Never check luggage for a weekend trip

Time is money … we’ve all heard that before, but few people truly realize that they can save heaps of time in airports by looking at what they carry on to a plane; they can also save a few bucks at the same time.

All these airlines, now levy an extra charge for checked baggage, but this is only the start of what’s fast becoming a textbook example of how to nickel and dime consumers. Blankets, pillows, headphones and — believe it or not — bathroom access are all becoming pay onboard now. Welcome to the “Great Ass Raping at 30,000 feet”. Since I travel from Monday – Thursday to the client site, I have a simple strategy: pack once and then reload, so that I never check luggage again.

For all trips under 5 days, I am a single bag traveler – which I define as one personal bag and one carry on piece. I pack strategically and fit every item I need into a well-designed and well-packed carry-on bag. If it won’t fit in a reasonably sized carry-on, it stays behind.

As a guy, you generally need the following for a 5 day trip (You only need the essentials … embrace it!)

  1. One pair of underwear/socks per day (5 pairs)
  2. One pair of jeans that you’re wearing with belt
  3. One pair of shoes that you’re wearing with socks
  4. Two pairs of dress pants
  5. Three shirts
  6. Two T-shirt
  7. One pair of shorts

Everything else is optional – in fact I know travelers who will even cut this minimum down to half – but this is my comfort level. You can buy travel sized stuff in any pharmacy on the road. It isn’t worth the hassle to carry this stuff through customs. Here are a couple other tips to become a single bag traveler:

  1. Find the right bag

    Know the limits of the carry-ons and know that you can “jet-bridge” anything as long as you’re comfortable with it. I always use the jet bridge for my one carry on item, since I know it almost never fits in the overhead compartment. You’re allowed to do this and it is free.

    The right bag is something that is about twice the size of the large gym bag or one duffel bag size. You can pack everything I listed above and more without the extra charge or weight.

  2. You aren’t just a vessel of knowledge but can also be luggageWhat you wear for your flight is part of your travel wardrobe. Choose these clothes strategically — your one pair of work shoes and jeans and t-shirt is part of your trip wear, but they’re also fine to wear on the flight – make that one outfit count. To minimize the tech gear you carry in your bag, consider a travel vest … you won’t need a tech bag or maybe even decrease what is in your tech bag … if you’re a traveling blogger/consultant like me.
  3. Liquids aren’t necessary, but if you must, travel size itSeriously, all that conformity to the TSA’s 3.4 ounce rule for liquids. Do you really need soap, shampoo and lotion. Most hotels you go to will give you this for free and if they don’t, you really need to find a better hotel.
  4. Learn the secret packing techniquesThere are no secret packing techniques – use common sense. If you pack shoes, ensure that you stuff the sock inside the shoes.  Roll your shirts together etc.. if you don’t know how to pack a bag/suitcase, learn how

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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