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Using Carry on Bag Only

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Yes, it can be done. There are some provisos and rules, but the advantages are wonderful:
1 convenience. Simpler check in, no carousal pick ups so that if you are short of time between flights, at least you will beat anyone else on the same in-bound flight.
2.first through customs at your Australian destination. I was first through Melbourne customs from a full Airasia flight – first to cabs etc. (Not such an advantage at many Asian airports where customs are less regimented)
3.avoid any checked bag fees on low cost carriers.
4.Delightful freedom when moving around your destination country – one bag to keep tabs on, one bag to carry on a mini bus or tuk tuk or the back of a motor scooter.

I managed easily on one check in sized bag for an 11 day trip from Canberra in Australia to northern Sumatra in Indonesia. The warm climate in Sumatra certainly made it easier, although I did need a light pullover for the cool Karo highlands.

Space in the bag is not really the problem, it is weight. Tiger and Airasia limit you to 7 kgs for your carry on. The smallest limit in dimensions was set by Virgin with 48cm long, 34 high, and 23 deep, so that the sum of the sides cannot exceed 105 cms. The bag I used 47 cm x 28 x 24 (= 99), and was not queried by Virgin, Tiger, or Airasia. I had room to spare, even coming home with a present.

Some planning and compromises are needed to get within 7 kgs, though. Both Tiger and Airasia are prone to weigh your carry on.
Firstly, only two pair of shoes/sandals. The rule is wear one pair, pack the other. If this isn't do-able for you, no point in reading on.
My bag weighs about 0.9 kg. I am considering going to a light nylon bag which has virtually no weight. (Can be purchased from the travel sections of Big W in Australia.). I haven't gone to this type as it would be less robust, and would really need a cardboard floor to give it some sort of shape, which would add a bit to the weight. I still might go that way, however. Beware the Kathmandu equivalent – a nice bag, but exceeds the dimension rules.

The 100 ml limit for fluids actually helps. Better still if you use 50 ml containers for shampoo, sun cream, mouthwash and the like.

If you get close to the 7 kg limit, transfer some stuff to your pockets. I did this for my camera at each check in, and wore my rain jacket, as it has big pockets..

I packed:
small wets bag, using mostly 50-60 ml containers (ones that don't leak, unlike my hair cream choice)
one pair hiking shorts
one swimming costume
one pair of (light weight) pants
five pairs of underpants
two singlets
three pairs socks
one pair surf/hiking sandals
one pajama bottom
one heavy tee (for day wear, and sleeping in cool climes)
one lightweight nylon rain jacket – also used a cool weather coat over my pullover (I came out of a Canberra winter)
two short sleeve collared shirts – wash and wear type
one novel (changed over in Sumatra at an exchange)
some Indonesian language notes, but not my full Indonesain dictionary, as it it too heavy. I bought a new English/Indonesian dictionary on the streets of Berastagi for 30 cents.
A hand towel
Total weight: 5.8 kgs.

I wore on the plane:
slacks good enough for four star hotel bars
long sleeve shirt
light wool pullover
casual tan shoes, good enough for a bar or a dining room.

Compromises include not being able to buy souvenirs or presents, or if you do, having to send them home in a post office bag. The hand towel had to serve as a full towel at airport showers – not ideal, but can be done of you take a little more time drying.
What would I do differently next time? I would add a lightweight microfibre blanket – also sold as children's throw rugs. These do not weigh more than 0.4 kg, and are great when sleeping at an airport, or in flight.

Go on, you can do it! For travel to a cooler climate, I guess more thought would be needed. Perhaps by jeans at the holiday destination, and leave it there.
Everybody, let's know how you go.

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