No More Bulk – 5 Tips for Traveling With a Carry-On

For the longest time I have been an advocate for just giving in and spending that extra money on checked luggage. For some reason it gave me a false sense of security, thinking I’d have enough space for when I buy something and there would be no need to limit myself when packing. Let’s be real, I was just looking for reasons to justify my shopping addiction.

Traveling with a carry-on only actually saves you time and money. You get to skip the baggage check in process (which in my opinion is the worst about the whole airport procedure from the entrance to entering the plane) and won’t have to worry about the airline losing your suitcase. Aside from that, I hate the fact that most airlines now charge you extra for literally anything, including checked baggage and seat reservations. I’m surprised they don’t charge you an extra 5€ for going to the bathroom on the plane yet. I hope I’m not giving then any ideas here.

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Too long, didn’t read: Using a carry-on is the most efficient way to travel nowadays.

However, if you are any way like me and are just starting to get used to this change in travel style, there’s some things to consider when packing:

1. Only pack what you really need

Don’t even think of bringing that one pair of pants you’ve never worn but think they will look cute on vacay.

Just stop it. We all have these items just hanging around in our closet that still have the tag on – and there’s a reason for it. Bring clothing you are 100% sure you will wear and feel comfy in. Pick one pair of shoes that won’t give you blisters and one pair for the evening that you can comfortably walk in. Thank God sweatpants and sneakers are trendy right now.

2. Minimize your Make-Up and Skin Care Routines

First of all, you’re on vacay, chances are you won’t meet your arch nemesis around the corner. Aside from that, you’re gorgeous without make up anyway. If you really can’t skip the make up pick three items you absolutely can’t live without. Foundation – Mascara – Brow Product. That is truly all you need to look like yourself but a little better. Forget your 12-step Korean facial routine, especially on trips that involve lots of moving around and sightseeing.
Aside from that, you won’t be able to fit it into the tiny Ziploc bag anyway. I personally like to bring more of these clear bags so that I can use them as bags for shoes and bikinis, which helps to organize the inside of your carry-on.

3. Check the Size of Your Carry On

Unfortunately all air lines have individual guidelines for the exact measurements your carry on is allowed to have, so the only piece of advice I can give you is to grab the measuring tape and do the maths. Same with the total weight of the suitcase.
For Austrian Airlines the measurements are: 55cm x 40cm x 23cm, 8kg (as of May 2018)
It also says on the site that the measurements will be checked at the airport but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any government official pull out a ruler and check, I guess they’re just really good at eyeballing.

4. Wear a crossbody bag to the airport

In addition to your carry on you can bring a personal item, i.e. a backpack or a purse. My advice for this to go hands free and use a versatile bag you can use throughout your entire trip. Basically any bag you can wear crossbody comes in extremely handy. Remember you’ll need one hand to drag your carry-on through the gates and the other one will probably be holding your phone, so having to carry a top-handle purse is just not going to happen.

If you like it designer like me, I definitely recommend the Louis V pochettes, which can be worn with jeans as well as with an evening dress. They’re very durable and can be wiped, so you won’t have to stress about ruining a purse if the weather is bad. They can easily fit a cardholder, an iPhone, headphones and some meds.

5. Invest in a quality carry on

I know, the cute leopard print trolleys at the mall would make it super easy to recognize your piece of luggage from about 100m away, but chances are the first wheel will come off as soon as you enter the airport.

The last thing you want is having to drag a three-wheeled trolley all the way to the gate.

Quality carry-ons start at around 100€ and they are well worth the splurge. I’ve had my Samsonite carry-on for more than three years now and it doesn’t have a single scratch even though I sat on it for a two-hour train ride at some point in my life. I reckon I transported a coffee machine in it too – the benchmark for a quality suitcase these days, I guess.

Rimowa and Samsonite are known for quality luggage and chances are major department stores give discounts for travellers. The key in modern-day haggling is to just ask.