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I’m moving to Thailand. Oh, have I mentioned that already? I’m sorry – I’m just so excited!

The days are just flying by now, and my checklist of ‘Things to do before you leave your job and start travelling full-time’ is accumulating ticks left, right and centre. In fact, by the time this post is published, I’ll have just arrived in Chiang Mai, where we’ll be spending the first 3 weeks of our trip setting up our working arrangements. We decided to save money by taking just a carry-on bag each – more and more flights are charging money for check-in luggage, and we decided we could live without.

With the more important things like finding work, selling my car, and decluttering my life in progress, I’ve been able to focus on what I’m actually keeping while we travel.

The Situation

So here’s the deal. We get a carry-on bag each to fit all of our possessions in. We’ve also got one check-in bag for the both of us. I know, this post should read

How to Travel with Just a Carry-on Bag + half the space in a suitcase


That’s way less catchy.


There’s actually a reason why I’m not counting the check-in bag! This bag will contain all of our climbing gear; rope, harnesses, quickdraws, climbing shoes etc.

So although we will have a check-in bag, it’s not going to be full of personal possessions. Besides, although some of you reading might be climbers, I’m guessing the majority of you aren’t hoping to travel the world with a bag of gear in tow.

I want to show that fitting everything you need for your average travel-the-world route in one carry on bag is possible.

The bag

My travel bag is an Under Armour Storm Hustle II:

The Under Armour Storm Hustle II holds 31 litres and has 4 separate zipped compartments allowing for easy access and packing. It’s perfect as a day bag and although it’s a bit of a squeeze fitting all my clothes, laptop and chargers, and miscellaneous items it, it does the job pretty damn well!

I got it for Christmas and I love it. I currently use it as a gym bag, which I think is it’s intended purpose, and the compartments are so handy. It even has a separate zipped pocket which I think you can use for shoes, but I put all my tupperware and snacks in for the day to keep my other things coming into contact with my food!

Note since setting off: This bag does not leave me with much room. I probably have to much stuff, but once my laptop, chargers etc are all in, it is a tight squeeze. This is minimal leaving to the max…

The Checklist

This is the checklist I made before we set off. I’ll update it as I inevitably shed clothes.

(remember, Southeast Asia is hot – we won’t be needing bulky clothing for colder weather climates which would take up far more room)

One pair of shoes (Vans)
One pair of trainers
One pair of flipflops
10pairs of underwear
3 bras (probably sports bras/comfy sporty bras)
7 pairs of socks
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of capri trousers
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of workout capris
6 t-shirts/vests
2 dress 
1 jumper
1 rainjacket
1 bikini
First Aid kit

This feels like a lot. It looks like a lot. Once I’ve packed everything up, I’ll see how much – if any room I’ve got an adjust from there. It’s a learning curve, right?

Note after setting off: It is a lot! The toiletries and first aid kit thankfully fit in our check-in bag. I probably stuffed more tops than I said I would in my bag. I like clothes, shrug.