Articles by Jessie Beck

Originally from the Washington DC area, Jessie Beck is currently kicking back in the bay area as Go Overseas' Editor-in-chief after a stint as an education volunteer in the Peace Corps, Madagascar (2011-2013). While not writing or traveling, she can be found rock climbing, biking, or eating her way around the bay.

You can follow Jessie on Twitter or Google+.

Ah, the age old debate of flat packing vs. rolling clothes for travel; a mainstay conversation topic of hostel bars around the world. While some travelers swear that rolling your clothes is the best possible method, others shrug and say it doesn’t really matter.

Online, I sometimes wonder if we’re making this claim blindly — following the advice of others without having stopped to compare the two methods. So, curious to know the truth, I set out to run a test and find out: which really is better? Flat packing or rolling your clothes for travel?

Click to continue…

Even though I’m already a light packer, the capsule wardrobe trend recently inspired to pack even less (clothing). Usually, I’ll travel with about four outfits that I can mix and match with each other but this past winter, I cut that in half. In essence, I wanted to create a minimalist travel clothing capsule that I could tweak slightly depending on the destination (add in a swimsuit, take out a sweater, for beach vacations — vice versa for cold climate trips).

Minimalist Travel Clothing Challenge

I traveled to 6 cities for 25 days with only 2 outfits.

For 25 days this past winter, I put this test to the test and traveled to 6 different cities throughout the U.S. — Seattle, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Portland (Maine), and L.A. — with only 2 outfits. That’s a total of:

  • 9 articles of clothing (not including undergarments)
  • 6 accessories
  • 2 pairs of shoes

Best yet, I built it from my existing wardrobe and it took up about half a duffle bag. At the end of my travels, I never felt like I’d been unprepared for weather or the types of activities I wanted to do. Below is what my minimalist travel clothing capsule looked like, and how it functioned in action: Click to continue…

Last fall, United Airlines announced a new, ultra budget, barebones fare. Included in the many add-on fees, was one that would charge passengers $25 for stowing their bags in the overhead compartments. While many travelers were outraged at the idea, I took it as a challenge.

“I challenge you to pack everything you need for any trip in a bag small enough to fit under your seat.”
Challenge accepted.

In the past, I’ve managed to pack for an entire weekend trip using just a daybag. Why not pack for longer trips in a slightly larger (but still small enough to fit under your seat) duffle bag? To test it out, I packed the Outbreaker duffle for three different trips of varying lengths and across different climates — with great results.

Are you interested in learning how to pack a duffle as your only piece of luggage? Read on for tips, photos, and sample packing lists to help you rebel against United’s new fee and pack lightly enough to avoid it. Click to continue…