Carry on Luggage
We are a huge proponent for "less is more", especially when it comes to luggage both in size and what you pack. If you're traveling for more than 10 days, it's smarter to pack for around half those days with the anticipation of washing essential clothing (underwear, socks and shirts). Wash on vacation? Are you nuts? YEP! Unless, that is, you want to schlep an oversized luggage around during your time away from home.
Washing is pretty simple. All you need is a little soap (hotel shampoo is fine), a sink with a bonus of having hair blow dryer to help with the drying process. In order to speed this along, we recommend synthetic material for underwear and shirts. They perform well in both hot
and cooler climates. For socks, you can either go with lightweight merino wool blends (for better odor control and breathability) or quick dry synthetics. There are several brand names that we've experienced over the years of travel. Just as a headstart to your search, for underwear and socks, you may want to consider Exofficio, Smartwool, Patagonia.
After you've pack smartly, now you're ready to stuff it in your chosen luggage. By the way, over the years of digging through my luggage at the hotels and on the go, I've come to appreciate the seemingly extraneous packing cubes. I used to ask myself, "why will I want to carry more weight (at bag w/in a bag, essentially)? I have found they are a smart way to organize & compartmentalize your packing so that when you need something, you don't have to rummage through your entire luggage to find things; you just lift out a certain cube for certain things. It also aids in reducing the chance of leaving something behind when you are off to your next location.
I try to pack to carry-on size. If you do this, you can easily getaway with a 24" roller - that's the limit for most international airlines for carry-on (some limit it to 22", but I've yet to be challenged with a 24" all throughout Asia). Consider once that expands as a viable insurance measure for a bit more space just in case those souvenirs take up too much space - you can
always start with the expansion and compress it down (sitting on your luggage) to zip it down.
We recommend to NOT overstuff your luggage on departure because you're surely going to need a little extra space on your return and for some reason, you just don't pack as neatly coming back as you did when starting out on your journey! Try your luggage search with ebags.com as they have a pretty good assortment to choose from. For a non-rollie type, I am experimenting with a Cotopaxi Allpa 35Lbackpack. If it can hold 2 weeks worth of clothing, toiletries and a few camera accessories, it could be a winner in the minimalist category an ensure carry-on capabilities wherever I go. More on this in a future post after it's been put through the acid test.
So, begin thinking about it right now. Do mock packs and see what works. Post a question here if you need some encouragement to go as minimal as you comfortably can!