Another question we’re always asked is, “How do you pack all your stuff for a trip around the world? What kind of luggage do you use?”
Easy. We use the KISS principle – Keep It Super Simple.
Over the years we’ve traveled with every type of luggage imaginable – from good ol’ Samsonite hardsides to Army duffle bags. From Rick Steves backpacks to real backpacks. And we’ve learned 5 things:
1. Pick the right bag for your trip.
If you’re going trekking in Nepal or hiking the Appalachian Trail you’re going to need a good backpack. For a week in London … not so much.
2. Travel extremely light.
You need to be able to take care of your own bag with no help from others. Whether you’re lifting it into the overhead bin on a plane or tossing it on top of the bus in Kenya, make sure you can do it all by yourself.
3. Plan to carry on.
Choose a bag that fits the carry-on requirements of all the airlines you plan to use. Then the airline won’t lose your luggage, and the small size will be self-limiting. You can only cram so much into it, so you’ll have to think very carefully about the items you choose. It’s like portion control for luggage.
4. Require your bag to work harder than you.
You have enough to think about when you’re traveling – new languages, currencies and terrain. You need a bag that does its job without you having to hassle with it. If it’s a backpack it needs a great waistbelt to distribute the load. If it’s a wheeled bag it needs good wheels and an adjustable length handle to tag along easily behind you.
5. Make friends with your bag.
For the next weeks or months your bag is going to be your best friend … or worst enemy. We’ve learned to do trial runs before any trip – especially if we’re working with a new bag (as we are this trip). We not only do trial packing, we try living out of the bag for a week so that we can work out the kinks while we’re on familiar turf instead of struggling on foreign soil.
For this trip we’re using two small, High Sierra rolling backpacks. “How small is small?” you may ask. Their dimensions are both 20″ x 13.5″ x 8″. My bag, the “Chaser” weighs 4 lbs. 6 oz. with a capacity of 2264 cu. in. (that’s 37 liters for you backpackers). James’ bag, the “Freewheel” weighs 5 lbs.11 oz. with a capacity of 2523 cu. in. (41 liters).
We have previously used rolling backpacks and loved them. They are so versatile – easy to roll through airports and city streets. And just as easy to convert to backpacks for cobblestones and stairs. We don’t plan to camp this trip, so we don’t need hardcore backpacks.
And as James says,
“A rolling backpack gathers no moss.”
Peace and Love,