It’s the final leg of my trip around the world with AKRA and time to reflect on the highs and lows of travelling with a single pack. I’ve been converted to this type of travel for a long time; I founded an earlier incarnation of Arcido after deciding that wheelie bags weren’t for me. But this is the longest I’ve gone with just a single pack, and covering such long distances.
My route? London, Lisbon, Miami, Mexico, LA, Auckland, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, then back to London. A total of 16 flights, approximately 25,000 miles and countless hotels, airbnb’s, friends sofas… all stretched out over 4 months.
Obviously in this day and age the distances don’t really matter. I did most of my travel low-cost, long-haul airlines, with a smattering of buses, trains and boats along the way. Thanks for AirAsia and Norwegian, it's now possible to go long haul on the cheap. I also cashed in some Avios to stretch the budget further, paying just £30 for a flight from LA to Auckland. Having enough time to be flexible meant that I could always choose cheaper flights. And tying in my itinerary at the beginning also helped save costs.
The downside to travelling ultra-cheap? Having to pay extra for checked luggage. It’s a no-brainer if you’re taking a lot of flights and want to save cash. So that was the first major advantage of using Akra : no need to check in any luggage, no extra fees and because the bag was on my back, I didn’t get asked to weigh or measure my backpack once.
Packing Like A Pro
One great thing on the trip was using Packing Cubes : these ones fit right inside Akra and let me separate my stuff, as well as compressing it a bit. Just having pants separated from t-shirts makes unpacking easier. You literally just take out the cubes and put them in the drawer. I also like the fact that you can pack before loading the backpack, which somehow makes the process easier. So long as it fits into those cubes, it’s going to fit inside Akra.
There’s also space for shoes and other stuff on top, as you can see. Check out this blog post on How Much You Can Fit Inside Akra (video)
Round The World Has Its Challenges
Four months with just carry-on? I’m not gonna lie, it has its challenges.
Mainly being this one : I had to travel through a lot of different temperatures and climate zones. Packing for a multitude of weathers isn’t always easy. My main strategy was layers, wearing more of them in colder places and less in hot ones.
The other thing is the constant need to take out security items: laptop, liquids, shoes etc. Akra copes with this pretty well, having a pull tab to remove your laptop and a clear liquids bag that means I didn’t need to decant my liquids into a flimsy plastic bag at TSA/airport security.
Then there’s the inevitable schlepping from place to place. The reality of any travel is somewhat less glamorous than how you imagine it to be.
But really, once you get used to having less stuff it’s actually pretty liberating. Yeah I got bored with some of my t-shirts, but it’s nice not having to think too hard about what to wear.