Go Carry-On, Leave the Baggage

By Greg Birman, Oarsman

There's a category of travelers out there, who will boast about their ability to go for weeks with nothing more than a carry-on and one personal item. For this frequent rewards junky, the idea of waiting for baggage claim is less about convenience or wasted time, as it is about their proud conviction that they've hacked the process. While we admire the intention, we can't promise to mimic the obsessiveness. What we can do, is give you some tips on how to pack the perfect carry-on for your summer weekend getaway. 

1) Guys don't plan outfits.

My outfits tend to fluctuate with my mood, so it's always hard to plan ahead. To get around this, or any other quirk you might be suffering from, pick a color palate and stick with it. Monochromatic tones such as black, gray, white, and even navy, are easy to mix and match. In warmer climates, a quality t-shirt can be worn casually with shorts and look classy with a slim denim pant and loafers. Pack 3 bottoms and 6-9 tops, including a polo and a white button-down, so you'll have a world of possibilities when you can't decide. 

2) Simplify your doppkit.

Toiletries may just be your biggest barrier to going carry-on only. For instance, if you're accustomed to having a bottle of cologne around, consider picking up a sample cologne from a department store, which will give you 4-5 sprays and save a ton of room. Some things you might not need altogether. If you can go without shaving for a few days, shave once before your trip and leave the shaving supplies behind. Finally, look for products with TSA-friendly packaging and those that combine functions, like this two in one moisturizer and eye cream

3) Which shoes?

Now that you've graduated the all-you-can-drink, barefoot resort, and you're ready to do some real exploring, comfort and sophistication will require a balancing act. Shoes can be tough to pack, but easier in the warmer months. Essentially, you'll need two types of shoes depending on where you go. For a combination of beach and exploring, pack sandals or espadrilles, along with a pair of dress loafers to wear on the plane. If there's no beach, you'll want to bring two casual pairs, like the espadrilles and a pair of classic white sneakers to wear on the plane, along with one pair of dress loafers for the late night dinner. 

4) The luggage. 

This part is easy. Pick either a hard-shell carry-on for durability or a soft, canvas duffle for flexibility. The hard shell will protect and outlast, while the canvas duffle will stretch and mold to the space in the overhead compartment. Some things to avoid are nylon duffle bags, like your traditional gym bag, and cheap suitcases. If your suitcase was marked $59 and the sliding handle won't stay up, time to skip a few happy hours and invest in something better. Nylon duffle bags are just less sturdy around the seams and not meant to sustain weight. Not to mention how easy it would be for a thief to puncture.   

Click the image for my carry-on pick.


Click to view the TSA-approved skincare kit.