Day 250 Reducing your Travel Clutter

Another guest post by my husband.

You’ll never meet a traveller who, after five trips, brags: “Every year I pack heavier.”

Rick Steves – Travel Writer

These words echo in my head every time I pack for trip, whether business or pleasure, reducing the amount of stuff I carry always makes for a more enjoyable time. Whenever I travel with colleagues, they are amazed by my small bag and unable to imagine how they could do it. Packing light is easier than they think and anyone can reduce their luggage to a manageable size with some planning and preparation.

Colleen and I are committed to only take as much stuff as can be carried onto the flight; a 9″ x 22″ x 14″ bag weighing no more than 7 Kilos (15 lbs) plus a smaller bag for personal items like a camera. We use a convertible backpack/suitcase with zip-away shoulder straps that is lighter than your average roller bag, and easy to tote across town to our hotel. How do we do it? Well, my bag contains the following items:

  • 2 collared shirts
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 pair of shorts/swimmers
  • 4 sets of underwear
  • 4 pair of socks
  • 1 jacket
  • Vibram Five Fingers
  • small toiletries kit
  • first aid kit
  • 1 small towel
  • journal/pens
  • sewing kit
  • guide book/maps
  • phrase book (if needed)

In my camera bag:

  • DSLR plus 28-135mm zoom
  • 50mm lens
  • iPod Touch
  • battery charger
  • spare battery/compact flash drives
  • Archos 604WIFI (used for photo storage and charging the iPod)

I used to carry a laptop but an iPod touch provides me all the computing power I need except for an ability to upload photos from my camera so I carry the Archos 604. Despite carrying two devices, I still save more than half the weight of your average 12-13 inch laptop or netbook.

The main advantage of this small uncluttered travel bag is mobility. While most people are waiting for their bags, we are heading to the hotel. We can easily change planes, trains or buses when a delay occurs because everything is with us. Sure we have to do some washing along the way but it is often no more expensive to use a fluff and fold service than to do the laundry yourself. We also use lightweight wash and wear clothes that can be washed in a sink if necessary, and air dried over night.

Virtually nothing in our bag is there because we might need it, we will use every item continuously throughout our travels and when those one-off occasions arise we just buy what we need at that time. Plan for the best and be prepared to spend a little money if needed, why ruin a vacation lugging a huge bag of stuff you never use to save a few dollars. Travelling light is an awakening that can open your eyes to how little you need in your life, try it on your next vacation.

For those who cannot imagine travelling with one small bag, check out Rolf Potts’ No Baggage trip.


I am sure someone will find these fabric scraps useful but I am sure I am not going to use them

Fabric Scraps

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About Steve

Steve writes occasional posts for 365 Less Things and is Colleen's husband, web designer and tech support.


  1. Yes, yes, yes!! I so agree. Right now I use a carryon roller case but I am looking for what you have. If you have a link to one please share. The ones I have found are way to heavy. the bag itself feels like a suitcase. I need it to be light. If I can’t carry it on then it doesn’t go. I do take my laptop but when I can afford one I am going to get one of the smaller ones–can’t think of the name right now. I don’t use a cell phone.

  2. You must be flying with a generous airline. My recent flights out of the UK to Europe and the US, with four different airlines have very strictly allowed only one hand luggage bag per person, so the contents of your smaller bag for camera and personal also has to fit into the hand luggage.

    No chance, when I am usually teaching and have all my absolutely-can’t-trust-in-the-hold samples with me as well, even though they aren’t very bulky.

  3. Wow, I didn’t know that you can only have 1 small hand bag. I haven’t flown in several years and I knew many rules have been changed but wow, that’s still surprising to me. Good to know.

    • Hi Reggie,
      we are almost half way through our vacation and we haven’t run out of clothes yet. We have done our laundry twice only. There really hasn’t been anything that I wish I have left behind or brought.


  1. […] would like to take your memories back to Day 250 to a post my husband wrote called Reducing Your Travel Clutter. In that post he shared this quote with you from Rick Steves (Travel Writer) You’ll never meet a […]

  2. […] a guest post on Day 250, my husband discussed our minimalist approach to travel packing and how it helps us enjoy more […]