Travel Light BK Style!

Travel Light BK Style!

Now that our kids are almost 6 and 9 years old (and big enough to carry their own load of the luggage), we have shifted our travel style from a family suitcase to individual backpacks. This has helped us eliminate the need to check-in the luggage when we fly both domestically and internationally and also made us much more light-footed while on the road. We LOVED bypassing the baggage claim in Narita airport after a long flight and be in front of the immigration line when we arrive in Tokyo. Getting a small rental car was possible in Hawaii because our bags were minimum. We are also enjoying traveling on trains and the countryside of Japan where escalators and elevators are not common. 

When I have fewer things in the luggage, I am more in tune with what I have and tend to use everything I bring with us. For our kids, it has been great to watch them pack their own clothes. They know that they have enough but not more. 

These are my 8 "Travel Light BK Style" guidelines followed by actual items our family is carrying currently in Japan! 

"Travel Light BK Style" Guidelines 

  1. Coordinate all the clothes. Make sure you can mix & match everything you have. 
  2. Wear the heaviest and bulkiest clothes on your transit day. This means that I am usually wearing my balloon pants and running shoes and Frido is wearing his jeans during the transit.
  3. Select clothes that can be layered. On a cold day, I know I can layer all the clothes I carry to keep myself warm. 
  4. Choose a fabric that is lighter and easier to wash/dry.
  5. Wash as you travel.
  6. Start the packing process with the bag and work your way inside. Eliminate/edit the contents as you pack and assess the space inside of your bag. 
  7. Know that the most things we feel that we "need" can take a backseat during the travel. Or you can always find the most things while on the road.
  8. Focus on "JOY" of traveling light instead of being weighted down by the inconvenience. 
So here is the logistics of our bags.
Frido and I share two backpacks. Our large backpack carries our clothes and lighter but bulkier items and our small backpack carries heavier items like laptops, toiletry, notebook(s), etc. And I also carry Cotton Bag as my sidekick which is lightweight but can hold quite a bit to keep travel snacks, my TN, etc. Kids have their own backpacks and they carry all their clothes, an extra pair of shoes, headphones, their favorite stuffed animals..., pretty much everything that they need on the road. 
Large Backpack: TSL Backpacker
Here is a list of my clothes. Frido has his list but it's pretty similar. So you can imagine we have 2 sets of items below in the large backpack. 
  • 2 x pants 
  • 1 x legging (can be used for running or as a layer when it's cold)
  • 2 x T-shirts
  • 1 x long sleeve shirt
  • 1 x thin sweater
  • 1 x lightweight outer layer
  • 1 x running shoes (usually I wear this during the transit to minimize what is in the bag)
  • 1 x lightweight shoes (I am using TOMS sneaker right now because it's light and pack small. Frido decided not to carry an extra pair on this trip)
  • 3 x underwears and socks
  • analogue tools in TSL Engineer Pouch with Pockets (tape, glue, watercolor set, portable printer, and film)
  • a small set of emergency medication
Small Backpack: TSL 2-way Backpack
Side Bag: Cotton Bag
  • Snack for kids
  • Traveler's Notebook
  • Earbuds, eye mask, ear plug... (during flight, it comes handy)
Kids: Backpack
  • 3 x T-shirts/dresses
  • 1 x long sleeve
  • 1 x sweatshirt
  • 3 x underwear and socks
  • bathing suits
  • running shoes (they are also wearing them during the transit)
  • Water shoes (Keans)
  • 3 x leggings
  • 1 x shorts
  • notebook + pen
  • their favorite stuffed animal
  • headphones


1 comment

  • Eden Konishi: May 28, 2019
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    Great advice! I will certainly be putting a lot of these into practice. Thank you for sharing your insights and for the pictures of Japan!

    I miss Japan so much! I hope I get back there soon to visit family and friends.

    Enjoy your time there!

    Safe travels,

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