Fast Company

Holiday Hack: How and Why You Should Pack a Single Bag

airport

This holiday season Virgin America has announced a plan to reward travelers who save the stuffing for their turkeys rather than their carry-on bags. But you'll need a few extra skills to get where you're going without breaking your budget or ditching your wardrobe.

Travelers can hardly be blamed for loading up the overhead compartments. Boarding an airplane is always a cattle call during the holiday season. Since airlines began charging for bag-check it's become more of a stampede. Baggage fees for the industry topped $670 million in the second quarter of 2009, and people are now doing all they can to avoid them. In fact, plane aisles have become so packed before takeoff that Virgin America recently began letting those without any carry-ons board first.

Enter the conundrum: Check an extra suitcase, and you'll pay for it. Stuff it all in a carry-on and you'll wait forever to board, get to your destination later, spontaneously combust, etc. The answer? The One-Bag Movement--a corps of uniquely efficient pack-rats pushing us all to "travel and even live indefinitely out of one [lightweight] bag." Coupled with Virgin's new offer, it could seriously reduce the weight of holiday travel stress.

While "bundle" packing might sound a bit hobo, it's actually quite a space saver. Check out this One-Bag diagram:

one-bag

The pictures should give you the gist of it, but get a step-by-step guide at Onebagger.Squarespace.

Other helpful tips: Swap out that electric razor for a less bulky manual one. Give away books when you are done reading them, or at least use online networking sites like this one to exchange them with other One-Baggers who have left novels adrift in various towns. Most importantly, remember that you are ditching all non-essentials--including the pressure to always bring home those cheesy souvenirs.

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