In 2014, I started a tradition to buy myself a Christmas present from Rick Steve's shop. My first gift to myself was his Blu-ray collection. At 50% of off with a few free extras, it was a heck of a deal. Last year, it took me a while to decide what to get, but I finally decided to buy a piece of luggage from him. It was a carry on bag. It's soft-sided, and has handles on the top and side. It has backpack straps you can pull out from a zipped pouch.
I made the jump, and decided I was going to utilize this bag for recent trip. The duration of the trip was 18 days, so it required a complete change in philosophy for me to mange this.
For one, the only pair of shoes I'd take were the ones I would wear on the airplane. I took a pair of flip flops, which I planned to trash after I was done with them. Do you know that quart size bag you put your liquids in to get through security? That was my toiletry bag. I took old tees I wasn't attached to. I'd dispose of these after I was done with them. I packed a week's worth of shirts to wear. I wore one pair of jeans, and packed only one other pair. This would require me to do a little bit of laundry as I went. If I needed anything along the way I didn't bring, I'd just buy it.
What do I think after doing this for the first time?
It was liberating. I saved about a total of $100 on baggage fees across four different flights. I didn't have to stand in a long queue at the airport to check in my bag. I didn't waste time waiting at baggage claim waiting to collect my luggage. I had no fear that my luggage would be lost. It was much easier to get around on the subways and trains because I had all my belongings on my back. I even had room to bring a few things back I bought; 2 Blu-rays, 3 CDs, 2 long sleeve shirts, a jacket, and and a new pair of shoes.
I can't mislead you. It wasn't all roses. I had one major frustration; trying to navigate around all the people slowed down by their big suitcases.
If I could change one thing about the way I packed, I would have packed even less.