Support TFG by using the links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create helpful free content. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on Amazon in addition to other retailers featured on the blog. Thank you, we appreciate your support!
Because I’m a long-term traveler, it’s hard to believe I only use this carry-on size bag. However, I’ve got a few packing tips up my sleeve. I recently got a great question from one of my readers and thought I’d share my reply with you. Find out my long-term travel packing secrets!
TFG, Do You Really Travel Carry On Only?
Hi Alex! I love your website, it has helped me a lot towards becoming a lighter packer!
You said you´ve been traveling non-stop for the last few years. But it seems that you own a lot more “stuff” than what it´s in your backpack (I say this because you´ve shown so many examples of what to pack, and each time is a different set of clothes). Is this true?
If yes, where do you keep your “other stuff” when you´re not actually on the road? Or I’m mistaken, do you carry all your belongings with you at all times?
I remember reading recently that you´ll “settle” somewhere for the next few months. In this case, do you stick to your tips on this post? Or do you allow yourself to grow a larger wardrobe and ditch some items the next time you move on? Thanks so much for all your tips, and keep inspiring us to be lighter travelers! =)
This is a great question and I’d love to clarify a few things about my personal packing strategy. To answer her questions:
Do you own more stuff than fits in your backpack?
Yes I own or buy more items than I show in my luggage but I don’t travel with everything at once.
I usually replenish my clothing per region. For example, if my travels take me to Central America I create one capsule travel wardrobe. If I go to Asia or Europe I create different ones.
Generally it seems I spend my time between 2-3 “regions” per year so I purchase new wardrobes about 2-3 times per year. It may seem like a big expense but I could buy this many clothes a few times in just one month when I had my regular lifestyle in LA.
The visuals shown in these international packing lists are not all clothing I own instead they are meant to help give you an idea of appropriate things you can pack.
If yes, where do you keep your “other stuff” when you´re not actually on the road? Or I´m mistaken, do you carry all your belongings with you at all times?
My hometown is Los Angeles so it’s the perfect stop over for trips between Asia and South/North America. Also, my boyfriend’s hometown is in England so whenever we pass through either of these places I replenish my gear and store my old items if necessary.
If I’m on the road and want to replace many things at once, I occasionally ship a box back to my mom’s house in LA when needed. Otherwise, I sell, donate, or give other people things I no longer need or want while traveling.
I remember reading recently that you´ll “settle” somewhere for the next few months. In this case, do you stick to your tips on this post? Or do you allow yourself to grow a larger wardrobe and ditch some items the next time you move on?
I am constantly buying new things and replacing items. Since I’m on the road as a lifestyle I get bored with my things easily since I wear them all the time.
Whenever I “settle” somewhere for more than a month I buy things locally and add more items to my Maximista capsule wardrobe. This is super fun for me because I get to go shopping and don’t have to worry about owning too much. Once I leave, I re-asses my travel wardrobe and take the things I like most and that make the most sense for my next destination.
And for every single trick in my packing book, read my full course “Stop Overpacking“. I created the STOP OVERPACKING program to teach you my exact packing process. Every secret, every detail, nothing is spared.
Learn more about Stop Overpacking here!
Hope this gives you a better idea about how I manage to pack carry-on only in my long-term travels. Got any more packing questions for me?
For more insight into my personal packing strategy as a long-term traveler, please read:
- My Long Term Packing List: Beaches and Diving
- How to Pack for Long Term Travel
- The Fashionista’s Guide to Traveling 1 Week Luggage Free
- What’s in My Travel Makeup Bag
- My Secret for Carry-on Travel