Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018
Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018

Packing Smart: From Multi-checked Bags to One (Part 2)

AA airplaneEditor’s note: Tortuga, makers of terrific backpacks for travel, are the experts in packing light. For them, schlepping two or three bags is the best way to ruin your trip and we couldn’t agree more. But how do you get all that stuff you ‘need’ into one carry on? Here’s what Tortuga’s top packing specialists suggest in three parts.

In the first part, they offered a summary of the real benefits you’ll gain from giving up the over packing habit. In this section, they give a quick overview of how to get from taking two checked bags to one checked bag and then to an even smaller checked bag. (We’ve edited the post for space.) –BH, RFT Editor

Cruise, luggage, travel advice

Is this you?

If you constantly overpack, reaching your goal of packing light is a process. Expect to work through a few tries before you nail traveling with a carry on only. There will be some trial and error, practice, and learning. Just as you would with a diet, you should aim to ditch the extra weight bit by bit.

Getting From 2 Checked Bags to 1 Checked Bag

To get from max packer to moderate checker, the first step in going from checking two large suitcases, to just one. Do this:

  • Swap out checked bags for a large carry-on and an expandable checked suitcase
  • Limited just-in-case items
  • Maximize the usefulness of what you bring
  • Pack two days in advance
  • Organize your bags with packing cubes and vacuum seal bags
bag weight limits

Know the size limits for carry-ons. Courtesy Tortuga.

Check an Even Smaller Bag

If you check just one bag, you can pare down to a more manageable bag. Here’s how to do this:

  • Get an even smaller bag, aiming to travel with two carry-on sized pieces of luggage (even though you’ll check one)
  • Pack your one personal item in your carry-on bag while traveling
  • Use packing lists to help narrow down what to pack
  • Pack for fewer days than you’re traveling
  • Organize your bags and convert to travel size items whenever possible


Click here if you missed Part 1, the Benefits of Smart Packing.

Next Up: From Checked to Carry-on.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

RFT Contributor

RFT Contributor- has regular contributors, but sometimes people contact us with a one- or two-time contribution. We appreciate these contributors. If you’d like to be one, contact