• winter hat
  • pajama pants and t-shirt - this is extravagant overpacking. Normally I would just bring a pair of shorts, and wear whatever shirt/camisole I'd be wearing that day.
  • socks, underwear, shirts
  • laundry bag! This is the key item. (I use a lingerie bag, but a plastic grocery bag would work too). I only pack two changes of clothes, and do laundry every third day.

    When there's no free washing machine, I hand-wash my clothes each night in the sink.
  • from R-L: wallet, phone, ipod, keys, moleskine, pen, and a purse to carry them all in. There's usually a small camera in here too.
  • The other key item: toiletry pack. This tiny bag holds shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, razor, condoms, floss, tampons, hairbands, soap, etc.

    If I need more than a few days' worth of shampoo or whatever, I'll buy it at my destination.
  • miscellaneous chargers (laptop charger not shown). The purple pouch holds jewelry.
  • the laptop - I'll bring it if I might need to do work. Very occasionally, I leave it at home. It's responsible for almost half the weight of the bag.
  • clothes - in this case, layer-friendly wool and cashmere. In summer, substitute t-shirts, sundresses, etc. I wear one outfit and pack two.

How I pack for any length trip in under 10 pounds

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This is what I packed to visit my family. It's also what I packed to visit Chris's family. (Didn't bother unpacking in between). This is basically the same set of stuff I pack anywhere.

It all fits in a single messenger bag, so I never have to check luggage. I don't even use the overhead compartment - my bag fits under the seat.

There are two secrets to make this easy and painless:

1. keep a travel toiletry kit always packed and ready to go. (it's on the far right of this photo). Get the tiniest clear cosmetic bag you can find, and pack it with the tiniest toiletries - shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, etc.

The tiny bottles will last through a weekend trip, or on a longer trip, they will tide you over until you find a place to buy larger bottles of shampoo and things.

2. bring a laundry bag (a plastic grocery bag will do) and only pack two outfits. Take time to make sure that everything is mix-and-match compatible, and that you have an outfit for every occasion. This is doable, but requires careful planning.

Two outfits for 1-2 people (or three outfits, if you do laundry in your pajamas) fills up one small load in a friend's house or laundromat. If you're away from laundry machines, wash your clothes in the bathroom sink each night (and in this case, pack or buy some detergent and a clothesline). See onebag.com for more info on the wash-as-you-go tactic.

Anne Greene, Tera Lynn Childs, and 14 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. PΞRИOD 74 months ago | reply

    that's interesting. I should remember this because my packing always ends up in chaos. maybe I don't have enough experience in traveling..

  2. omy1234 72 months ago | reply

    This is a good way to show off how to be put-together while traveling. Thanks.

    The clear plastic toiletries bag is a good idea. Now is a good time to replace the iPod and the 3g phone and get a single iPhone.

    No offense, but both of those sweaters looks unappealing. And the grey and pink colors of the other two articles of clothing make it seem that you wind up looking frumpy when you wind up at your destination.

  3. loxosceles 72 months ago | reply

    Nah, the iPhone's not for me.

    The grey and pink articles *are* the sweaters (the blue/black is a hat) - but don't worry, the outfits all looked great in real life.

    But I should mention that you can pack whatever items and colors look best on you. :)

  4. loxosceles 72 months ago | reply

    I just realized I wasn't very specific about the clothing - this may help people figure out how to pack.

    It was winter, so I packed:

    * 1 black/gray wool sweater (top center)
    * 1 pink cashmere sweater
    * 2(?) camisoles or layering tees
    * underwear, 2-3 sets
    * t-shirt (gray, left) and pajama bottoms (black, above them)
    * 1 winter hat (blue/black, top)

    As I traveled, I was wearing jeans, a coat, and a shirt or two.

    A typical outfit would be: sweater, cami, jeans (with underwear underneath and hat/coat on top as needed). The clothes I wore traveling would, of course, go into the rotation - making 3 sets of tops.

    For a short trip the one pair of jeans is plenty. The pajama pants are nice enough to be a backup for laundry day.

    For a summer trip I would skip the sweaters and add some skirt options or even a dress.

  5. Nomadic Lara 58 months ago | reply

    this is brilliant, thanks for sharing!

    one question though:
    how big of a bag or backpack do you need for all this? I was looking at backpacks that fit into the size restrictions for airlines I typically use, but these tend to be about 20L in capacity, and I don't know if that is enough, or how to find out if it is..

  6. loxosceles 58 months ago | reply

    What you see here all fits into a messenger bag, small enough to fit under the seat on an airplane.

  7. loxosceles 58 months ago | reply

    To find out what you personally will need, it depends on what you personally will be packing! Gather your things together and see how big a pile that makes. If you need more information than that, check out www.onebag.com

  8. Nomadic Lara 58 months ago | reply

    thanks! I think I may just pack my things and go to a bag/backpack shop and try out ^.^

  9. pinayoki13 39 months ago | reply

    I tend to overpack, thanks for sharing!

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