Lighter Luggage Part 1: Switching to Carry on

Its getting to travel season for many. My eyes boggle at the amount of luggage, people take with them. Its hard work, its nerve wracking sometimes and if you are over your weight limit, its expensive.

I travel with two bags.  One is on wheels  and is designed to be checked if I have to. My aim is not to check anything in because:

  • its faster at check in- no luggage means a check in at home and straight to the gate (time saved 15-60mins). I fly about 90 times a year- time saved is between 22 and 54 hours!). Of course staying at home would save me more time!
  • faster at the other end-baggage takes 10 to 90 minutes to reappear at the other end. I am already sightseeing by the time some people are hauling their luggage off the carousel
  • easier-luggage that you will use as carry on only, means you can usually carry it up stairs yourself
  • its less likely to be lost- lost luggage can take 2 hours to 2 weeks to get back to you
  • many airlines in the USA and other countries now charge for check in luggage. Not having any reduces that concern
  • other airlines (eg Air NZ, Virgin Blue and Tiger) offer reduced fares if you travel with no check in (its a cleverer way of charging for luggage!)
The other bag is officially my “personal item” (in this case a computer bag). It clips to the first for easy carrying.

I aim for each bag to weigh under eight kilos (17 pounds) before i leave my house. Why eight kilos/17 pounds? Most airlines in the world have a limit on their carry on luggage. For some its as little as 5kg and for some its as much as 10kg. For most it is 7kg (15lbs) . I figure that If I am only just over, they will probably let me through. In the USA I have yet to meet an airline that has checked the weight of hand luggage! (confession: I have been known to have had my smaller bag weigh more than my bigger bag!)

They also have a maximum sized bag you can carry on. My bigger bag usually meets the requirements  being 51cm (20″)  x 33cm (12″)  x 21cm (8″).  Different airlines have different requirements, so check your carrier!

Tomorrow I will talk about reducing your load!


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