Monday, November 29, 2010

Pack Light!

On the traveling note, one skill I've tried to pick up is how to travel light.  This first started right after I moved to LA during a (hasty and quick) trip to Scotland.  I was going to be in Scotland for just a little over 4 days, followed by 6 days in Seattle.  Speed was a necessity so I was determined to figure out how to make the trip without checked luggage. 
Undoubtedly the most useful site for my journey was One Bag.  A significant component of my traveling method, the bundling packing approach, comes from that site.  It has far more information than I discuss here, so if you leave this post and go straight to one bag, I won't be offended.
The most obvious way to pack is don't take what you don't need.  I have a smartphone, so I don't need to bring my laptop.  An e-reader would remove the space needed for paperback books -- but I take books anyway (probably breaking my own travel light mantra).  Most soaps I get on the other end, so I keep toiletries to a minimum of utility items like combs, toothbrush, tweezers.  If you need a towel, get a travel towel, which folds into a space smaller than a book.  I was skeptical but the damn things work; though be warned, if you fold em up wet and forget about them for a few days they're going to smell like hell. 
Packed and Ready

The MVP of my traveling is without a doubt my bag.  My bag is a Red Oxx Air Boss, based on a OneBag recommendation.  I had a little bit of sticker shock when I bought it but it's worth every dime.  The bag is sturdy and spacious and combines nicely with bundle folding.  It holds everything I need for a 4-5 day trip, and any more can be supplemented with a smaller companion bag, which still falls within carry on limitations.  The dimensions of the bag allow it to fit in overhead storage with ease, and on shorter trips I've been able to fit it between the overhead bin doors and another suitcase.  I wish everything was built this well!

within the bundle!
A technique I keep mentioning is bundling.  Bundling is how I fold my clothes for travel -- again I must cite OneBag for putting me on to this technique.  Basically it involves folding your clothes over each other until they all fit in a wrapped up bundle the size of a pillow.  Not only does it allow for an impressive clothing to space ratio, but the tight bundle helps prevent wrinkling as well.  It is quite easy to fit many days worth of clothing inside a reasonable bundle (in the bundle above I have 3 sweat shirts, 1 dress shirt, 2 pairs of pants, 5 t-shirts, and a pair of shoes). Below is a diagram for this technique. 

Altogether I haven't had to check a bag in years.  It makes traveling quicker, easier, and with the increasing frequency of back checking costs, cheaper!

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