Great Travel Tips

How to Travel Anywhere with Nothing but a Carry on Bag

Regardless of your purpose for travelling͵ whether it be for business or leisure͵ being a minimalist has its advantages͵ not only financially but also in terms of how portable and convenient your travel setup is. Recently many airlines have been increasing their baggage fees for extra luggage͵ making it a literal money saver to travel with nothing but a carry-on.

The challenge is how to live out of a carry-on while you’re on a business trip or vacation͵ without compromising the essentials that allow you to live comfortably. Of course͵ there’s no magic tricks that can turn your carry-on into the never-ending Mary Poppins’ bag͵ some sacrifices will have to be made in regard to what you’ll able to take with you and what should be left behind.


But͵ in exchange for temporarily sacrificing a few luxuries͵ you should be able to get by just fine with nothing more than a carry-on. Below you’ll find three sets of tips that will help you travel to any place on earth comfortably with nothing more than a carry-on. At the end of this succinct guide we’ll provide an example list of items that should be included in your carry-on for easy reference.

1. Choose an Ideal Carrying Bag or Case:

While the choice is ultimately up to your preference͵ a true minimalist would opt for the easily manoeuvrable ultra-portable carrying bag͵ rather than committing to lugging around an 81cm extra large cabin case.

Bags like the garment bags sold at Global Luggage are also flexible and easier to move on and off public transportation with͵ which is a huge money saver in places like Hong Kong or New York͵ where the cost of repeatedly hailing taxi cabs can put a dent in your travelling budget.

Although suitcases and cabin cases do have more compartments͵ it is easy to make your own compartments within a travel bag by separating things into plastic bags or containers.

2. Learn How to be a Minimalist

Now that you have the necessary equipment to transport your belongings in a lightweight͵ ultra-portable carry-on͵ it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for what you’re about to do. As you might’ve imagined͵ you’re going to have to leave most of your belongings at home to pull this off.

Still͵ take comfort in knowing that unless society and airplanes come to a screeching halt at some point in your trip͵ you should be able to return home to all of your intact possessions as if nothing happened to them.

That’s the important thing to keep reminding yourself – “I will only have to live like this for a little while and things will go back to normal after the trip.”

3. Prioritise and Pack the Essentials

As a rule of thumb you should always start by packing your must-have items first. After those are crammed in (again͵ items can be compartmentalised in plastic bags and/or Tupperware containers).

Examples list of items to include in your anywhere carry-on:

  • Hygiene products: You don’t want to be in another country feeling dirty and uncomfortable͵ so obviously you’re tempted to bring your entire bathroom cabinet and all your toiletries with you. If you’re going somewhere where you know there’s going to be stores with toothpaste͵ shampoo͵ and other basic hygiene products͵ you may be better off saving the space in your carry-on by replacing those cheap items when you get to your destination.
  • Electronics: Take a smartphone and/or tablet with an active mobile data plan. These two items alone will make your travelling experience much more enjoyable.
  • Footwear: Now with your hygiene and electronics packed you have what you need to stay clean and connected with the world͵ so it’s time to get moving͵ but not without shoes of course. Shoes are big͵ bulky͵ and will therefore consume a good portion of your carry-on. Try not to pack more than two pairs.
  • First-Aid: Pack a standard first-aid kit. You may also want to pack a small portable pump-activated water filter. They’re made for hiking and they take up very little space. You could probably cram some extra filters in there too in the rare case that you’re going on an extended vacation in a wilderness scenario or somehow become stranded without access to clean water.
  • Clothing: Since you’ll only be taking what you can fit in the carry-on͵ you’ll need to chose clothing that folds easily. Avoid large jackets and if you have to bring them then opt to wear them layered while on the plane instead of packing them into your carry-on. Keep in mind you can always layer up as well͵ wearing shorts under windbreakers under jeans and wearing three or four shirts for example. While you might be a bit too warm on your flight͵ you’ll be able to take a few extra changes of clothes without overstuffing your carry-on.

Bonus Tip – Bringing Mobile Power and Wi-Fi With You

Since the title of this post is “how to travel anywhere with nothing but a carry-on͵” it’s only right to include a few bonus items that can give you internet and power virtually anywhere you go͵ even if you decide to trek into the jungle with your tablet.

The key to efficient mobile power lies in a combination of batteries and portable battery chargers. You can easily pack 4 or 5 backup batteries for your smartphone͵ tablet͵ or netbook (laptops and desktops are not recommended in a minimalistic setup).

You could then charge the batteries using a battery charger. Combine that small setup with a 3G or 4G data plan on your mobile device͵ or a wireless hotspot͵ and you should have internet coverage in most areas of the civilised world.

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Kishar Ahmed N

Kishar Ahmed N

Kishar Ahmed is a travel junkie who’s passionate about traveling and writing. He finished his Bachelor of Engineering in 2012, and as all typical engineers do, he had no clue what to do in life.

That is when he decided to combine his passions and start a travel blog. He wanted to travel far and wide, at the same time letting others know about the exotic places he discovered. That is how TheWanderingStar was born.

Thewanderingstar is a website dedicated to traveling and keeping its reader updated with the latest fads in the travel world. It is a concoction of wide-ranging topics such as diving, exotic destinations, travel tips, budget tips, and so on.

Though this started off with a single author, today it has multiple authors who have traveled to places unimaginable.


  1. 6th April 2015 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    Great article, exactly what I wanted to find.

  2. 7th April 2015 at 11:34 pm — Reply

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.|

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