Travel with Just a Carry On

We live in a mobile society, and missionaries are among some of the most mobile. This missionary help article is aimed at helping missionaries (and non) hone their travel skills. It presents the one-bag travel concept, which can help make your journeys stress-free!

The thought of traveling with just one small carry-on seemed not only impossible, but a bit of a nightmare. But I now see that the real nightmare was dragging around so many bags! Especially since we didn’t even use it all!

Then I discovered and realized what a lifesaver one-bag-travel can be for anyone who travels. But especially for those who travel frequently like missionaries, ministers, salespeople, truck drivers, and so on – and even some bloggers!

And the secret to going one-bag is simple. Just do laundry as you go! Many garments are quick-dry, even when handwashed. And for heavier things, like jeans, just find a laundry mat or laundry service. Practically every country has them, at least in the cities.

Plus a trip to the laundry mat can add a touch of real-life experience to your travels. Meet some locals, practice the language, and soak up the cultural experience. So let’s examine some of the amazing advantages to carry-on travel!

13 great advantages of one-bag travel!

🧳 1. No baggage claim lines

With no checked bags, you can breeze past baggage carousels. And possibly be first in line to snag a taxi or board the bus!

✈️ 2. Less chance of missed connections

Many entry points require collecting and rechecking bags. And if lines are long it’s too easy to miss your next connection.

🛃 3. Shorter customs inspections

Customs officials seem less likely to stop you if you only have one small bag. And if they do, inspection should take far less time!

💰 4. No extra baggage fees

Hey, travel costs enough as it is. Why add to it? Plus you can treat yourself to something special with the money saved! By cutting travel expenses, we were able to treat ourselves to some famed Viennese coffee and the original Sacher Torte at Sacher Cafè!

🔎 5. Less risk of lost or stolen bags

The airlines can’t lose or damage bags you’ve never checked. And you’re less likely to lose or forget your own luggage if you’ve only got one and keep it with you!

😊 6. Less Stress

Only one bag can make both your journey and stay less stressful. Not having heaps of luggage to keep track of or clothing to dig through can bring a real sense of peace and freedom!

📅 7. Makes plan changes easier

Because getting around is so much easier, you might be able to veer from your schedule, even adding fun side excursions. Why let excess stuff you don’t even use make you miss out on great new experiences?

🚉 8. Move about more easily and save your back

Dragging lots of luggage up and down steps (common in Europe) is not fun. And neither is traveling with a backache caused by excess baggage!

🧭 9. You won’t stand out so much

Stand out as a helpless, confused tourist, that is! Zipping around with only one small bag makes you seem confident, and less of a target for tourist gimmicks and thieves.

👚 10. You’ll likely use everything you take

I’ve killed my back dragging unnecessary stuff that we never touched, but I say never again!! Now I usually use each item we take!

💵 11. You can save money

With airlines continually cutting baggage amounts and charging for bags, it’s just more sensible to travel light! Plus it could free you to use public transport, which is not only cheaper, but can be a great cultural experience!

Travel light! Why trade the adventure of new experiences for the burden of dragging lots of stuff around?

“But what if I don’t pack enough?” you wonder…

We’ve been traveling with just one carry-on for years, and that has never yet happened. And we figure that even if should happen, we’d prefer getting a useful souvenir like a new T-shirt rather than some dust-collecting bauble!

He who would travel happily must travel light.

Antoine de St. Exupery

Images: Purse by freephotocc. | Emojis from Emojipedia | Luggage on graphic by Fushion Books | Emojis from Emojipedia.

14 thoughts on “Travel with Just a Carry On

  1. Amen I am a huge believer of this. Just watch if you come back to the States and do a bit of domestic travel. Many of the budget airlines now charge for carry one as well (Which is why I stick to the majors). Safe travels. In Portuguese our friends say “Vai com Deus” (Go with God) when we are leaving and we respond; “Fica com Deus” (stay with God) for those we are leaving behind. Have a blessed journey both coming and going as you travel.


    1. Yes I know, Pastor Pete. A lot of the budget European airlines charge for carry-ons too. Pretty soon, they’ll probably try to charge for what we have in our pockets too. :O But I love that Portuguese greeting!! I think Spanish has the same thing. It’s so beautiful! Going with God is the only to travel! And it’s so comforting to know that he also remains behind with our loved ones! By the way, how did you come to know Portuguese so well?


      1. We learned from friends at work who invited us to their church. We stayed at that church and we loved it though at first it was hard to understand much. After 2 years they asked my wife and I to serve as assistant pastors and we stayed 14 years. I miss our Brazilian community but we will visit when we go north to see our kids and grand kiddos next month.


        1. Wow, that’s great how the Lord opened doors for you and used you there! His paths are always amazing!


  2. I’m impressed, Sheila! My travel motto has always echoed the Boy Scouts: “Be prepared!” But then, my itinerary has never been as extensive as yours. You’ve made a convincing case for traveling light. God bless your adventures this summer, my friend!


    1. Thanks Nancy! My motto in travel and other things has also always been “Be prepared!” But after learning how to travel light, I found that it is possible even without going heavy. Stay tuned for my next post on my packing list, to see how we do it!! My new motto is: Be prepared, but travel light!!


    1. Ha, that is all too true!! I guess we mostly all like feeling prepared for anything. But I found after downsizing my purse though that it really helped my back a lot. And the same is true in travel. It has been a real live saver for me!

      Liked by 1 person

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