to pack [or] not to pack?

Destination: Costa Rica
Duration: 10 days

Antoine de Saint Exupéry: He who would travel happily must travel light.

Once upon a time in Valencia, Spain – I learned the necessity of packing light. I had been sick as a dog the previous month and my ribs ached from coughing repeatedly. Ironically, the trip was one of my favorites, but I believe I’ve blocked out the first 6 hours of the day where my friend Thao and I walked around with backpacks on, without rest. You see we did not have a car, or a hotel, because there was a huge festival going on and we were, as the Spanish sometimes do, flying by the seat of our pants. Despite the adrenaline rush and the amazingness of the day – I cannot forget that beast of a backpack. What a burden! My back hurt, my legs ached, my ribs screamed. Rest assured that the next weekend found me with a far lighter bag, having left the majority of my material possessions safely at my señoras home, back in Granada.

Now when I travel for long weekends, I typically plan on taking a carry-on. Yes, this is a pain with the 3 oz liquid rules, but after an argument in Chicago O’Hare, I’m not likely to make the mistake of trying to transport anything larger. On domestic trips, my Vera Bradley weekender makes sense: a beautifully crafted duffel bag that I don’t mind schlepping around. Granted, I have no intention of moving that bag further than overhead-airport-destination-repeat. In the case of my trip to Costa Rica, I set out to find a backpack that suited my needs. I ended up with the Kelty Redwing 2650 – a sizable investment that I hope will serve me well. The selling point for me was that the Kelty specs outshone the competitors – where most others had only 8-10″ depth, this model is 22 x 16 x 14.

In my quest for the perfect bag – I stumbled on OneBag.com: The Art & Science of Travelling Light. The author has been dubbed a “Carry-on maven” (WSJ) and the “go-light guru” (Times). She has some really insightful tips on packing that go above and beyond a simple packing list. If you’re wondering how to survive a vacation without checking a bag, give this site a look. As Microsoft Money says .. “save money– and your back”.

More on the contents later … light enough to survive the in-country flights that boast a 30 lb carry-on limit per passenger 🙂

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