Many people balk at the idea of travelling with just hand luggage. Paring down your packing and travelling light might seem like a sacrifice, but it can make your trip far more pleasant. Travelling light and just taking cabin baggage has a number of benefits. Not only can it save you money on baggage check-in fees, but your bag is less likely to get lost or stolen as it will be with you the whole time. In addition, when you arrive at your destination, you can skip the baggage reclaim crowd and head straight for the nearest exit.
Before You Go
Check your airline’s restrictions on cabin baggage. Most airlines offer a generous allowance in size and weight, but you need to make sure that you’re within that allowance otherwise you could find yourself having to check your bag after all.
Skip scissors or any other sharp objects. Most everyday items, including common toiletries will be available at your destination. Buying these things abroad will save valuable space and weight in your luggage.
Swap liquid cosmetics for solid counterparts, where possible. Soap, shampoo, and deodorant are all available in solid form from shops like Lush. Using solid toiletries will help you stay within your liquid allowance.
Remember that any liquids you carry must not be more than 100ml each and must all fit into a clear 1 litre plastic bag. Items like toothpaste, deodorant, and cosmetics like mascara and lipstick all count as liquids so be aware of this when packing.
Ask for a doctor’s note to cover any liquid medication you need to take on board. It’s also worth contacting your airline before flying to confirm that you will be taking necessary medications on board.
Choose three, and only three, outfits. However long your trip lasts, you won’t need more than this. Sinks and washing machines are the light traveler’s best friend.
Be ruthless. As a general rule, I’ve found that I usually need about 25% less clothing than I take on a trip.
Take clothes that work with multiple outfits. That skirt that only matches one top won’t be a practical addition, whereas a pair of denim shorts that you can wear with pretty much anything will serve you well.
Wear bulky clothing on the plane and save lighter clothing for your case. Boots, walking shoes, jeans, and winter jackets all take up space in hand luggage, so wear them on the plane to reduce the weight of your bag.
Making a few simple adjustments to how and what you pack will save you a lot of space. Here are some suggestions that will help you cut down your load even further:
Get a Kindle or other e-reader. Gone are the days where we need to check a separate suitcase just for our holiday reading. Kindles are small, light, and give you the chance to carry around your own personal library.
Book swap. If you’re determined not to go digital just yet, take one paperback book with you to read on the plane, then swap it for another paperback at your destination.
Check whether your accommodation provides toiletries like soap and shampoo. If so, you don’t need to take them yourself.
Swap a beach towel for a microfiber towel. Microfiber towels do everything beach towels do, but weigh less, take up less space, and dry faster too.
Use your pockets, especially if you’re taking a jacket or wearing cargo pants. Your hand luggage might have a weight allowance, but you don’t…
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. This helps reduce the amount of wasted space inside your suitcase, and is less likely to crease your clothes than folding.
Use any shoes you’re packing as storage containers. The inside of a shoe is wasted space so stuff them with underwear or miscellaneous objects for more efficient packing.
To Leave at Home
Sharp objects. Nail scissors, pen knives, tools, crafting equipment and other sharp objects are not hand luggage friendly.
Liquid-based gifts – Remember that you can’t take more than 100ml of liquid in a single container. Save buying gifts such as spirits or perfume for the duty free section, and make sure you can fit it in your case before purchasing.
What are your tips for travelling with just hand luggage? Leave a comment and let us know!