Five tips for going cabin bag-only
The days of checking in luggage when jetting off for a long weekend are pretty much behind us. Now, unless there’s a specific reason, most jetsetters prefer to fly cabin bag-only. The fees charged by airlines suggest they’re not too fond of the practice either. For them, it’s much more cost and time-effective to have a plane full of paying customers without any baggage, quite literally.
But for travellers, it’s not only about cost. Flying without luggage in the hold is much more pleasant: you don’t have to endure the wait at the baggage carrousel, or experience that creeping worry that your contact lenses and favourite outfit have been left on the tarmac back home. Also, once you’ve checked out of your hotel at the end of a holiday, you’re much more able to continue your adventures with just cabin bags in tow.
So here are the Flexicover team's top tips on how to pack for maximum stuff and minimum hassle.
Rethink the shoes
Sorry to break it to fashionistas and fashionistos, but when it comes to efficient packing, shoes need to be the first to go - one pair takes up the equivalent of a weekend’s worth of T-shirts and adds considerable weight to cabin bags too. So even though it’s perfectly valid to take day shoes, evening shoes, flip-flops and trainers on a weekend break, go for a drastic cull. A pair of smart, comfortable day shoes might solve all problems, and leave space for more outfit changes instead - not a bad compromise.
Check the second bag rules
While airlines change their cabin bag rules more often than they change their menus, it’s safe to say that second bags are back in action. Meant for laptops or handbags but effectively the ace card for a hand luggage-only traveller, it should be used to its full effect to lug the most possessions along. At the time of writing in October 2017, the second bag size for BA is 40 x 30 x 15cm; Ryanair allows 35 x 20 x 20cm; while at easyJet it’s 45 x 36 x 20cm, although this is only available for easyJet Plus cardholders, FLEXI fare, Up Front or Extra Legroom customers. Check your airline’s rules in advance and use it for all it’s worth!
Invest in a lightweight bag
Cabin bags often come with weight restrictions - for example, Ryanair and Flybe’s maximum weight is just 10kg. That means going cabin bag-only isn’t only a space challenge as a bag expertly crammed with clothes could still fail the weight test, so opting for a lightweight bag is a wise investment. Affordable wheelie bags can vary from 1.6 to 3kg - check before you buy, remembering that soft-shell bags are lighter but give less protection to fragile items. When it comes to secondary bags, consider using a suitably-sized tote – you won’t get lighter than that.
The hallmark of a seasoned traveller, rolling clothes is a space-efficient way to pack and can reduce the amount of creasing that’s inevitable in a packed suitcase. If you wear clothes of similar colours, roll it to make the piece of clothing identifiable from the top. That way, at your destination when you can’t find the particular black T-shirt you’re after, you won’t be undoing your beautiful work of clothes-sausage art.
Reduce the amount of toiletries
The 100ml rule means that our packing has naturally become more space-saving and lighter, but it’s still possible to use up an inordinate amount of space and weight on personal items. Think what you might be able to forgo over one weekend, rather than what you need. It might be possible to ditch the body lotion and foot lotion for a few days, or take a punt on the hotel providing decent shampoo. Regular jetsetters could also splash out on a travel brush and travel hair straighteners, and jewellery boxes can be abandoned in favour of taking one or two choice pieces.
Wherever you plan to head on your travels it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.