How to Pack More Efficiently

…or why I force myself to only bring carry-on baggage.

I try to never check bags. There are many reasons for this: I don’t have to wait for my bags upon arrival; I know that my bag will arrive with me to my destination; I increase the likelihood that I can get bumped (good for some people! not for everyone, though); etc. But one hidden benefit is that it makes me pack more efficiently.

By forcing myself to bring less baggage, I make packing a constrained optimization problem, and therefore, I have to be more efficient. I limit my choices, which makes them easier to make, and I know I can’t bring everything that I might want, so I have to leave things behind.

But then I realize that I managed fine without the things I had to leave behind, so I feel the need to pack even less for the next trip, until I’m now at the point where my carry-on is usually half empty (which leaves plenty of space for souvenirs). And I know that besides travel documents, identification, and a way to get money, I’m probably fine if I forget something (true story: one time, I forgot to pack underwear for a week-long trip), which makes packing less stressful in general.

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