How to travel with hand luggage only

It’s the dream of every traveller to be able to pack and travel light.

Less baggage means less to carry around, less to worry about and certainly less chance of arriving at your destination without it.

Let’s face it, how many items of hold luggage go astray every year? Sometimes, baggage is merely delayed for a few hours or days, however, a lot ends up lost, never to be seen again.

Not only is there the risk of loosing checked-in luggage, there’s also the charge imposed for the privilege of carrying it, and the costly penalties if your luggage is overweight. What we initially believe to be a ‘cheap’ flight can sometimes double in price when you add the cost of checking in hold luggage.

The inconvenience of having to transport your luggage to the airport, having to wait an eternity for your luggage to appear on the luggage carousel and then having to transport it to your accommodation can make you wish you had never bothered and just listened to the advice of some seasoned travellers, that of ‘travel right, travel light!’

Personally, I prefer to travel light – it’s such a wonderful feeling being able to just glide past the luggage carousel while your fellow passengers are scrambling for the trolleys, hoping that their luggage won’t be the last unloaded.

Travelling light is an art, one that requires forward planning, the desire to not pack the kitchen sink and faith that you will have sufficient clothes to last the trip.

When travelling without luggage you don’t have to struggling onto public transport as your bag is light enough to carry and small enough to place under your feet or on your lap. Travellling becomes cheaper, you can rely on public transport, or you can hire a smaller car – how many times have you faced booking an upgrade because your luggage didn’t fit in the trunk?

Nothing screams tourist more than large suitcases.

How to travel with hand luggage only

Always check your airline’s website for details of your hand-luggage allowance – size and weight of bag and restricted items. It goes without saying that knives and sharp objects are banned from hand-luggage, but be aware of the liquids in hand-luggage rules and monitor restrictions in the lead up to your travel. Restrictions can and do change quickly, so always check.

Packing tips:

  • Pack with colours in mind – a colour-coordinated wardrobe allows flexibility
  • Pack lightweight clothing that can be washed and dried overnight in your room.
  • Don’t overdo footwear, a pair of lightweight shoes/pumps to travel in and a pair for evening/beachwear may be all that’s necessary
  • Don’t overestimate how many clothes you will need, so many of us pack an item because the occasion may arise when we will be required to wear it – and how often does that need arise? Exactly, just don’t bother, leave it at home
  • If you’re uncertain what clothing to pack, check out the weather for your destination. If it’s likely to be cool in the evening, one sweater or cardigan will do – there’s no need to pack more
  • Restrict clothing to lightweight items, forget jeans, they are too thick for warm weather, too heavy, take too long to dry, and take up far too much room in your bag.

When buying a travel bag specifically for cabin baggage, don’t forget your weight and size allowance and remember, external wheels count as part of the dimensions.

To be ultra sure about everything fitting in your bag, particularly if this is your first attempt at travelling light, pack your bag about a week before, weigh it and make sure you can carry it around comfortably. If all your items don’t fit, or your bag is too heavy, unpack it and reassess your items, removing anything you’re uncertain about.

Liberate yourself from the luggage nightmare, pack light and be the envy of the crowds at the luggage carousel.