Posted on March 21, 2016 by Janet Steinberg
A Letter from Janet: One Carry-On...Really!


Dear Fellow Travelers, 


Once in a while I come upon an unusual item that I feel compelled to share with you.  This particular item is not only practical, but for me it was inspirational.  It inspired me to do what I had been threatening to do for years. 

However, this time was different.  This time I was really going to do it! 

I was going to practice what I had preached for so many years.  Finally, I was going to prove to myself that I could really travel for a week, with only one carry-on bag, and still look chic and different every night. 

Now mind you, this is no easy task.  However, the hardest part is not managing with limited possessions once you reach your destination.  The most difficult challenge is before you ever leave home…deciding what to pack that will fit in one carry-on. 

My first step was to select the carry-on I wanted to use.  My choice was a dark grey e/c/b/c Falcon 22-inch Rolling Duffle. I decided on a grey colored bag not only because grey is distinguishable from all the other black bags in airports, hotel lobbies, and cruise ships, but because, unlike other colors, it doesn’t show average soil.


 Rolling Duffle Carry-On

Outwardly, the Falcon has the flexibility of a duffle bag, but the inside is structured like a traditional piece of luggage…with one great exception.  The piece de resistance of this unique bag, made of nearly indestructible HD Ballistic Nylon, is a TSA checkpoint-friendly FastPass System that allows you to unzip the Falcon's specialized well-padded electronics compartment, lay the wheeled duffle bag flat on the security conveyer and go through the TSA checkpoint without unpacking your laptop, tablet and cables.  

My wheeled duffle came equipped with an e/c/b/c Portable Power Pack, allowing a quick charge for electronic devices.  Devices can even be recharged right in the carry-on.  And, as an added attraction, there is a SnapBack ID Tag that pulls out of a protective pocket.  When you let go, it makes a fast return into an ID pocket. So clever!



 Carry-On with padded pockets

Now that I had selected the carry-on for my week’s trip, the fun began.  From the onset, I want you to know that downsizing to one carry-on was no easy task for me.  I am a person who began my travel career wandering the world with two large suitcases plus one carry-on.  Now I was faced with my self-imposed challenge of packing one 22-inch bag that would carry me through a one-week trip, and still let me look fashionably chic and different every single night.  

The question was: Where does one start?  The answer was easy: Start with the basics.  And what could be more basic than basic black?  I knew that my week’s wardrobe would have to revolve around my favorite color…black. The closet search was on for whatever black clothing I owned that was washable and wouldn’t wrinkle.  Possibilities were tossed onto my bed and then the process of elimination began.  

The winners, that would serve as the foundation of my week’s wardrobe, were as follows: a long skirt and top duo; pleated jacket and pant suit; a pair of black slacks; and a mid-calf reversible skirt with black on one side and electric blue, red, and black on the other.  Note: I would also travel in black jeans, top, and cardigan sweater, jacket, or coat (depending on weather) because they are the bulkiest items and would hog too much of my carry-on’s limited space.



Next came the task of choosing the tops and accessories that would change my look every evening.  Same rules applied: the clothing must be wrinkle-proof and washable. Colorful tops, scarves (for warmth as well as style), and interesting costume jewelry would do the trick.  And, of course, I also had to include a couple of cotton tees and tops to wear with the black jeans during the day.



Purses, Purses, Purses. Purses with a P!  Purses by Prada  (black of course) have been a mainstay of my travel wardrobe for many years. The large size with a zillion pockets and zipper compartments is the workhorse of the travel trio. It gets me to my destination, loaded with all the paraphernalia one needs when traveling.  Then it resides in my room for the rest of the trip. The medium size bag, with contents pared down to a minimum, is carried on day tours, and the small size (big enough for a room key, money, cosmetics, and camera is small enough to double as an evening bag.  And the icing on the cake…they are all hand washable.



Shoes were a no-brainer.  I planned to wear the heaviest pair of comfortable walking shoes and take several other pairs for comfort, as well as for style.  For me that meant one pair of sandals, a pair of heels, and a pair of Toms for those times when everything ached.  All lightweight, all easily packable.  And the color…you guessed it.  



What was once (in the days when I traveled with 3 suitcases) a luxurious black satin lingerie bag, served not only as a lingerie bag, but also as a pouch for makeup and toiletries.  The zippered compartments separated undies, face make-up, eye make-up, and miscellaneous items like toothbrush, comb, deodorant, hairbrush and contact lens supplies.


 Lingerie Bag

Weeks before the trip, after making all my selections, I did a ‘dry run’ to see if all of the above would really make it into the carry-on.  Here is what my packed rolling duffle looked like before closing it up. 


 Fully-packed Carry-On

Everything in all of the above photos fit into this 22-inch carry-on.  I had no trouble closing it, and there was still enough space to bring home a purchase or two for if I unzipped the expansion zippers 

I can’t believe I finally did it.  You can do it too!  

Bon Voyage!


P.S. For those of you, like my husband, who insist you can’t fit everything you need into one carry-on, there is a matching 26-inch Falcon Rolling Duffle for checking through at airports.  It looks like my 22-inch carry-on and has all the same features…with one exception. It doesn’t have the Checkpoint-friendly FastPass System and Portable Power Pack. The reason e/c/b/c eliminated that feature in the larger bag is because you should not pack your electronic devices in your checked baggage if you ever want to see them again.

Recent Posts