A Great traveler's resource: onebag.com

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
May 28, 2008 / 0 comments

A few weeks ago, my mom was listening to public radio, and heard an interview with Doug Dyment, Creator  of www.onebag.com - a wonderful site about how to PACK LESS - the art and science of traveling light.

As global travelers, I thought that our members could learn from Doug, and apply this information to our  own journeys. I had a chance to interview Doug - here's what he had to say:

WE: Tell us a little bit about onebag.com...Where did you come up with the idea to share your knowledge?

DD: Back in the days before the World Wide Web, there were Internet newsgroups, which at that time were the popular method for people of like interests to share information. Two frequent questions in the travel newsgroups that I frequented were (1) What should I pack for my trip? and (2) What kind of bag is the best for travel?

As I have always travelled a great deal, both for business and pleasure, and because I bring the sensibilities of a scientist and engineer to everything I do, I have strong opinions about these topics, and was a frequent responder to such questions, to the point where I had put together a couple of e-mail documents that gave more detail than possible with individual responses.

In the mid-90s, when Web sites were coming into vogue, I decided that I needed to learn how to build them, and the topic of "travelling light" seemed an obvious choice of subject. The site quickly became very popular, and I have been maintaining (and expanding) it ever since!


WE: How can people truly learn to pack less? Practice?

DD: It's a combination of things. There is a fundamental notion, which is that of using a personal packing list; this more than anything makes it possible to travel light. Then there are dozens of techniques and tricks that will help one move closer to the goal; with those, practice is important, in order that the ideas become second nature. Most important, though, is coming to the understanding that travelling light is a much more pleasant way to travel. Some people never figure this out, but those who do can get remarkably skilled at accomplishing same!


WE:  How often do you travel?

DD: It varies a lot, but typically several times a month.


WE: Do you ever check luggage, or is it all carryon?

DD: I never check my own luggage on regular flights. On small regional planes, it's sometimes necessary, though I still keep essential items with me (and the problems of checked baggage in such situations are greatly reduced in most cases). On very rare occasions, I need to transport business equipment that must be checked, but this is someone else's stuff!


WE:  What about cameras, computers, kid gear?

DD: I carry camera and laptop as necessary, in my single carryon bag. Kids should carry their own gear (which is really just clothing, as Mom & Dad will be carrying the community needs anyway, so can be managed with a small daypack). Really small children, who need diapers, toys, etc., don't fall under the umbrella of travelling light!


WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

DD: Travelling light is not about figuring out how to carry more in a smaller bag, or sneaking more stuff on to the airplane; it's about learning how few belongings you really need to bring along on your travels (which is quite revelatory to those who first try it). Most people can travel for an indefinite period of time with the contents of a small, carryon-sized bag ... and the benefits of doing do are tremendous.



WE: Thanks, Doug! It is inspiring to think of carrying less, and learning these skills can only enhance our  traveling experience.  I've read through your website several times, just absorbing all the information in preparation for our next trip. Thank you!!

For more information, please see: