Ten Days, One Carry On: How I did it (and why I love the Aeronaut)

I consider myself a pretty seasoned traveler.  My parents provided me with amazing opportunities to travel all around the world from a fairly young age.  I lived in Rome for 5 months in college for my study abroad, and since I've been married, my husband and I travel at least twice a year to visit my parents, in addition to taking our own vacations.  In spite of my experience, I somehow turned into a pretty terrible traveller.  As a result of all the heightened security measures and general nervous energy at airports, I came to hate flying.  To make matters worse, I started schlepping way too much stuff with me and everything about travel turned into such a hassle and totally stressed me out.

The last time my husband and I flew, we got slapped with $75 in fees for our checked bag.  That sealed the deal for us and we got down to the business of buying new luggage.

I have to give credit to my hubs, the ultimate researcher, who introduced me to onebag.com, the one bag, one world blog, and for leading us to buy a pair of Aeronauts by Tom Bihn with all the accoutrements.

I broke in the Aeronaut on my 10-day trip to San Francisco, and I'm already sure I'll never travel with anything else!  It was fantastic.  I thought it would be a challenge because in addition to “normal person” clothes, I had to pack dance clothes and props, including a bulky 10-yard skirt.  To my delight and amazement, everything I needed fit in the Aeronaut!  I did do some laundry in the hotel sink, but that was no big deal.  I also did an embarrassing amount of shopping, and while I could have carried my extra goodies in the tote bag I packed, I just commandeered some space in my husband's Aeronaut on the way back. 

I also have the 3D Clear Organizer (my 3-1-1 bag) and the Clear Quarter Packing Cube (headphones, chargers, snacks), which both go in one end pocket.  The other end pocket holds a pair of shoes and my other bag of toiletries.  My favorite accessory is the Packing Cube Backpack.  When I was in San Francisco for dance training, I unloaded the clothes I had packed in there and used it to go to and from the studio.  It comfortably held a letter-sized folder, my lunch, and all the other gear I needed for the day.  We also took it when we went hiking and on day-trips.  It's super rugged, lightweight and easy to carry.

I've attached a PDF of my “universal” packing list that you can download.  I followed the general advice on one-bag packing, and listed everything I could possibly need on the list.  If it's not on the list, it does not need to be packed, period.  Obviously, I won't need a 10-yard skirt everywhere I go, but I do travel to yoga and dance workshops pretty regularly, so on the list it goes.  Also, you will see that I am a total girly-girl and I do take a ton of beauty products with me.   I know it might not be in the true spirit of “packing light” but I'm OK with that.

Even with all my girly products and luxuries that I consider necessities, I found it both very easy and incredibly liberating to travel with just one carry-on bag.  The absolute strap for the Aeronaut is great,  but most of the time I carried it back-pack style, which was so comfortable that I now wonder why I ever bothered with those unwieldy bags with wheels.  I loved not having to stand in line to check a bag, but it was truly glorious being able to get off the plane and high-tail it out of the airport without waiting around for my bag to show up (… or not … *shifty eyes at Southwest*).  I love it!  Traveling is fun again!

Download my packing list!