Travel is back, baby! But amidst the joy of planning a trip comes the dread of packing. And right now, a lot of us are worried about luggage going missing. Sure, you can put AirTags and the like in your bags to track your luggage, but your best bet, if you ask me, is to just go with carry-on luggage.

It might seem daunting to limit yourself to just 7 kilograms, but I assure you it’s a liberating exercise! You won’t have to wait around at the luggage carousel to see if your checked-in bags ever show up — you can just grab your carry-on and go! And I know it’s doable because I just went to New Caledonia for five days with only carry-on, and I don’t regret a thing.

Before we even start packing, forget about that hard shell wheelie suitcase. It will cost you at least 2kg, and when you’ve only got 7kg to play with, it’s not worth it. Go for a lighter option. I used a classic Country Road duffle bag. As an added bonus, you can chuck it in the washing machine when you get home if it gets a bit rank.

How to pack carry-on luggage

Downsize everything

This is usually the first point where travellers’ poorly-packed carry-on luggage gets pulled up at airport security. The security guards are strict for good reason, so don’t even try to get around these rules. You want to make sure all your liquids fit into a sandwich-size snaplock bag, and that none of them is over 100mL. Mecca, Chemist Warehouse and even your local supermarket have a wide range of travel-size essentials. If your favourite cleanser or moisturiser only comes in full size, you can decant it into small bottles. Pack the absolute essentials first — sunscreen and deodorant were key for me on this trip — and then work with whatever space you have left. Remember that most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner and body wash, so don’t waste space by packing those.

Make your clothes work harder

With carry-on luggage, mix and match is key, but you also want to consider pieces that can easily be worn for day and night activities. Sometimes it can be as simple as swapping out a white t-shirt and sneakers for a black top and sandals to jazz up the same pair of pants. You’ll want to wear your heaviest items on the plane, too — sneakers that take up more space than thongs in your bag, and definitely wear that jacket even if it’s summer (you can always put it in the overhead once you get to your seat, but I’m usually freezing on most flights).

Find hacks with new products

One sticking point for me with carry-on luggage for this trip was getting a hat in my bag. I fry like an egg at the best of times, so put me anywhere near the beach, and I don’t stand a chance. All the sun hats I have in my wardrobe are made of straw (definitely not pack-friendly), which left caps as my only other option (not exactly a luxe look). Then I stumbled upon ooGee hats. They’re Australian-made (which I love), UPF50+, can be washed if things get a bit sweaty, and they’re squashable, so you can fold them up in your carry-on, and they’ll spring back into shape when you get to your destination. Plus, they look slick. I went with the Stoney Creek hat in ‘Ivory’.

ooGee hat
ooGee hats pack flat and then pop back into shape when you take them out of your bag. (Image: Lifehacker Australia / Melissa Matheson)

Keep your tech to a minimum

Do you really need to take your laptop with you? You’re on holiday, enjoy yourself!

I once lugged a Fuji Instax Mini all the way to Sweden and didn’t take a single photo with it. I’ll save you the trouble and tell you now that you can instead use the Instax Link 2 and just print the photos when you get home, or if you really want to shoot on the go, go for the Instax Mini Evo, which acts as both a camera and printer. I took my GoPro in my carry-on luggage for this trip to New Caledonia because it’s so bloody versatile and compact. I have the HERO11 Black Creator Edition, and I managed to fit the whole thing plus a bunch of accessories, including underwater gear, into the hard case that’s about the same size as a lunchbox.

Now, enjoy your holiday!


Source link