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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

We’re travelling in a world of over-weight luggage fees (on top of check-in luggage fees), no frills airlines and the coolest travel gadgets. The only way to avoid paying extra fees it seems, is to travel solely with a carry-on, but is it even possible? Not only is it possible, cost-conscious travellers are doing it! Could you?

After introducing how to avoid over-weight luggage fees with a Scottevest jacket, there’s really no limit as to where travel gear, gadgets and gizmos will take us. We know where we don’t want to go and that down the road of fees. From check-in luggage fees, priority boarding fees, over-weight luggage fees, credit-card payment fees to in-flight toilet fees… an un-savvy traveller can easily double the price of their flight by checking 1 piece of luggage on a no-frills airline (Ryanair, for example, charges £15 each way).

Being able to pack light is a skill that has become increasingly necessary in the age of “fees”. Frequent travellers have got it down pat but for the rest of us, these tips are urgently needed.

How to travel with carry-on luggage only

  • First things first, confirm your airline’s carry-on luggage limitations. Generally it is 56 x 45 x 25 cm but it can vary. Buy a sturdy yet lightweight bag that fits these limitations.
  • Take a look at your restricted items. Liquids must be carried in 100 ml bottles and kept in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag that is no larger than 1 litre. Pack what you need right away and everything else, buy abroad. Medicines can be carried accompanied with a doctor’s note.
  • Plan your packing list in advance and if you have to say “I’ll bring it just in case,” DON’T! In the twenty-first century you can buy practically everything everywhere so bring 1 reading book (you can always swap it with another traveller along the way) and 1 pair of shoes (or at least stuff your second pair full of socks/undies to save space). Wear your bulkiest coat on the plane. A travel towel is the smartest investment, one that dries quickly is even better.
  • As for clothing, think durable, layerable and transitional. Multi-purpose clothing is key. For example a fleece sweater doubles as a pillow and a sarong as a skirt, beach mat and scarf. Ladies go easy on the jewellery and men, try to find travel pants that don’t crease when rolled or bunched up.
  • When it comes time to pack, don’t fold but roll. Alternate stacking jackets, shirts, pants, t-shirts and roll. To keep things organised, pick up some mesh drawstring bags to keep certain items together without adding weight. There are plenty more packing techniques out there too, which may work better depending on the style of bag you travel with.

Could you or do you travel with carry-on only? How to you get everything in there and still have room for souvenirs? Share you tips!

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