38 days, 7 countries, 1 duffel

Traveling Around the World in A Duffel Bag by Natalie Parker (1)

38 days, 7 countries, 1 duffel bag each.  This is the lightest bag I ever packed.  Back when we went to China in 2012, we took one large suitcase, 2 carry-on size rolling suitcases, plus a backpack and a purse.  What were we thinking?

On this trip, we were severely restricted on the weight of the luggage because of our safari flights.  We were only allowed 44lbs total per person (including carry-ons) and our luggage could have no hard sides or frames.  How’s that for a challenge?  It’d be one thing if we were in safari/backpacking clothes for all 38 days, but we weren’t.  We needed to dress for our safari and be able to have a night on the town in Singapore.

How did we do?  Amazingly.  I wore every single thing in the suitcase and never really felt that I was under dressed for anything (except when Emirates decided they’d rather not deliver our luggage to the Maldives in a timely manner, a story for later).  It helped that we didn’t go anywhere that is super cold this time of the year.

Traveling Around the World in A Duffel Bag by Natalie Parker (2)

Dragging these duffels through 20+ airports, I thought the chance for divorce was quite high.  It turned out to be a piece of cake.  We used luggage carts whenever we could (mostly to put our carry-ons down and give our shoulders a break) and the bag wasn’t too heavy to carry on my shoulder.

We used the High Sierra 30-inch Wheel-N-Go Duffel.  It was inexpensive and a fantastic purchase.  None of the straps broke even though we checked it onto 29 flights.  There are wheels so it can be dragged easily, but not as easily as a regular rolling suitcase because there is no frame.  But, because there’s no frame, it can be rolled up and stored.

I still prefer a regular rolling suitcase, but this bag was seriously the next best thing.

Technically, it was these two duffels, plus a backpack for Mr. P, a purse for me, plus my Longchamp bag to carry the cameras and chargers.  I didn’t need the space in the Longchamp bag, but I didn’t want to pack any electronic, even a charger, in our checked duffels.  That would come to pay off (another story for later).  Toward the end of the trip, I filled the Longchamp bag with fragile souvenirs and Mr. P carried a very small additional bag with souvenirs and a change of clothes.

2 thoughts on “38 days, 7 countries, 1 duffel

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