Traveling light dilemma

Old Dec 31st, 2014, 08:28 PM
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Traveling light dilemma


I've read a lot of information about how cool traveling light with one bag is, e.g never waiting to pick luggage after the flight, not being afraid of lost/damage luggage etc. and decided to try it in our upcoming 18 day trip to Spain this year.

All excitement has evaporated when I've realised that most airlines we will fly only allows one bag and 7 kg limit! Usually bag itself is around 1.3-1.5 kg, so that leaves us with ~5.5 kg for stuff to pack, I don't think we can make it.

Was originally thinking of getting Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45/30 for both me and my wife, but I'm not to sure if I want to check in soft bag like Aeronaut as things like toiletries won't be protected much inside? Anyone tried checking Aeronaut bag in, does it survive all the luggage handling abuse?

Wonder if it would be better to get a rolling suitcase instead (they usually weight close to 3 kg empty) and still try to pack it light, around 10 kg in total? I won't be able to carry it like a bag, but we can always catch a taxi from train stations to hotels etc.

Any tips are appreciated, really confused at the moment on how people do one bag / lightweight travel these days. Maybe information about it is really outdated and this is no longer an option with all the airline limitations?
esj is offline  
Old Dec 31st, 2014, 08:47 PM
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The reason other people have an easier time than you fear you would is that the airlines rarely enforce the weight limit on carry-ons. I've been flying to Europe with just carry-ons since 2009 - five trips now. My bags - one small roller suitcase, one smaller under-the-seat "personal item" that is really my camera bag - weigh a ton. It's rare that anyone else ever touches them.
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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 09:51 PM
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Packing light is an ongoing process, not something most people accomplish their first try at it. So get a nice light rolling bag, slightly smaller than maximum carry-on dimensions. Carry on when you can, check it when you must. See how it goes. Not everyone manages ultimate "light" and not everyone cares. See for yourself if giving up some things you might ordinarily include is a bother and determine if the practice is for you or not.

You have to be committed, for instance, to wearing things an extra day or being bored with the same clothes all the time if your trip is over a week long. I now enjoy the light load more than I care about how often I wear a thing. Or doing my laundry in the sink at night. For me it's kind of a game. I always have less than most but still more than I need. I could carry my bag on but I enjoy the luxury of not doing it and check it. Play the game and see how you like it.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 01:02 AM
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It's where airlines strictly enforce a 'one bag only' rule that you'll have a problem. Andrew wouldn't be able to bring his extra camera bag on Easyjet, it would have to fit into his one bag. Even a woman's handbag counts as the one item.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 01:06 AM
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Clothes are rarely the problem regarding weight - it's pills, potions, books, electronics, cameras and shoes.

The good news is that as you have hand luggage only most of your potions won't be travelling as they exceed the 100ml limit.

Rather than buy a new case that saves 1lb in weight, spend the money on that nice tablet you've been looking at so you don't need the laptop, mp3 player, guidebook, camera...

...travelling light is so much easier than it was even a few years agao
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 01:09 AM
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Do not limit yourself to carry on baggage only.
Or do not bring a lot of underwear and purchase to throw way after your trip.
Do not bring cameras alp tops etc. Cut down on toiletries purchase and throw away just like your undies.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 01:14 AM
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Thank you everyone, lots of good advice!

Regarding electronics will only be carrying iPad mini, iPhone and Sony RX100 III pocket camera, so not much weight in total.

If we could stay under 7kg limit I would probably go with something like Tom Bihn Aeronaut as it weights ~1.3 kg compared to wheeled suitcase ~3 kg.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 01:31 AM
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Regarding electronics will only be carrying iPad mini, iPhone and Sony RX100 III pocket camera, so not much weight in total.

Plus at least 2 chargers, spare power packs, adaptors...
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 02:49 AM
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I assume from your spelling that you plan to fly on a budget airline from the UK.

I am confused about the rolling bag and the 10 kg and the 7 kg limit. Would you check the roller?

You are shooting yourselves in the foot by having only 1 bag for the two of you, Tom Bihn or no. One each yields 14 kg useful weight.

Take the smallest travel sizes of toiletries and plan to replace them in Spain. Unless you are staying in hostels, hair driers are likely to be available wherever you stay. You are not likely to need more than two changes of clothes beyond what you wear on the plane. Extra shoes will be tough for a man, much less so for a woman. Once I flew to LHR wearing enormous boots for a hiking trip in Glencoe. I did tuck in a pair of very light shoes.

Toiletries are mostly in plastic so unlikely to be damaged in a soft bag, but I have had a top pop off in a baggage compartment owing to low atmospheric pressure, so I always pack stuff in sealed plastic bags.

If you are only interested in snapshots to remember your trip, you can dispense with the camera and use the iPhone and iPad Mini instead. The Mini will hold your guidebooks, maps, music etc.

Wear your heaviest, bulkiest clothes on the plane. My iPad mini fits in an outside pocket on my Barbour jacket or a blazer so it doesn't take up the weight allowance.

This may not work for you, but on our first trip to the UK many years ago, we each carried a daypack -- small knapsack -- with most of the above. Then we had a very light garment sleeve (hanging bag) with a single set of smart clothes for each of us. We changed every night from our grubby touring clothes for dinner or theater or whatever and they stayed clean.

I can't travel on one bag for more than two nights any more owing to medical stuff I have to carry, but I hope you will find these hints helpful. I still get envious every time I look at the Tom Bihn and Redoxx websites, though.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 03:31 AM
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I do this all the time for bike holidays, not only do I want to stay light for the airline but for the bike and yet I want to be welcomed into good restaurants in the evening.

So, I look at it like this. Wash gear, assume you will find shampoo, soap etc in the hotel, cut out shaving foam nd take king of shave oil (for the boys) take a half full toothpaste tube, make sure your wash bag is thin not the foam packed monsters.

Shoes (wear one pair) if you need more ensure they are sandles. Fly in your heaviest clothes, if you need a jacket wear it. Pack old clothes (I collect clothes during the year to throw out) and throw the things away, this gives you space to bring stuff back.

Max out a day bag if you are allowed to take one.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 04:03 AM
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It's not that hard (assuming you are travelling in summer and won't have lots of thick sweaters, boots etc to carry). Firstly a good quality rollercase doesn't weigh 3kg. It weighs 1.8 - 2.5kg for a cabin sized model. It's worth paying out for one of these lightweight hard-sided jobs as they protect all your bits and pieces well and last for years.

Secondly, you can wear the same jeans/capris/skirts with multiple tops. Underwear is very easily laundered in the sink. I would guarantee even if you took a different outfit for every one of your 18 days you'd not wear half the stuff as we always have favourites in terms of comfort, or clothes we think we look better in, or are smart enough for dining out etc.

You can buy toiletry minis - everywhere does them now - or if really scrimping just take an individual scahet of shower gel, shampoo etc for the first night and buy/discard larger bottles once you are out there and moving around.

You can get multiway cables to cut down on taking loads of different chargers. Btw, I think your electronics sound quite pared down anyway and won't add a lot of weight.

Which airlines are you flying with? Ryanair limit is 10kg which is a suprising amount of clothes for a summer trip, plus you are now allowed one other small bag such as a handbag. If your airline really does have a 7-9kg limit is there any sort of top up option for a small fee?

The reason many people love to travel light is not to be cool, it's for convenience. Not having to wait for luggage on the carousel. Not running the risk of it going missing by being checked in. Not struggling to lift it when putting it into luggage racks on trains, in car boots, luggage lockers and so on.

It's worth it and you can do it
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 04:44 AM
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I am sorry but I do NOT understand the rationale for taking on a HARD-sided anything which is ONLY and EVER going to be carried on. It seems rather unlikely that something which you carry on is going to get the kind of abuse a checked bag might. And be aware that some softer-sided luggage is, in fact, a lot more durable because it IS soft-sided.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 04:51 AM
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Thanks again everyone, very very helpful and encouraging to try traveling light!

dotheboyshall, I've travel sized power board with usb ports ( and iPad, iPhone and Sony camera all can be charged via USB.

Ackislander, we will be travelling from Australia with Emirates and they have one bag 7 kg limit for cabin luggage. Not one bag between us, but one bag each, sorry if I've confused you, English is not my native language.

We will be staying in apartments and most if not all will have washing machines, will be in Spain from mid May till beginning of June, so will be hot weather. I guess I need to do a test pack to see how much I can pack in ~5.5 kg (7kg - 1.5kg for bag).

RM67, thank you, do you have an example of rollercase which weights 1.8kg? Been googling for some time, but can't find anything below 2.1 kg.

I'm also debating that if we are limited to 7 kg, maybe Aeronaut or similar style bag is better than rolercase as we can just carry it as 7kg is not that much anyway and we don't risk of broken wheels etc.?
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 05:06 AM
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I have a lot of quick dry tops and hand wash. One hotel had a heated towel rack. Great for my smart wool socks. We use public transportation and getting on and off trains it is a must that we travel light. I have only had one problem with connecting flights on size and weight and paid to have bag checked. It was a smaller plane and no overhead space though not my fault. Should have been a free check imo.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 05:07 AM
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I travel with carry on only now as well, thanks to encouragement from folks on this site. My experience, flying from North America, is that the overseas carriers do not even look at your carry on, let alone weigh it. I comply with the weight requirements, but I see many of my fellow passengers exceeding the limits all the time. When I pack, I roll my clothes, stuff extra shoes with socks and underwear and plan on doing laundry once per week.
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 05:29 AM
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Hi OP - check out the various ranges offered by Samsonite. (Cosmolite etc) Most of those are in the range 1.8 - 2.6kg.

Dukey I prefer a hard shell case for protecting valuables like cameras and tablets. I don't believe a soft sided case offers the same level of protection and if you are unlucky enough to have your case forcibly checked in (which can occasionally happen on budget airlines once the cabin is full) and having seen how luggage is hurled around by baggage handlers and falls off the overloaded carts frequently I prefer not to take the risk. A leather weekend bag is fine for journeys by car - not when a flight is involved though imho
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Old Jan 1st, 2015, 06:21 AM
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We have been no-check people for the past 20 years. Even though we do cycling trips that involve gear, we have our packing lists down to a science. Nevertheless...

...We do something different each year because electronics change and airline regs change to confine us further.

So on our most recent trips:
1) I used to carry powdered Tide to get around the liquids allowance. Now I just use hotel shampoo I find as we go at our destinations. Who knew? Shampoo even gets out red wine stains.
2) I no longer carry a camera. My smartphone's camera (Samsung Galaxy Note4) is better than most of my old cameras pre 2010. Plus it automatically uploads my photos to the server whenever I connect via WiFi.
3) I carry a European dual-USB wall charger and two Micro B retractable USB cords. I can WEAR these things on my body because...
4) I either wear a Scottevest or a fleece jacket or a rain jacket with inside/outside pockets that will accommodate my Kindle, my smartphone, my cheapie GSM phone, etc
5) If it's not winter, I live in my Keen Newport H2s, my Teva dress sandals, and one pair of flipflops. AND I CYCLE IN MY KEENS. So at max, I am only lugging flipflops and one pair of lightweight sandals.

Packing lighter is not deprivation--it's packing SMARTER.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 03:25 PM
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I take a L.L. Bean Continental Rucksack and a L.L. Bean Stowaway Day Pack. Neither fully filled when departing because I want to reserve space to bring back souvenirs. Just came back from a ten-day trip from Central Europe, and used the same luggage method when I went to New Zealand for 15 days in June (their winter) and Switzerland/Copenhagen for American Thanksgiving week, both included a budget airlines flight with 7-kg restriction (they don't check the weight unless you act like you are struggling because the bag is very heavy). I bring 3-5 days worth of underwear and socks, depending on how often I want to do laundry. I also bring an extra shirt and an extra pair of pants in case I spill something before laundry day (the extra pants also came in handy when I split my pants on morning right before I was about to leave the hotel for a zip line tour). Also long thermal underwear when traveling to places where it would get below freezing point during the day. All the outerwear I bring is layer able. I don't mind wearing the same shirt and pants everyday, and the travel companions of my choice don't either. Although in the winter not likely they'll get to see me without my jacket anyways. When traveling in the summer, you would need to change clothes more often, but summer clothing is much smaller and lighter. I keep toiletry to things I need every single day.
When flying there, I prefer not checking in my luggage to get started on my trip as soon as possible and not have to wait at baggage claim (especially if I have travel companion coming from another flight and waiting outside already). When coming back home, sometimes I have to check luggage due to liquids I bought. When I came back from Europe this past weekend, I brought back a bottle of liqueur, a glass jar of jam, and a ceramic coffee mug, all in the rucksack that I checked in; nothing broken or leaked. There is some trick to packing liquids or more delicate items (thickly wrapped in clothes and then enclosed in smaller sacks/bags that were used for other purposes during the trip). Although the outside of rucksack was wet when I picked it up, from the rain/snow at the home airport.
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