While I have been fortunate enough to have never lost a suitcase, there are enough horror stories out there to make you want to just travel with a carry-on.
If you’re thinking the same thing due to the recent news of luggage loss and delays, you aren’t alone.
Plus, I’m too impatient to be inconvenienced by waiting for luggage after a flight. 😂
I always try to find the best flight deal possible which often includes a base fare with no included cargo luggage, so a few years ago I took to traveling with a carry-on, whether it’s 2 weeks in Europe or 5 days in Mexico – I make it happen – with a weight limit of 21 lbs.
I’m convinced that a travelling with a carry-on is the only way to go.
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We often see people struggling with suitcases in places I wouldn’t want to be hauling 40+ lbs, like up the steep stairwells of Positano or the cobblestone streets in medieval England.
If I can do it, so can you! Here are my best carry-on travel tips!
If you absolutely have to check a suitcase, consider purchasing a tracking device for your suitcase, like the Apple AirTag or Samsung SmartTag. These Bluetooth devices will help track any lost or misplaced luggage.
Pick your items thoughtfully
Save on your baggage fees by REALLY taking a look at what you want to pack. I mean really look.
How many times have you gone away and not worn a few items of clothing? I say it every time that I over pack. Even on short trips!
Checked baggage can range from $25 – $60 a piece, not including anything that is overweight or multiple bags!
Save time at the airport
Wondering how you can save time at the airport? How many times have you waited for what seems like an eternity waiting for your bags? Or watching the conveyor belt anxiously hoping yours actually made it?
Avoid the long check-in lines at the airport and breeze through to security once you’ve obtained your boarding pass – even better if you check-in online and printed or downloaded your pass on your phone!
By just taking your carry-on you can breeze past the baggage claim and start your trip!
Ease of Travel
Navigating busy city streets can be challenging at the best of times, so why complicate things by adding a big suitcase in the mix? We love our backpacks or light suitcases that can easily be picked up and put overhead into planes or trains and into the trunks of cars.
My latest favourite travel bag is the Osprey Fairview 20 – it’s carry-on size approved, converts to a backpack and comes with a carrying strap in case you don’t want to wear it. You can fit A LOT into it – making it my number one carry-on travel bag!
It also comes in mens – the Farpoint 20.
Remember – the best carry-on luggage is one you can comfortably carry OR wear and keeps your items neatly organized, so keep that in mind while packing or choosing one to buy.
Top Carry-On Travel Tips
- Know your airline’s luggage policy. Find out if they allow personal items (and what qualifies as one), weight limits, item restrictions, and more.
- Invest in a luggage scale. I find digital luggage scales work best.
- Wear your heavy, bulky items on the plane. Have a heavy sweater or jacket? Wear it onboard and throw it in the overhead compartment or use it as a blanket!
- If you plan on bringing back a lot of souvenirs (or if you go to Italy you will want to buy ALL the linen and ceramics!!) another idea is to pack a foldable duffle bag to use as your carry-on coming home, and check your carry-on suitcase with heavier items.
- Start with the basics. You know you’re going to need some essential items like your passport, any medications, toothbrush, hairbrush, underwear, etc. Once you have an idea of some critical items you will have a better idea of how much space is left.
- Pack items that you wear regularly and are comfortable in – don’t wear that new pair of shoes that aren’t broken in if you know you’re going to be walking around all day, or maybe that new shirt that wrinkles uncontrollably.
- Pack outfits, not pieces. Think of how your clothing items pair together and mix and match a few pieces to a few different outfits. Nothing’s worse than opening your suitcase to find clothes that don’t pair well together.
- Find out in advance if your hotel/Airbnb has laundry – because that will make a huge difference! We also did some laundry in the sink at our hotel in Rome using some Tide sink travel packs – and don’t forget the Tide sticks! Looking to do your own laundry along the way? Here’s how to hand wash your clothes in a sink.
- By far the best travel-purchase has been our packing cubes. You can get them from many sites, but I particularly like the Eagle Creek ones (the material holds up better, and there are various sizes and even a flat board for dress shirts, pants and dresses!). I’ve also bought inexpensive packing cubes which just as easily do the job! If you don’t already have them, GET THEM. They just make your life easier when it comes to packing and staying organized!
- Roll your items, don’t fold them. It minimizes wrinkles and actually takes up less space!
- Don’t bother bringing (most of) your own toiletries – that’s why you take advantage of the items provided by your hotel (you can easily see if your Airbnb provides these items too). Many people bring checked luggage because they don’t think they will be able to bring certain items on board. YES you can bring a shaving razor on the plane. YES you can bring an aerosol can (provided it’s less than 100 ml/100 gm/3.4 oz). For pertinent items, try to find mini versions, like small deodorants or toothpastes. See what else you can pack in your carry-on.
It may take you a few tries – and a lot of repacking (tetris anyone?), but I maintain it’s easier to travel this way, especially if you are moving from city to city in the country you’re visiting. Give it a shot – you won’t know until you try!
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