It seems that these days it is not just airlines that are reaching for the skies, but fuel costs as well. Of course, airlines of all stripes, including scheduled and budget, are only too eager to pass the burden of rising fuel prices on to the hapless traveller. Their latest salvo in this scenario is the death of free check-in luggage. In order to keep their prices competitive, airlines have come up with devious means to ‘grab’ extra money from their customers. In this guide, we will explore one of the best ways of getting the edge back and that is flying with just hand luggage.
No wonder that smart travellers are circumventing this money-grab by opting to travel with hand luggage only, the kind that is as yet allowed to be carried free in the cabin with you. So far, airlines do allow us to carry one piece of carry-on baggage for free. Let’s hope it stays that way. They have size and weight limitations and with airline security being high, many other restrictions. If you think about it, you will be amazed at the many advantages there are to travelling ‘light’.
Now with the online check in service, you can literally just walk into the airport terminal and skip those serpentine queues at the check in desk. There is no need to spend your valuable time manoeuvring your trolley through make-shift barricades. Flash your pre-printed boarding pass and head straight into security.
You avoid the hassle of waiting interminably for your luggage at those noisy carousels in the destination airport’s terminal. With hand luggage only, you can easily skip the customs and inspections queues.
Since you are travelling with cabin luggage only, you can readily take public transportation from the airport into the city. This is hugely beneficial to some people because it is a money saver. Lugging your bags into a taxi and getting it to take you to your airport can be more expensive than the flights in some cases.
By travelling with just hand luggage, you remove the chance of the airline losing it en route.
The most important benefit of travelling with hand luggage only is peace of mind. You are not anxious, tense or hassled. You can focus instead on enjoying the holiday experience because you are not doing a continual count in your head, or worrying about which piece of luggage is where.
Most airlines specify the exact size of the bags they will allow onto the cabin. You can easily find these specifications on every airlines individual websites. Just remember that airlines only usually allow one carry-on luggage item. This means that your laptop and ladies’ handbags must be also packed inside this cabin baggage.
The acceptable dimensions for cabin baggage usually range from 56cm x 45cm x 25cm to 45cm x 35cm x 20cm. Some airlines will also include protruding wheels and handles into the dimensions. The best way to deal with this is to check with your airline before booking and then buy baggage that fits their requirements.
The weight allowance for hand luggage is usually 5 to 10 kilograms. Staff members rarely weigh the hand luggage, but they are trained to spot its weight based on how you carry the bag. You should be able to lift your hand luggage easily into the overhead cabins without the need for assistance.
When you are packing for hand luggage only travel, you need to ensure you plan ahead. Here is a small guide to ensure that you pack your hand luggage both efficiently and correctly.
Always choose ‘soft’ luggage because they are lighter and more accommodating than hard bodied cases. They can also be handily stuffed under seats or into crowded overhead cabins.
It is a well-known fact that we generally pack more stuff than we need in our travel bags. Just take a moment and make a list of the essential items you will need on your trip, and you are on your way to travelling light. That extra pair of shoes or that “just in case” jacket needs to stay home. There is also no need for things like hair dryers, which can easily be found in many hotels where you will be staying.
Be ruthless with the clothes you wish to carry. Pack lightweight clothes that are wrinkle resistant and can be washed and dried without issue. Ladies, it is always a good idea to pack clothes that mix and match easily. The rule that needs to be applied here is; “if in doubt, leave it out.”
Minimise the quantity of toiletries you carry, and buy these in travel sachets wherever possible. Remember, you can buy most of these things at your destination. Carriers’ rules are very strict about the amount of liquids and gels you can carry in hand luggage; therefore, check with the Department of Transport for the latest guidelines.
Wear as many layers on your person as you comfortably can. Wear heavier jeans and a jacket with multiple pockets on your flight. This way, you can store plenty of items on your person, such as cameras and phone chargers. Furthermore, keep guide books, maps, passport, driving license, health insurance and travel documentation on your person whilst flying.
If you follow just a few of the tips mentioned here, you will be ready to travel light with just cabin luggage only.