The Standard One Bag Travel Packing List

Imagine preparing for a trip and discovering you are only allowed one bag at the train terminal, or you have to pay for extra luggage at the airport. 

That may be frustrating, especially when in a rush or low on cash. How many times have you asked “Is it possible to travel far distances with one bag? How can I fit all my essentials into one travel bag? 

This idea would be alien to you if you’re a chronic over-packer like I once was. 

However, with little planning and following a checklist, you can travel anywhere in the world with one travel bag containing all your essentials, well, maybe except Antarctica.

This article explores the idea of a one-bag travel packing list, discusses its benefits, and highlights the essential packing list for one-bag travel.

Essential packing list for one bag travel

Rather than wondering how to fit all your items into one travel item, spend more time thinking of the irrelevant items. Carry with you only what you need for the trip. Here are six essential items to fit into one bag for your travels: 

1.   Bag

Your bag choice will evolve as you consider what you need to bring and how you will prefer to carry it. When picking a bag, ensure you consider the following: 

  • Size: Start from the largest dimension your airline will allow. But first, consider the duration of your trip. You can put your items into a smaller bag if your trip is short.
  • Weight: Most airlines weigh your luggage before boarding, so a better option would be picking a lightweight bag. It means most weight comes from what is inside the bag and not from the bag itself.
  • Storage: Choose a bag with multiple storage pockets. Both inside pockets and pockets that you can access from the outside. Also, you will benefit from leaving a little space for extra items, such as purchases from your trip. Duffel bags, backpacks, and suitcases are part of your many best options.

2.   Clothes

Clothes and shoes take up most of the space. Consider reducing the pairs of underwear and/or washing dirty underwear. Adopt a very effective folding skill to reduce the space the clothes will take up. Since you can’t fold shoes, consider taking neutral colour pairs. A pair of slippers and possibly sandals, only if it’s important.

3.   Electronics 

Electronics that can take up much space can be replaced. 

A laptop can be swapped with a tablet. A mobile device with a great camera can replace a heavy DSLR camera. Using a gear pouch to collect and keep your cables organized helps reduce the space consumed. While packing, remember to ask yourself, “do I need this piece of electronic equipment?”

4.   Toiletries

The first step in organizing toiletries is to get yourself a good toiletry bag with spaces and pockets. Plan your liquids, so you know how many tubes you will need to pack. Substitute with non-liquid products. For example, you could buy shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo bars to save space. Also, getting your toiletries in small sizes is an effective way of saving space.

5.   Documents

With documents, electronic copies are an advisable substitute. Essential non-replaceable paper documents can be packed together in a file bag to save space. If possible, always have backup electronic copies of all documents

6.   Bonus items

You can have a few items you don’t necessarily need but could be useful during your trip and make your travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Some bonus items are:

  • A wine opener
  • Personalised utensils
  • Basic medication
  • A compass
  • Safety pins 
  • Inflatable travel pillows.


3 core benefits of one-bag travel

Traveling with one bag might seem impossible, but it could have amazing results. Here are three benefits of one-bag travel:


If it’s a solo trip, packing just one bag is a great way to keep tabs on your personal items. The chances of losing your bag are second to none with one travel bag, thereby avoiding losses. 

Cost friendly 

The issue of excess baggage cost doesn’t apply here, as all your essentials have been compressed into one travel bag.


Travelling with one bag frees you from physical strains. It allows you to freely navigate your way, especially if it’s a solo trip. The burden of excess luggage won’t be part of your worries.


Bonus tip

A bonus bagging travel hack you should adopt is using compression travel cubes. It helps organize your bag, keeping your clothes in a different compartment from your toiletries. With the help of these organizational bags, it’s easier to pull out certain items (let’s say a cord) without emptying the contents of the entire bag.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you do not need to pack for every case scenario. 

Because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that you will be a different person than you are at home. So, try not to get carried away and pack what you need.

Related tags: Business trip, packing list, travel,
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