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Shockingly, it is possible to downsize to just one suitcase. Even for a long time wanderer. But, like everything, it’s more work than you might think. I thought I was good at packing light. I’d done a week in Europe in winter (when clothes are bigger and heavier with just carry on and a knapsack. The difference between then and now, that was a one week trip and this one is 4+ months and my suitcase isn’t carry-on sized.

It’s easy, too easy, to get sucked into over packing. What if? What if? What if? As any kondo, tiny-home aficionado knows, less is more. I left Kuwait with 3 suitcases (large, medium and small) and a backpack. I left my friends’ house in Germany with the large and small suitcases and the backpack, before I left Germany I was down to the large suitcase, the backpack and maybe my small Camelback backpack.

Rolling clothes is a space saver, just make sure you don’t fill that space with more clothes! [Side Note: clothes weigh more than you think.] Trust me when I say, you don’t need three pairs of jeans and three additional pairs of pants. I’m down to one and one. Clothes that can go from trail to city to office are wonderous. Even better when they don’t have to be washed after each wearing! The counterpoint to packing lighter is having to do laundry more often. Yes, it’s possible to wash your underwear in the bathroom sink, but most people don’t want to do that for months on end.

“Stuff” in my suitcase I can’t wander and work without (not pictured above)

  • Memory foam pillow -Hotels, hostels, friends, AirBnB all have varying quality pillows
  • “>Bamboo Laptop Desk -So I can work in bed, on the couch, etc
  • Large microfiber travel towel -Use as a towel, wrap, blanket, (beach, park, plane, bed) or a sheet.

Check out more gear we wander with.

TIP: One pair of jeans & one pair of pants is enough
TIP: Packing cubes keep you from searching long for anything
TIP: Roll your clothes, then put them in packing cubes
TIP: Use a luggage scale
TIP: Pack some laundry pods in a ziplock to do laundry while traveling
TIP: Pack Shoes in used grocery bags to keep your clothes clean and fresher smelling
TIP: Pack a couple of scented dryer sheets in your luggage to keep it smelling good
TRICK: After you pack, take out at least one outfit
TRICK: Use the dryer sheets when you do your laundry
TRICK: Put used underwear and socks into a lingerie bags when you take them off, no more lost socks, and less time sorting your laundry
TRICK: If you have to travel with dirty underwear and socks pack them in a large ziplock to keep the rest of your stuff from smelling bad


I have visited 7 continents and 80 countries. I have lived in 9 different countries. I speak English, Spanish, French, and Russian. I like to hike, ski, dive, eat, drink, and wander the wonders of the world.

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