Why You Should Travel With Only a Carry-On & Personal Item!


When someone books a surprise vacation with us, the question “how will I know what to pack?” is the most common one we receive, which makes a lot of sense! Travelers don’t know where they are going and if you booked an international surprise trip package, the weather could really vary. When we mail you your envelope with all your vacation information, we always send an email with a weather forecast and advice on what to pack so no need to worry!

Today I want to discuss something that I (Roshni) personally struggle with: packing light! Not to stereotype, but I think being a girl, we just need more stuff (this is how I justify my packing to Jeff anyway). But traveling light does have a lot of advantages and over the years, traveling with less luggage has really been a blessing in many situations.


One of my least favorite travel memories is dragging two huge suitcases through the narrow (and crowded) streets of Tokyo about 10 years ago. We were a bit lost and ended up walking about 4 miles with these large, heavy suitcases in the heat and when we finally got to our accommodations, there was nowhere to put them! That was one of our first international trips and since then, we have really wised up! There are plenty of guides, videos and posts out there about how to pack for a long trip in a carry-on so I’m not going to go into that (and to be totally honest, I still haven’t mastered the art) but I am going to talk about why you should really try it for your next trip!

First things first, if you have booked a 3 or 4 day surprise trip with us, you really don’t need a carry-on. It’s a pretty short trip and if you can get away with it, I really don’t recommend bringing more than a personal item that fits under the seat. If you just can’t live without the extra luggage space or are taking a longer trip, read on but please do not check a bag for a short trip!


1) Avoid the bag fees

This is the obvious one! In 2017 travelers spent more than $7 million on bag fees. With the advent of the basic economy ticket and the rise of budget airlines, it really can get expensive to bring extra luggage. With some airlines, checking a bag round-trip can be as much as $120! If you must pay extra for luggage, make sure it’s worth the cost. For example, if you have to have your own shampoo or something buying a travel size or just purchasing it at your destination might be less expensive than checking a bag. That said, if you do decide you need extra packing space, make sure you know if bringing a carry on or checking it is cheaper - often times checking your bag is cheaper!


2) Your luggage won’t get lost or delayed

This i s a big one for me because I find replacing my clothes very difficult (I’m under 5 feet tall so need a lot of petite and ‘short’ sizes). By keeping your bag with you on the plane you don’t have the dreaded hassle of lost or delayed luggage. One more reason to go even smaller and fit everything in a personal item that fits underneath the seat is to avoid potentially having to gate check your bag - which means that it usually goes in the cargo hold with the other checked bags. This happens on really full flights so might be better to board early and get that overhead bin space if you do have a larger carry-on! If you do end up checking a bag, make sure to have at least the essentials, medicine, car/house keys and a full change of clothes with you in your personal item or carry-on.


3) Saves time

Not only does traveling light save you time at the airport but it probably saves you time packing and unpacking your bag at home! At the airport, you usually have to wait in a line to check a bag and then at your destination you have to wait to claim it at baggage claim. On any trip you have to do each of those things twice (once for the flight there and once for the flight back). By not having a checked bag you avoid 4 different waiting times! Not only that, if you are checking a bag you have to get to the airport earlier than if you just had carry-on luggage to avoid missing the checked luggage cut off. The big difference for me personally is when I’m coming home late from a trip. The last thing I want to do is spend more time waiting for my bag,. I just want to get home and get some sleep!


4) Easier to get around

This is a direct relation to my Tokyo story earlier. Smaller luggage is lighter and easier to handle. Whether you’re in the US or a foreign country, you might be taking public transit so having a smaller bag is definitely the way to go. Public transit may not have luggage racks or may be a bit crowded so a smaller bag is better. Also consider all the walking you’ll be doing in the airport, getting to your hotel and even getting to your hotel room. Even if you are taking a taxi or using a ride sharing service (like Uber or Lyft), I’d still recommend smaller luggage because it takes up less space in your hotel room and having more available space will definitely make a difference no matter where in the world you are!

I hope I’ve convinced you to at least consider traveling lighter than you normally would! Now that you know why you should, let us surprise you by sending you somewhere great so you can try it out! The first step in taking a great surprise vacation is to fill out the trip survey below:

Roshni AgarwalComment