Slobodanka Graham


Want to know how to fly and travel with carry on only?

Planepack provides advice, tips, interviews and podcasts to fly and travel light.

How to benefit from essential light travel

How to benefit from essential light travel

As we approach the festive season - and many of us may be travelling - I think it’s a good idea to consider travelling with less. These are the Planepack top tips for you to benefit from light travel. I hope you find them useful.

Planepacker relaxing on the beach

Planepacker relaxing on the beach

Why carry on travel is easier

  • Life is easier with one bag only: less chance of losing one bag or having it stolen.

  • You won’t have to wait in line to check in your bags.

  • It’s easier to travel and carry your bag into boats, trains, planes and buses.

  • Packing and unpacking are so easy: fewer clothes make for a simpler life. Minimalism reduces stress.

  • Lighter bags are much easier to carry

  • There’s less chance the airline might lose your bag.

  • Best of all, you no longer have to wait at the baggage carousel for a bag that might never appear: stride out of customs like a rock star!

How to choose the right bag for carry on

When you travel light, your carry on bag is your best friend: it’s going to be with you a good deal of the time. For that reason, you have to like your bag. When I first started travelling, I didn’t think too much about what constituted a good carry on bag - after all, most of my stuff was in my large suitcase travelling in the hold. Since becoming an extreme light traveller, I’m far more fussy about what I carry with me.

Packing lists and tips for carry on only

I recently published a podcast about The Planepack Essential Travel List where I spoke about the clothes I take with me for a two or three week overseas trip. I travel and fly with carry on luggage only. That means I carry on only 7 kgs in my hand luggage - and that has to accommodate all my clothes plus my toiletries. In this podcast, I talk about what cosmetics and toiletries to pack and how to travel with light luggage only.

The Planepack essential packing list

The Planepack essential packing list

This is my tried and tested list that I've used for the past four light travel, long haul trips. I've travelled with carry on luggage only - that weighs under 7 kgs. You can do it!

Carry on only medicines

The Australian Prescriber provides an excellent overview of travellers’ medical obligations and expectations, particularly for contraception, diabetes, travellers’ diarrhoea, taking medical kits and purchasing (or not) medicines overseas. In addition to these, the Prescriber provides essential tips when travelling with medicines:

  • take prescribed drugs in their original containers

  • carry medicines in your hand luggage for easy access

  • be aware that airlines will not provide refrigeration for any medicines

  • you will need a doctor’s letter of proof stating that you are under treatment

  • in general, a six-month supply of medicines is not questioned

Carry on only travel tech

Over the years, I’ve shed the tech as I travel light and lighter. I no longer take my laptop, video or SLR camera (nor any of those cables and chargers), nor do I take my iPad. Instead, I travel with only my iPhone.

These are my preferred apps and tips. It’s a long list - so have a look at the original blog post.

Carry on only essential travel documents

While you may be a digital diva, you still need to take certain paper documents with you. This is the Planepack essential travel documents list:

  • Passport - and remember to ensure it is current.

  • Printed flight booking: even though you might have this on your phone, it’s useful to show the airline booking clerk your print document.

  • Printed car hire papers: easier to show the car hire firm your print papers than to struggle with your phone when you’re tired after a 16 hour flight

  • Printed hotel reservation: while you might have booked online, I still find it useful to have print proof with you - check that you still need to be charged, etc.

  • Printed insurance reference: just in case!

  • Your driver’s licence

  • A little bit of cash

A few more tips

  • Remember to weigh your bag to ensure it falls within the allowable onboard restriction

  • Keep your liquids together in a ziplock bag, ready for customs.

  • Wear all your heaviest gear to fly - especially boots and coats.

  • Remember: do not carry any sharp objects with you - even tweezers will get confiscated at customs.

  • Don’t pack in a bottle of wine as a parting gift: it will get confiscated.

About the author

I’m Slobodanka Graham, blogger, digital publisher and extreme light traveller. Ask me anything you like about light travel!

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