined, three lightweight)
  • 6 long sleeved cotton tops. 1 knit, plus 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 1 pajamas and  1 long underwear set that can double as pajamas
  • 2 long underwear bottoms and 7 underwear, 2 bras, 8 socks
  • 2 scarves
  • hair dryer (which I can use to dry clothes, if needed)  and toiletries
  • laundry kit
  • 1 Sketchers black air cooled shoes, with memory foam and flip flops for shower (or if I’m lucky, pool)
  • index cards (for teaching). According to our team leader,  former volunteers have left supplies behind, so i don’t need to bring a white board or other teaching materials.
  • 1 waterproof windbreaker with hood

Plus, of course, I’ll have the clothes I wear on the plane, like my fleece and the zip up sweater that would have fit in the bag if I had unzipped the expandable part.  (But then, it might have been hard to get the bag into the overhead.)

My back pack will carry my money, credit cards, passport, travel info, iPhone, iPad, chargers, my mobile “pharmacy”, camera, , pens, snacks, sun glasses, water bottle and travel pillow.

Total weight of carry on–26.5 pounds, something I can easily hoist into that overhead bin.  I think I’m all set.  We shall see.


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I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

14 thoughts on “One Month Travel With One Carry On??”

  1. You are so smart to practice pack and make sure your clothes (and cleaning methods) work for you well before you start your trip! Have you ever tried packing capsules? I haven’t, but I understand they really help get more into luggage. But it looks like you have planned well and have plenty (if that is possible) of clothes options. Good luck!


    1. Yes, I’ve tried cubes. I found that zip lock bags work as well, and they have the added advantage of being transparent and almost weightless. They now come in jumbo size. Best of all a zip lock can also double as a washing machine. Clothes in, add water and a little detergent and then shake, shake, shake and pummel as you see fit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Have fun! I travel with just a carry on too, did three weeks last August with the one bag. I have found that going with fewer pants and more tops works for me. I want to change my top every day but don’t need to change the bottom unless I spill which happends more than I like to admit.


    1. Did i mention that I also packed tide sticks?
      I’ve already yanked out the corduroy pants and long underwear set based on feedback from you and my other friend. But I’m not confident enough to delete anything else.


  3. Thanks. I am impressed and inspired. I always aim to pack light, but never succeed. For upcoming trips (Egypt and India) i will follow your example and do some practice runs,. I doubt I can limit myself to a carry-on….we shall see.


  4. I’ve become a HUGE fan of packing cubes! I’ve used them for my last two long trips overseas and I’m hooked. Pants in one, shirts in another, underwear in a small one, one for toiletries, one for weird stuff (scarfs, PJs, long underwear.) Somebody who is really organized probably won’t need them, but AGMA, historically, hasn’t been all that organized when it comes to finding stuff in her suitcase so they are a god send! And I totally agree with the fewer pants, more tops school of packing! As well as the zip lock bag for all toiletries (I usually have multiple bags – one for shower stuff, one for liquid stuff, one for ‘dry’ stuff, one for vitamins/supplements)

    For hand washing (which I do all the time), I just use shampoo or shower gel. It works just fine. And I squeeze AND roll in a towel (the towel from the hotel or airb&b works on non-shower days)

    You’re going to have a great time!!


    1. Beja is AMAZING. The food is incredible, the town is pretty and there is so much history. It truly is an undiscovered gem.
      I’m so glad you ended YOUR trip on a high note. We won’t get to Oporto this time, but we were there years ago and loved it.


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