How to Travel Long Term With Only Carry-On Luggage

I wrote an updated version of this post in 2016 – see how to travel carry-on only in 10 easy steps

We are travelling permanently with only carry-on luggage, having sold the rest of our belongings. I have a 30 litre backpack and Simon has a 40 litre backpack and a small travel guitar. It’s been surprisingly easy to live with such small bags and to fit everything we need into them, including two laptops and an SLR camera. Life is actually much simpler when you own less.

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What Do You Pack When You Are Leaving Forever? Our Packing List

See our updated carry-on packing list for 2016.  

So what do you pack when you are leaving with no plans to return?

Well, as little as possible. Although we have no idea how long we’ll be on the road, we shouldn’t need to pack more than we would for a one month trip. Travelling light makes things a lot easier – you can walk around trying to find a place to stay, you can squeeze on a crowded bus and you can run to catch a train. For this trip we are aiming to travel with small enough backpacks that we can fit them on planes as hand luggage to save time at airports, and hopefully be able to take them inside South American buses rather than put them on the roof.

We admire ultralight packers like Tim Ferris and Karol Gajda from Ridiculously Extraordinary, but unfortunately we haven’t managed to do quite as well ourselves. Still, we haven’t done too badly as our backpacks are half the size of most travellers’.

Check out our very first video to see us packing our stuff!

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