Ten Ways To Survive Overseas Travel With Just A Cabin Bag

19 January 2018
Read Time: 3.3 mins

In the world of travel, minimalists really do have an edge, both financially and in terms of getting around.

Whether you are packing for business or pleasure, it really does pay to travel light with many airlines instigating strict limits for carry-on items, fees for checked baggage, and weight limits for both.

Then there there’s the mobility angle - for many cities there are huge savings to be had by using public transport rather than a cab. This type of exercise is much, much easier with just hand luggage as opposed to a cumbersome suitcase.

Trail blaze with less when travelling.

The carry-on of course also comes into its own for avoiding all that time waiting for your luggage at the airport carousel; and the penultimate advantage of never having to worry about lost luggage.

But there is a cost  - the biggest thing is that there is the removal of choice; and that applies not just to what you take but also to what you pick up along the way – but fear not because read on to show you how you can streamline your thinking and packing to truly lighten your load.

1. Change your Mindset

Do you need to have all the familiar stuff around you at home with you when you travel? Probably not, because remember the point of travel for business or leisure is to experience the new and the different. All your possessions can stay safely at home. Embrace the freedom of travelling lighter without all of the associated emotions and brain space that come with your belongings.

2. Carry on Rolling.

Fortunately you are blessed with much choice in this area – there are plenty of options online and in stores that have plenty of the latest in innovations in durability and flexibility. If you can’t see yourself putting your bag on your back or over your shoulder, opt for one that rolls, in fact many bags have all three options anyway. Whatever bag you choose, it sets the limit on how much you can take - if it doesn't fit, it doesn't go.

3. If the Shoe Fits.

 The importance of having the right shoe for whatever you are doing cannot be overstated; and also because they take up the most room in your carry-on bag. So you need to determine what's appropriate for the activities you have planned. For most business trips and this applies to both men and women (unless there is hiking or extreme winter sports involved) the only footwear really required to be packed are sneakers/comfortable walking shoes, and a pair of flip flops/thongs that are perfect to walk around the hotel or head to the swimming pool.

4. Tailor the Toiletries

The liquid limit that all airlines now have for any carry-on items can actually be a blessing in disguise for your lightweight packing, as it will force all your toiletries into much smaller containers. If you use makeup, carry just enough that you use generally for a work with an extra eye shadow and lipstick for a bit of an evening spruce up.

5. Cool Layering

Layer to change your look. This approach gives you more outfits and the flexibility to adjust for weather changes. For example, for women, one long-sleeved shirt, two camisoles, two tank tops and a cardigan can be combined in multiple ways. For men add some t-shirts and a sweater to create a few different outfits.

6. From Desk to Dinner

Wrinkle-free separates in neutral colours can make the most of each inch of packable space. By way of example, three semi-dressy tops can be matched with casual pants to create a daytime look. Then for evening the tops can be teamed with a tube skirt and heels. For men, the same principle applies with neutral tees being worn under a jacket for a streamlined, slightly more groomed look.

7. App It to the Max.

When traveling on business, it is possible to leave laptops at home and rely on an iPad and iPhone to stay connected. There is huge range of smart-phone apps, designed specifically for the business traveller that can help you leave books and equipment at home.

8. Bulk It Onboard.

This goes not just for shoes, but for clothing too, particularly if there are likely to be cooler temps. If it's too warm to wear the jacket or coat, carry it over your arm – remember you will be able to stow it once on board.

9. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Hotel laundry service is a wonderful and convenient service to help you keep your few items clean but it is not always available and can be expensive. If you're staying at a place that provides shampoo or bath gel. Wash in the bathroom sink and dry your items on towel racks or the retractable clotheslines that many hotel bathrooms now have, or purchase one of your own.

10. Shrink your Souvenirs

We as humans are natural collectors, and we do associate memories and meaning to objects. So for those who want to keep it light, really consider the keepsake before purchasing. If you feel that your life will cease to have meaning if you do not purchase the cherished item, a popular solution for many business travellers is the “overflow” bag. This bag can be packed down to about the size of a mobile phone and still carried on-board with your goodies – if you don’t have one, they are very useful items to have and are usually available from most international airports.


Tara Young

The experience of travel changes a person. I see my job as highlighting what amazing travel opportunities there are to broaden your knowledge of that great big world beyond your doorstep and what you may learn about yourself on the way.