One Bag Fits All

Peter and Me
Not the most flattering photo of me but my little green friend (Peter) is too cute not to include.

Hello again! After I posted my most recent Mexico travel piece, a reader asked me to share my carry-on packing secrets. This is a post I wrote the first time I packed super lightly and it includes a few handy tips. I hope you can use some of this information to lighten your load – both mentally and physically! Happy traveling!

Freedom From Luggage

For our last trip to Mexico, I packed one small carry-on bag. I felt so light and free. It was fantastic and here’s how I did it just in case, for your next week-long vacation, you want to enjoy that same feeling of freedom from luggage.

Do Your Research

First, I visited informative websites. These sites told me what is allowed in carry-on luggage and what is not, and how much of each allowed item each traveler can bring. I needed to pack my personal items in a one-litre, clear Ziploc bag and to pull that bag out of my luggage, and set it in a tray when going through airport security. This was very useful information because, when I packed my stuff on the afternoon of the flight, I knew to leave my Ziploc bag right on top so I wouldn’t be digging around for it in the line-up at security. I felt so prepared and the security officials didn’t bat an eye at what I’d packed.

Listen to me read this post:

The next thing I did was to purchase tiny bottles created for packing in carry-on luggage. Into these I poured body spray, sunscreen, aloe gel and mouthwash. These are other items I bought in the travel section of the drugstore: a 43-gram hairspray, a 14-gram deodorant, and 2 packages of 7 facial cleansing cloths. Of course, I also tucked in one of those sample tubes of toothpaste the dentist always sends home with me.

Here’s everything I packed for that first carry-on trip.

What did I bring for clothes? Glad you asked! I brought 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, one sundress, a swimsuit and a swimsuit cover-up which pulled double duty as a nightgown, a T-shirt, 2 tank tops, a foldable sunhat and a pair of sandals. I also brought a down-filled vest that can be rolled up and stuffed into its own small pouch. This kept me warm back and forth from the Calgary airport and on the flights to and from Mexico. I also found room for my water-resistant camera and my sunglasses.

To save space in my luggage, I wore on the plane about half of the clothes I’d wear in Mexico. For the flight, I had on my light Skecher walking shoes, pants (Airline officials frown upon pants-less passengers.), a tank top, a T-shirt, a white button-up shirt, and my down-filled vest. I was cozy but not uncomfortable.

Everything Fit!

Everything I needed for a week surprisingly and easily fit into one carry-on bag. By the end of the trip, I realized that I could’ve survived without my red T-shirt, too, except that it kept me warmer on the airplane. I didn’t even bring a purse, just my wallet and passport placed into one of the bag’s exterior pockets for easy retrieval.

Iguanas are not allowed in carry-on luggage.

I did have lots of time to plan what to pack for this adventure when at other times, I’ve been pretty rushed. But now that I’ve successfully done this once, I’d definitely just pack one carry-on bag again.

Thanks for being here with me again today. If you like what I write, please share it! And please stay connected. Follow me here on WordPress, write a comment, or just send me a friendly email. I’d love to hear from you! Have a really great day wherever you are.


~ Lori

Ya no puedo mas . . . If you haven’t heard this, click it! It’s too fun.

Packing Light, Eating Right, and Enjoying the Sights


Painting and Plants in the hotel
Our hotel was full of local paintings and lush plants.

A Garden Oasis in the City

We arrived home on Friday from a nine-day trip to the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. This charming little city is a favourite of mine. During this trip we stayed right downtown in the Romantic Zone, about two blocks from the Malecón, from the Los Muertos Pier, and from the beach.

Our hotel, Posada de Roger, was charming and inexpensive. The staff was helpful and friendly. This is an older hotel but is constantly being cleaned and maintained. The courtyard, pool area, and terrace are full of lush potted plants which turn this four-storey hotel into a garden oasis in the bustle of the city. One feature I really liked about this hotel is that guests had access to water dispensers throughout the building and we had a water jug in our room. This way, we could easily get all the drinking water we needed without the hotel having to supply big water bottles or us needing to purchase bottled water.

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One thing I became keenly aware of while I spent time in a very busy, densely-populated area is how very quiet my own rural Alberta surroundings are. As it turns out, I really like silence. Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful place for food (some of the best I’ve EVER had), Latin dance music, and colourful sights and sounds. It is not, however, best-suited to quiet contemplation. Still, I loved every moment spent in that vibrant stream teeming with life and filling my senses to overflowing.

Me on the terrace.

Pack less to destress

 Again on this trip, I brought only carry-on luggage. This is my third time now traveling without checking bags. No, I didn’t even bring one of those little suitcases on wheels. All I brought was the black bag I used to carry my teacher things in back and forth to work. Really, it’s like a big purse that I can sling over my shoulder as I stroll lightly and carefree out of the airport into the Mexico sunshine.

As I look around any airport, I notice that the amount of stress and anxiety folks seem to carry is directly proportionate to the amount of luggage they carry. Typically, the pillow carriers are the most stressed. And if they have more than one pillow stacked atop their bulging luggage cart, avoid even making eye contact. It’s for your own safety. The pressure inside those travelers and inside their suitcases could cause either of them to explode. You don’t want to get caught in that flurry of flying underwear or that storm of hurled expletives. Steer clear, if you can.

A symbol of our shared love of Costco as prepared by our maid.

Lost on the bus

Aw man, if I had a peso for every time I’ve got lost going somewhere on a Mexican bus, by now I’d have quite a few pesos. This trip, my husband wanted to explore the wonders of a Mexican Costco. The foundation of our relationship is not a shared fascination with Costco and if I weren’t wed to a Costco shopper, I would never enter the warehouses’ cleanly-sliding glass doors. It wouldn’t happen. Not ever.

Early in the morning, we got on the Costco bus and politely let the driver know where we were going. We bounced along happily in our bus seats, all pale and wearing our perky straw hats that screamed, “Canadian tourists!” As the bus continued down the road, we watched for the Costco.

The rocks and water at Mismaloya.

I spotted the huge building first. “Look! There it is!” It was a block or so off the main road that we traveled and the bus kept right on going. I confidently reassured my husband, “I think the bus will just swing around and drop us off on the other side, closer to Costco.”

We had traveled through one nearby town and entered another before it became abundantly clear that this bus was not going to swing around as I’d predicted. Then, suddenly, the driver seemed to remember us. He glanced in his wide rearview mirror and saw our now-drooping straw hats. As another bus approached in the opposite lane, our driver opened his window and waved down the other driver. The two bus drivers conferred.

I’m sure their exchange went something like this: “Hey, I’ve got another couple gringos here looking for the Costco. We blew past it about half-an-hour ago. Would you do me a favour and take them back to that stop?”

Me on the third floor.

He called to us and pointed, “Amigos! Get on that bus. It will take you!” And it did. The Mexican Costco was amazingly and somewhat eerily the same as any other Costco, but that didn’t matter. The warmth and kindness of the bus drivers left a better feeling in my heart than Costco ever could.

Thanks for spending some time with me today! If you like what I write, please share it with others. Post my work to your own social media pages or email a link to your friends and family. If you like me, don’t keep me a secret all to yourself.

I hope you have a really good Monday, and a productive and happy week ahead.


~ Lori