In March, I will get a real experience in traveling light. I will be going to France for a few days to visit a relative and since I am traveling alone, it is imperative that I take as little as possible. It is very hard for someone who weighs under 110 pounds to be loaded with multiple bags to try to carry on a plane, through the Atlanta and Charles de Gaulle airports, and on the RER and metro system in Paris. Therefore I pledge to take one 18-inch carry-on and 1 large healthy back bag for my three nights in Paris.
Fortunately, there are clothes made for travelers that do not wrinkle and can be washed and hung to dry overnight without problems. Unfortunately, these clothes are a little heavier than twill pants but fortunately not as heavy as jeans. I have pants in several colors since I also wear them for dress occasions and they are comfortably large, since they don't come in a size smaller than Chico's Size 0 (regular size 4-6). I hope I can squeeze an extra pair of shoes in my luggage as well as makeup, toiletries, sleeping attire, underwear, etc.
Fortunately I have been to Paris before and know where I am going. Last time I went alone I had no problems with a backpack and a 21-inch carry-on going over there but when I went to board the plane to return to the U.S., the official told me I would have to check one of them because the backpack was too large and too full to be considered a personal item. I had several things in the backpack that I definitely did not want to leave at the mercy of U.S. Airways (we had had problems before with checked luggage coming through Charles de Gaulle) so I ended up going to the restroom and completely repacking. Fortunately I had a small healthy back bag in my luggage that I had used as a daypack so I was able to get everything in that and the backpack and check the 21-inch. When I got to Philadelphia, I was able to get it to take as a carry-on on the plane back to Alabama since it would have to go underneath the communter plane anyway. I was very appreciative of this since I wanted to change clothes before leaving Philadelphia. I don't think there will be a problem with an 18-inch (I hope)
My husband and I are also going to try to travel light on our next cruise. He now has a travelers sport coat that he can use for the formal nights (of course I will use my traveler's clothes as well) which will eliminate a garment bag (it was amazing how his garment bag and best sport coat was torn going through Charles de Gaulle in 2003). We will try to take only what is needed and not what we think we need. I will let you know if we succeed.