Are you thinking about traveling carry on only? Or maybe you aren’t sure, if it is the way to go?
Since 2012, since our very first trip abroad, we have been traveling carry on only at least nine out of ten times. And from our experience we can say you, that it really is the way to go. Because traveling with one bag only is just so much easier in most of the situations. And it’s cheaper as well.
To inspire you to travel with less stuff, we have asked 4 travel bloggers, frequent travelers, to share their stories. About why they are traveling carry on only and how they got that way.
Why Travel With Carry On Only?
Margherita Ragg – The Crowded Planet
When I started backpacking almost ten years ago I made the classical rookie mistake – I packed too much. I was carrying a clunky computer, hairdryer, full-size bath robe and I think four pairs of shoes! Now, when I look at my tiny 8 kilo pack and think back at my first ‘monster pack’, I laugh. How could I carry all that?
My bag got progressively lighter over the years, but my turning point was hiking the Camino de Santiago in 2013. I hiked for 45 days for up to 40 km a day, so naturally I got used to washing my clothes, carrying only a few spare items and generally speaking, reducing everything to the minimum.
Since our Camino we really got into long distance hiking, and we’ve perfected our packing so that we always carry under 10 kilos (22 pounds) each – and we do have large cameras!
Travelling with carry on only is just so convenient – there’s no waiting when you get off the plane, walking around cities is not a problem, storing luggage is easy, and you can always find somewhere to wash your clothes. Nowadays, I can’t imagine travelling with checked luggage anymore!
Rease Kirchner – Indecisive Traveler
My very first trip abroad was to Argentina when I was 18. The airline lost my checked bag for 3 days. I was such an inexperienced traveler that I didn’t even have an extra pair of underwear in my carry-on!
Ever since then, I’ve traveled carry on only. Of course, it’s not just out of fear. I find that even with just a carry on, I end up with a couple of items that I don’t use on each trip. Checked bags make it all-too-easy to over-pack, while a carry on allows you to focus on the essentials.
Sticking to carry on only travel also speeds up my airport experience. Because now I don’t need to wait in line to check in my luggage or wait for it at the baggage claim.
It’s cheaper, faster, and simpler, so I can honestly say that traveling carry on only is much better for my travel style than traveling with checked in luggage. I’m a solo female traveler and I try to keep it cheap. So being able to save money on checked bags and only have one bag to lug around makes my travels much more enjoyable.
Cristina Puscas – LooknWalk Greece
I wish I could say I started to travel carry on only because I was savvy from the beginning but that’s not the case. My first trip with my husband (back then boyfriend) was in March 2011 and we flew to London. I had won the tickets and, as a result, I had checked luggage included.
Rookie as we were (I had flown before with my family in …1989, when I was 8) we figured we could pack the clothes in the checked luggage to make it “easier” for us. We ended up with an 8 kg (17.6 pounds) checked luggage and each with a backpack as a carry on (laptop, camera, stuff we would needed in case of an emergency).
First thing that made me hate the decision: the huge line at check in counter in Bucharest. Next? Dragging the luggage in London, taking it with us on public transportation. Ugh. It was enough for us! Next year we went to Rome and Athens, in total for 2 weeks. We paid for the tickets ourselves and decided to travel carry on only (so we won’t have to drag anything around or pay for it).
And it worked like charm. We each had 1 carry on suitcase of 8 kilos (17.6 pounds). As time went on, I even started going on one week vacations with a “personal item” type of carry on only.
I love that now I can skip dropping off a checked luggage, picking it up, worrying about it not getting to the destination, being able to just get my backpack (usually) or suitcase (when we travel for one month or more) and explore right before we catch a train or plane.
I’m never checking a bag again!
Nathan Aguilera – Foodie Flashpacker
You would think as my trip went on I would get better, not worse, at traveling light. When I began my trip three years ago I carried a large backpack. So big that I had to check it in and pay luggage fees whenever I flew.
When I rented an apartment in Chiang Mai to base myself for some time last winter things got worse.
On my last night in the apartment once again I found myself in a situation, that I couldn’t even close my backpack. So I started frantically giving things away to friends until the bag could somehow be zipped. I evaluated the situation and made at the time what I felt was a logical decision.
I bought a suitcase to put the backpack into, so that I could keep both AND all of the other things I was dragging around with me. Problem solved.
I was now traveling heavier than ever.
I had a suitcase as checked luggage, the leather weekend bag that I found in Morocco that I was obsessed with as my carry-on, and a small backpack for electronics to store under the seat.
Arriving in Portugal I was met by a friend who was shocked with how much I was carrying. Trying to wheel the rolling luggage uphill on the cobbled streets of Lisbon was a reality check.
I’ve now partnered with CabinZero and I’m carrying one of their military style bags. It’s approved as carry-on for every major airline.
What I appreciate most is being able to just walk off the plane and go. No waiting for my luggage, staring anxiously at the belt wondering if my luggage was lost again. No nervously checking in at the ticketing counter wondering if I’m over the allowed limits. And no more “accidentally” leaving a third of my luggage hanging off the scales hoping the employee pretends not to notice.
No more shelling out an extra $35-50 that you hadn’t budgeted for just so you can bring things with you that you don’t need and won’t use.
More money, more freedom, less junk in my life. It just makes sense.
For more inspiration check out – Why Travel with Carry On Only? – Part 1!
Are you now ready to travel with cabin luggage only? Yes? Then check out our guide to the best carry on backpacks!
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.