The Saga of the Carry-On Bag

There is a joy to the planning of a trip for the big items. Like the places to see on a two week jaunt in three cities in Japan, what restaurants I may want to get back to in Singapore, what old friends still may want time for a beverage in India. Then there are the smaller things.

I’m down to the smaller things now. Since I’m leaving for a time yet to be determined, packing and the system of packing is important. The bag to choose must fit across a variety of airlines and their carry-on requirements. How is a bag chosen these days to fulfill basic needs of my packing list. I am a long time reader of OneBag and its tips for stress free traveling. It offers set of goals and hints that will make carry-on traveling easier. I’ve done only carry-on to India for months and basically used a simple method of generating my packing list of clothing. Here’s what I do:

  1. Pack enough clothes to last a week. I will use the “rule of six” to meet this. Six t-shirts, six underwear, six pair of socks. I will also take one extra pair of pants that are not jeans and one pair of shorts to lounge and sleep in. How can this be packed in a way that allows the bag to be logically separated by type you may ask. Its actually simple. You decide on a bag that will work for you first off. My choice now is the RedOxx Lil Hombre because it offers the orientation and room I need. I don’t need massive organization but I do need a bag that is flexible and can be compressed and carried a variety of ways.
  2. Pack the clothing in cubes. I use an assortment of cubes from large to small. In one cube goes t-shirts and the pants and shorts rolled up tightly. In a smaller or medium cube goes the socks and underwear. Two cubes which hold all the clothing. I may throw a third cube in the bag for safety. Packing cubes make things easily sortable and findable.
  3. Pack electronic cables in zippered pouches. I have a variety of these in different sizes. I should mention with this one, its been a moving target since I got my MacBook 2017 12 inch laptop what to bring. I have a formula for this though. I have to have an international adaptor that will work in Asia. I will need a surge arrest that is suitable for holding a few things. The first plug has the multi-port USB charger that will charge laptop, iPhone and iPad mini. I also charge my camera and headphones on one of the multi-port elements. The second plug holds my camera adapter.
  4. Don’t over-pack. There is no need to carry massive amounts of clothing. You can deal with doing laundry every so often. You are an adult. Come on! Think it through. Don’t bring stuff you don’t need. This is tough for me. I constantly look at my list in Ulysses wondering. Don’t try to bring more than two devices plus the phone. Cables and devices and plugs really are still a mess even with devices I have chosen that do lightning like my phone and iPad.
  5. Finally don’t overthink this. I do this often and puzzle over the list I have accumulated. I know the things that work since I’ve done it before. I know what I want. I want to be out of the airport and in the cab or bus or train when all the other guys are just getting their luggage. In Singapore once on a full flight from the US, I was first in the taxi line while everyone else was wondering what luggage bay was being used. I watch people wandering around in arrival areas. One bag comes in and the other ends up in Chicago when you are going to Japan. Apply basic thought and vice you want to have your stuff available. Basic travel thinking!

I’ve done the carry-on thing for years and I know what works but still catch myself with more gunk than I need. If you are hitting the road sooner or later give the whole carry-on movement some thought. Read the site I mentioned. Its enlightening and it can help you with the whole travel, arrival and departure thing. Even in the once chaotic airport in Chennai India I left to get a ride to the hotel so fast. The customs guy asked me if I had forgotten a bag. I just laughed and said that never happens to me any longer.

Live long and carry-on!

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.