Carry-on only: why I choose to travel with hand luggage



A tower of bags.

Everyone who has ever travelled with me knows that I normally travel light, in most situations, with only a carry-on bag. If I can swing it, I’ll travel with hand luggage only for a more quickly, anxiety-absolutely free expertise. Checking in a bag implies you can carry a lot more with you and you do not have to lug your bag about increasingly larger airports. On the other hand, my previous experiences with lost and/or broken bags outweigh these positive aspects. Moreover, I choose getting my bag with me in particular when connecting flights are involved – tight or missed connections could lead your bag to go astray. This distinct expertise prompted me to travel with hand luggage only:

Lost &amp broken

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will quickly commence our descent and anticipate to land in twenty minutes”, announced the Captain. “I’m afraid I have some excellent news and some not-so-excellent news. The excellent news is: as you could have noticed, we’re a lot more than an hour ahead of schedule. This is due to favourable winds and a lighter-than-anticipated aircraft. The not-so-excellent news is: due to a systems malfunction at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, most bags could not be loaded onto the aircraft. We created the choice to depart as it was clear that the malfunction would not be solved immediately and we didn’t want to danger a lengthy delay.” I sighed and looked about. There had been, unsurprisingly, a lot of annoyed faces.

Upon arrival in Cape Town, I went straight to the client service desk and filled in some types. I suspected that it was going to be a cumbersome method to get my bag back as I would be travelling about South Africa for nine days, not staying in one particular spot for a lot more than two days. More than the subsequent couple of days, I created do with toiletry kits supplied by the hotels and a couple of garments I purchased in the course of a speedy dash to a Woolworths retailer and a jumper I bought at the Apartheid Museum shop.


Cape Town

Correct sufficient, I ultimately received my bag six days later. When I located it in my hotel area, I was shocked to uncover it tightly-wrapped in plastic. I tore via the plastic and found the cause: the zippers and padlock had been missing so the bag could not be closed. Thank goodness I’d only packed garments, an additional pair of footwear and my toiletry bag. It was clear that the garments had been hurriedly thrown into the bag. A couple of pieces of clothes had been missing. I kicked myself (for the umpteenth time) for not travelling with hand-luggage only.

A selfie from that South Africa trip. I’m wearing a t-shirt from Woolworths and a jumper from the Apartheid Museum.

That expertise in South Africa created me determine not to travel with checked luggage anytime feasible. Not only did my bag arrive six days late, it was broken beyond repair and individual things had been missing. The airline I travelled with (KLM) kindly compensated me for all clothes and other things I bought in South Africa, as nicely as for the missing clothes AND a brand new bag.

How to travel with hand luggage only

These days, I travel with a carry-on bag only on all trips shorter than a week. If I’m going to a warm spot, I would even attempt to stretch it to two weeks as I wouldn’t require thick jackets or sweaters (which are heavier and take up a lot more space). Right here are a couple of guidelines for how to travel with only a carry-on bag:

  • Guarantee you have a bag that fits airlines’ cabin bag size restrictions. In most situations, this is 55cm x 20cm. I choose soft-shell (nylon) trolleys (hyperlink to as they have a tendency to be lighter. I steer clear of the spinner bags (with 4 wheels) as they in no way keep nevertheless on a sloping surface. Moreover, the protruding wheels make them a lot more susceptible to harm.
  • Make certain you have a carry-on bag that can be locked (either a mixture lock or a padlock). This guarantees that you can effortlessly verify your bag if you have to (for instance, if you are bringing a bottle of wine, olive oil or any other liquid souvenir house with you). In addition, thinking about the rise of in-flight theft, I suggest locking your bag, in particular if your have a laptop or other electronic gear packed in it. If you retailer your laptop in an outer compartment, make certain that compartment can be locked as well.
  • Weigh your bag ahead of you leave – assure it is not a lot more than 8kgs (most airlines’ weight limit). Possessing a lighter bag (mine is 2kgs) implies you can carry a lot more things. If you require to carry an additional pair of footwear or jacket, put on the heavier one particular and pack the lighter one particular. If you are travelling with a laptop (which adds weight), carry it separately if feasible (most airlines accept laptop situations/bags as a separate item in addition to your carry-on bag).
  • Guarantee you keep inside liquids restriction limits. The toiletry or plastic bag ought to be transparent, not a lot more than 1 liter in size and all liquids, pastes and gels ought to be in packaging no larger than 100ml. I normally have 4 common things in my toiletry bag: toothpaste, face wash, moisturiser and deodorant. If you have a lot more things that you cannot do without having, think about leaving out things which can be bought at your location, such as sunscreen, shampoo or toothpaste, to generate additional area.
  • Maximise the space in your bag. Put on your bulkiest clothes, roll your garments and pack them tightly (the specialist packers would argue that bundling garments saves even a lot more space), wrap your belt(s) about your rolled-up garments, pack your footwear in a ’69’ position (gosh, that sounds hmm… you know! Haha!), use a spectacles case to retailer modest things and insert the case into a shoe, and maintain your toiletry bag as flat as feasible (and preferably stored in an outer compartment of the bag).
  • Make the airport safety method as uncomplicated as feasible by packing your laptop and toiletry case in outer compartments of your bag. These have to be removed from the bag and placed in trays at the scanning machine.

Are you a hand luggage or checked luggage traveller, and why? Really feel absolutely free to share your packing guidelines in the comments section under.

Verify out my Travel Sources web page for a lot more travel guidelines and tips.


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