The smartest one bag traveler: my interview with Lady Light Travel

Hi Frugalistas!

Regular readers know I love reading the posts of other one bag travellers.  My favourite one bag travel blogger is Cindy Heazlit from Lady Light Travel.  On her blog Cindy offers smart, sensible solutions for one bag travelling regardless of whether you are travelling for business or pleasure.  I’m so pleased that Cindy agreed to be interviewed and love welcoming her to frugalfirstclasstravel.

What are your favorite tips for travelling light and stylish?

Make sure you create a travel capsule wardrobe so all your pieces mix and match for multiple outfits. My most popular blog post ever is How to Plan a Capsule Wardrobe for Vacation. I stick to a classic look in neutrals and use accessories for variety.

Bring summer weight clothing and layer for warmth as needed. Summer weight clothing is compact, lighter, and dries more quickly when laundered.

Reduce the packaging to stay light.  Take everything out of the original container and put it in a smaller, lighter, travel sized container. Minimize packing cubes (they’re heavy) and get the lightest luggage you can find.

Decant, decant, decant – and bring solid toiletries as much as possible. You’d be surprised at how little you actually need for your trip if you stick to dry products.

Use statement necklaces, scarves, and jewelry to change up the look of an outfit.

Many women who read my packing posts struggle with shoes.  What is your strategy for choosing the minimum amount of shoes for maximum impact?

pointy toed neutral flatsI think two pairs of shoes are all that is needed, even if you bring a dress. I usually bring one pair of great walking shoes and one pair of dressier shoes that I can also walk in.  A capsule wardrobe automatically limits the colors of your shoes.

Keep hemlines basic in your capsule wardrobe. Knee length skirts and dresses are short enough to look good with flats but long enough to be culturally appropriate. Pants that hit at the very top of your foot will go with dress shoes or walking shoes. Keeping your hemlines in the right place ensures that you won’t need special shoes with varying heel heights.

Stay away from hiking boots. They are designed for carrying heavy loads through uneven terrain – something you won’t face on a normal trip. A low-cut waterproof shoe with a great tread performs the same function as a hiking boot and looks good on the street. In the winter I like to wear waterproof dress snow boots. These look great with dresses too.

My current dress shoes are pointy toed low-heel shoes in a skin tone. These visually extend the length of your leg just like heels. Sandals with thin straps also visually extend the length of your leg. Stay away from shoes with bright colors, thick straps, and heavy soles. These shoes almost always need heels to bring balance to the look. The only exception would be a cute ballet flat in a bright color that integrates into your capsule wardrobe.

Change up the look of neutral shoes by using shoe clips. They can add a little bit of bling to a neutral outfit.

What are your favorite choices for multitasking pieces that can be worn for different occasions or climates?

I usually bring temperature extender pieces like a fine gauge long underwear top and leggings/tights. These transform my summer weight clothing into something I can use in colder temperatures too – no need to carry extra clothing for colder temperatures!

A simple knit dress in a dark neutral can go from beach to dinner depending on how you accessorize it.

capsule wardrobe of white shirt and khaki pants

Cindy’s “mountain hiking” outfit

My capsule wardrobe usually contains my “mountain hiking outfit”. This consists of:

An ultra-light packable raincoat from a reputable mountaineering company. I’m currently using a Marmot Elan trench coat that is stylish and cute.

A white tailored ¾ sleeve shirt from Royal Robbins. It has a flattering princess cut and is made out of technical fabric. It also has roll-up sleeves in case of temperature changes. Great for the mountain or town!

A pair of slim fitting technical pants that roll up into capris. These are in a dark neutral so they’ll look great in town.

A merino cardigan in case the weather gets cold.   Again, this is in a neutral so it looks great in town too. Cardigans provide the greatest versatility for temperature as they may be worn open or closed.

After I’ve brought my hiking outfit and dress I add in an extra pair of pants and a few more tops. I have a wardrobe that handles just about any activity – expected or not.

What is the one thing I will find in your bag regardless of your destination?

My silk long underwear shirt! I get cold very easily. You’ll also find my packable rain jacket. Both items are needed when the weather gets bad.

What are the outfits or garments that make you cringe when you see them on other travelers?


Any outfit that will work against someone while they are traveling. That would be:

  • High heel shoes that prevent you from walking or will cripple you by the end of the day
  • A heavy coat that has to be lugged around Vs. a light packable rain coat that is layered with a sweater
  • Immodest clothing that prevents people from entering sacred sites or would insult the locals. Worse, it could invite the wearer for harassment.
  • Fragile or high maintenance fabrics that require special care.

What is your dream destination and your dream outfit to wear there?

 I’m currently planning my “Iron and Glass” adventure. I’d love to climb some of the Via Ferrata routes in the Dolomites of Italy (the iron portion of the trip). From there I’d head down to Venice and take some art glass classes. My mountain hiking outfit works for both portions of the trip. Add in a dress and I’m good to go! That’s the power of a well-planned capsule wardrobe – it works for a wide variety of activities


About Cindy:

picture of Cindy Heazlit of Lady Light Travel

Cindy Heazlit was forced into packing lightly when she participated in extended caving and mountaineering expeditions for the US National Park Service and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. The technical equipment meant that there was very little room left over for her personal gear! Her first one-bag trip was a solo journey through Greece and the Balkans, where she quickly learned about the burdens of a heavy bag in hot weather. Future one bag trips followed – relief trips to African refugee camps, history trips to Europe, and even a caving trip to Hawaii. She encourages women to embrace freedom by using a single carry-on bag in their travels.You can find Cindy at:




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10 Comments on “The smartest one bag traveler: my interview with Lady Light Travel”

  1. Lynne in NC 17/09/2014 at 5:26 am #

    What a wonderful post. The best of two blogs we follow in one! Lady Light Travel is my “go to” for hand carry travel, too. Her mantra of decant, decant, decant your toiletries has become the norm for us. Thank you for this posting.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 17/09/2014 at 6:17 am #

      Thanks Lynne, I’m so pleased to be able to interview Cindy, and share her expertise to my wider readership. It’s taken us ages to get this up, but I think the results are worth it!

  2. Cindy Heazlit 17/09/2014 at 8:30 am #

    Jo, thank you so much for the interview and also your patience. I love Frugal First Class Travel for its practical and no-nonsense advice.

  3. Catherine 18/09/2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I found you through Janelle McCulloch’s blog.. and love what I’ve read so far.
    I’m planning a trip to France next year and a frugal first class traveller is definitely what I am.
    I look forward to reading through all your posts.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 18/09/2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks so much Catherine. Janelle was very generous to feature frugalfirstclasstravel on her blog

  4. Anne @ Pretraveller 19/09/2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Jo, thanks for sharing your interview with Lady Light! It is great to be inspired with how I could reduce my travel wardrobe to stay very light weight and compact. now to just put it into practise!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 19/09/2014 at 7:04 pm #

      Thanks Anne. I was so pleased to collaborate with Cindy on this – her advice is sensible and just so easy to follow.

  5. Vanessa 20/09/2014 at 2:16 am #

    I want to hear more from Cindy! She sounds like she’s had quite the amazing travelling life.

    • Cindy Heazlit 20/09/2014 at 4:09 am #

      Thanks Vanessa. My work with the NPS and also relief work has taken me to non-standard destinations for sure. Volunteering is a great way to experience an area at a much deeper level.

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