Saturday, November 4, 2017

so it's not getting out of hands: what to put in your hand luggage

Hand luggage - I'm a big fan, huge supporter and passionate user. Where possible, I even try to travel exclusively with hand luggage, not only because the cheap airlines charge almost the same amount you've paid for the ticket for checking luggage. No, it's simply much more comfortable and so much faster; although since they established the security regulations regarding liquids, it has become a bit tricky. And once I got almost arrested at a French airport for carrying cheese.


man pulling cabin case
Globetrotting the easy way.

But mostly it's really much more handy, and the longest I 'survived' on hand luggage were two weeks in Italy in summer; and I did not stink...



But also when you travel farther and longer and do check in a backpack or suitcase of whatever size, do yourself a favor and take in addition a sensibly packed piece of hand luggage, it will make the start of your trip so much more comfortable.

Expect the Unexpected - survive some days on hand luggage

Lesson Learned - pack like going away for a weekend

Have a Good Flight - prepare for comfort

Make Yourself at Home - enjoy your flight

Omnia Mea Mecum Porto - keep your valuables close to you


Expect the Unexpected


In 2003, out of 1,000 suitcases 13 got lost. By 2015 the figure has decreased to 6.5 - and in addition 95 per cent of these strays show up within 48 hours. All this is good news for you statisticians and of course for the airlines since the costs of about 3 billion USD for tracing, special deliverance and restitution will decrease accordingly. But if you are one of the 6.5 unfortunate ones, it's of scant comfort that the other 993.5 passengers roll happily their luggage towards customs while you are filling out forms at 'lost and found'.

So 95 per cent of the 6.5 (this is 6.175 people) are fortunate enough to have their luggage delivered to their doorstep eventually.

That's basically good news, but there are still two issues: 1. You cannot be absolutely sure that you aren't the remaining 0.325 one until you hug your lost s...uitcase; and you are facing many uncomfortable hours if you're not prepared and put all your important belongings in your checked baggage.

Don't do that.

I went from Hamburg to Miami, wearing baggy jeans, long-sleeved T-Shirt, big sneakers, warm hoodie: perfect for a comfy flight, kind of a sauna-suite for Miami. On arrival at Miami, my suitcase was missing. Well, to be precise: it wasn't missing, it was delayed; however, I did miss it. Also because I had nothing but the sauna-suite (that I've had been wearing for about 18 hours by then) and a handbag with my documents, phone and a book.


sandals and dress
Strappy sandals, light dress - I had all that...in my suitcase that arrived 24 hours later.


Lufthansa handed me not only a little necessaire including the...necessary for the first night, but also a traveller cheque worth 100 USD (I spare you the story how to cash a traveller cheque in the current millennium) so that after a long flight I spent the rest of the day in my sauna-suite shopping for things that I didn't want and actually didn't need. I'm not the true-born shopping queen, anyway, all the less when I have to shop; for stuff that I don't want and don't need. Wearing a sauna-suite. And I would have preferred to keep the hundred bucks for something else.

Lesson Learned


But I've learned my lesson and since then I pack my hand luggage as if I'm going away for the weekend - of course varying according to the climate on arrival. So if I'm travelling to a hot, beach destination, I pack


  • light clothes like a dress, a blouse and skirt, a T-shirt and shorts or the like for two days
  • PJs or an extra T-shirt for the night (in case you don't like to sleep naked)
  • underwear for two days
  • sandals and/or flip flops
  • swimwear
  • beachtowel
  • sunhat
  • sunshades
  • sun protection (remember to take a container of 100 ml/3.4 ounces max.)


sun shades and hat
Pack your sun gear. It's annoying if you have to spend money on things you do not need, but still have to buy while waiting.

It's more important to be prepared for arriving at a hot place than a cold one. I assume that when you're travelling to a cold place, you are already wearing your big sweater and warm jacket. So in this case you just need to pack two extra T-shirts and extra underwear.

Did you make reservation at a nice restaurant or do you have tickets for a concert, a theater play or the like during the first days? Then you should put your


  • evening wardrobe and your
  • dressing shoes


in the hand luggage, too. If your first stop is nowhere next to a beach, you won't need the beachtowel, but still might want the swimwear if your accommodation happens to have a pool.

Not only for the first day when you are still eagerly waiting for your luggage, hoping that you are not the 0.325 person, you'll appreciate to have your vanity bag on you, hence it belongs in your hand luggage, since during the flight or at layovers you will enjoy a cat lick with some wet wipes, rehydrate your skin with some deep nourishing cream, brush your hair and your teeth - preferably with separate utensils.

Usually facial cream as well as tooth paste come in containers smaller than 100 ml/3.4 oz, so actually there's no need to buy the much more expensive travel sizes.

If you're not extremely picky, it won't be necessary to take your hair- and body-shampoo in your hand luggage since almost every hotel and even hostels supply you with it.

So here is what you need to put in a transparent bag with a zipper (e. g. zip lock sandwich bag - maximum size 1 liter/33.81 oz):


  • facial cream*
  • tooth paste*
  • tooth brush
  • wet wipes (also for your face)
  • deodorant* (preferably a roll-on product in a plastic container since they are lighter and do not break)
  • hair brush (preferably foldable)
  • small soap (bar - just in case)
  • sun protection* (already stated above, but since it's crucial...)



*in this list only these four items are liquids

These are just the necessary basics, you can complete this list according to your personal habits and necessities. Mind you also cosmetics like foundation, lipstick and even mascara are considered liquids so they have to go into your zip lock bag.

going up!

Have a Good Flight


The other day I read on another blog the great advice to wear something comfortable on a long flight. Do you really need me to tell you not to wear your tightest jeans, a delicate blouse and stilettos? Do you?!

I think for a flight up to four hours you can wear whatever you please. It's the longer flights that require some better planning in order to arrive at your final destination in good shape.

You'll probably need one pair of long pants on your trip, anyway, so you should wear them on the flight. I find some cool, not to thick sweat pants the best option: they are soft, warm and comfy and you have the widest range to chose from. Many styles are so sassy that they will make you look rather like a fashionista than a hobo.

I like to wear a long sleeved T-shirt on the flight - the only long sleeved shirt I'm taking with me when travelling to the tropics. Hence, I absolutely need a hoodie: here too - soft, warm, comfy, yet stylish. And I love to pull the hood really deep over my face and practically disappear in my sweater. My hoodie is my castle.

I often fly to tropical destinations during cold seasons so that I need warm clothes for the way to the airport and possible at a layover destination - and then again only weeks later. Therefore a foldable jacket is the best option (packed in its own bag, it also makes a soft pillow).




Crucial tip for the ladies: wear a really comfortable bra on a long flight, anything else will kill you. I like to wear sport bras or bustiers - not only on the flight, but during the whole trip. They are much more comfortable and even if the straps show under tank tops or dresses, they don't look necessarily like underwear.

I assume that you'll wear comfortable shoes like sneakers or hiking boots on the flight anyway, since they are too big and heavy for the luggage.




But also think of socks - preferably compression stockings and in addition a pair of big, soft socks. If you don't like to walk around in them on the plane - especially when going to the bathroom - a pair of disposable slippers (those you get at hotels) are more comfortable than taking your shoes on and off all the while.

I tend to get very cold on flights: often I have to get up really early, I'm all excited, they turn the air condition high - I'm freezing. So in addition to the long sleeved T-shirt and the hoodie and the jacket I like to have a big scarf on me that I can wrap around my shoulders or my neck or use as a light blanket. 


scarves


If you pick one made of a light cotton material, it also serves the purpose of a beach blanket, a sarong, a seat cover...come on, just pick a cotton one.

going up!

Make Yourself at Home


Whether you like it or not (I do), you are stuck for hours in this big metal thing, only now and then allowed to move - just relax and make the best of it. By the way, that's the reason why I like it: I'm forced to sit still and relax - that's like buddhist therapy.
However, you can still


rest


To make sleeping on the plane - and during jet lag - easier, you can take Melatonin. I don't know if it's for everybody, but I know that it helps me a lot getting a good night rest. Usually I'm taking one pill on the flight and then for three or four days to fight jet lag. Although in the US you can buy them at every supermarket, they should not be popped like candy.

I never ever travel without ear plugs - the old fashion wax kind that hermetically shuts your ears against any noise, but I don't really need a sleeping mask since I'm crawling into my hoodie. Hence I know that many people appreciate it.

And of course you should have an inflatable pillow to rest your neck whether sitting or laying down. By the way, I sleep best with my head and upper body resting on the table. Since I'm tall, it's not working with the table right in front of my seat, but the table next to me is fine. (No, of course I'm not doing that when someone is sitting in that seat, what are you thinking!?!)


entertainment


Can't sleep on a plane? Poor you. Hope you're at least travelling with an airline that supplies you with great entertainment like e. g. Emirates or British Airways. On TAP, the national Portuguese airline, there was Mr. Bean on - for everybody. Mr. Bean - since he doesn't need to be translated... So if you happen to travel with an airline whose only entertainment program is dumb (and this on so many levels) Mr. Bean, you better make sure to have your own entertainment, be it a book - paper or on a device, music, your favorite series downloaded on your tablet or even phone. If you read or watch something on your phone, chances are your eyes are getting uncomfortably dry, particularly in the dry atmosphere on the plane. So you should have eye drops on you (drops=liquid, hence put them in your zip lock 'vanity') and instead of contact lenses you should wear reading glasses. Make sure to store them thoroughly in an adequate case - my experience is that after one hour of flight every seat on the plane is a mess with papers, candy wrappers, blankets and extra blankets and spare pillows flying around so you risk to find your glasses in this mess by hearing the cracking noise once you sit on them.

Talking 'bout candy wrappers: I like to eat on the plane (actually I like to eat anywhere and any time; but especially on a plane) - only exception here was again TAP where they just slapped a little trough down on the table - no explanations, and of course no questions about preferences or allergies asked. But maybe you like snacking between meals or you forgot to order your special diet. In this case it's good to have some snacks on hand.


box from KLM
Thank you, KLM, this is so true! Especially if your neighbour is ME.

I personally don't need snacks, but I need vitamins. Usually my diet is so good and healthy that I don't take any supplements. But over the past years when I kept getting colds and rashes because my immune system went down from the stress of travelling, I took up the habit to pop vitamin capsules daily from about one week before leaving over the entire trip; and it's getting better.

going up!

Omnia Mea Mecum Porto


"All that is mine I carry with me" - Bias of Priene, who according to Cicero said these words, was a pretty smart cookie. And although you don't need to carry everything that is yours with you, you sure should follow his lead when it comes to valuables. And by valuables I don't mean only jewelry (if you take any with you at all; however, it shouldn't be of commercial value) cash and credit cards, your passport and your vaccination certificate*. No, in addition you should put all documents needed in your hand luggage, all necessary drugs you need to take (even on the first days at your destination - just in case you are 6 of 1000 passengers...). If you have a guide book, it might come handy to have it on you from day one. Important addresses and directions, booking confirmations etc. - even if you have them on your phone, it doesn't hurt to have them printed out, too. Then you should have a copies of all your documents, especially your passport and vaccination certificate, in your check in baggage (careful with sensible info like your credit card numbers) and in your carry on luggage - and another copy left at home with your family (also numbers of all your credit cards (no PINs!) together with your banks' emergency numbers).


This is not a safe way to carry your credit cards.

Of course all your electronic devices such as your phone, tablet, laptop, camera etc. belong all this time with you, i. e. in your hand luggage. Don't forget the charging cable(s) and it might be a good idea to carry an additional powerbank (fully charged); often it's easier to obtain Wifi than power.

Even in these digital times you might have to fill out immigration forms or customs declarations, so it's always good to have one or two ballpoint pens on you. To write something down quickly, larger sticky notes are very handy for multi purpose, I always have a small block on me.

You'll probably have a little cash on you, anyway, but I always make sure to have at least 10 US$ in small bills to tip people. Although the €uro got really well accepted around the world, the disadvantage is that small amounts are in coins; so US Dollars it is.


* If you are uncertain which vaccination you need, check my WORLD'S MOST COMPLETE TRAVEL INFORMATION where you find this info no matter from where to where you are travelling as well as all other relevant information.

I think that I wrote all the necessary down. But if you happen to have further questions - or maybe an additional suggestion! - I'd be very  happy hearing from you.
To get in touch, please follow me here or on any other social media and send me a message, I'll get back to you as soon as possible.


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going up!

59 comments:

  1. You have some great tips in here! Didn't realize that much luggage got lost. So it's important to be strategic about carry-on versus checked luggage packing. Great post!

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  2. After my luggage arrived later at least three times, I thought I write down what one might need while waiting...and waiting...and waiting :-D

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  3. Loved your simple and honest tips! Have struggled with late luggage and I know how it feels:) Can sour up the vacation too!

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  4. I have heard many horror stories about lost luggage. Thank god it hasn't happened to us. But you're right, we should get prepared in case it happens one day. It is a good idea to pack the essentials in the hand luggage like the basic clothing.

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  5. Lots of great tips here. My carry-on is filled with electronics. It's got my laptop, my phone, my Kindle, my iPod and all the chargers. It looks like I'm carrying around a mobile Best Buy!

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  6. I'm taking only my phone and either my laptop or my tablet. Kindle is on my phone and tablet, but I so much prefer turning paper pages of real books...

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  7. I am impressed you get all of this into a carry on! I play with the idea of traveling with just a carry on but it seems they often end up getting checked anyway due to lack of space so I haven't tried it.

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  8. Actually it's not so much, Sherianne. I even don't put it all in a carry on but into a regular daypack. But you are right, with the larger carry ons they often do, especially on short Euro flights. But there the risk of loss or delay is smaller because usually it doesn't have to travel on all these belts through the airport's womb ;-) Happy travels!

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  9. Love all of these tips! I try to always travel with just my cary on and these tips will be so much more help! Thanks!

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  10. I almost always bring only hand luggage when I travel, unless I'm out of town for multiple weeks. One of my biggest pet peeves in travel is waiting and waiting for your checked luggage to drop down onto the luggage carousel at baggage claim. It always takes longer than I expect, and I always want to leave the airport as fast as possible, so checked luggage always delays that process.

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  11. Fabulous tips, and so useful! I have been travelling on and off the last few years and I tend to get chilled in airports - the last time at Bangkok, so this made perfect sense.

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  12. Whoa that statistics on lost luggage is mind blowing. Can't imagine myself to be the unfortunate one to loose luggage.
    These tips are so helpful for packing light. I have a similar list for myself.

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  13. Heh, my carry-on (a drybag rucksack) is filled with electronics. Mainly my 2 cameras and some gimmicks. On my last trip to Ecuador, it got checked by hand 6 times... Well, no wonder, I had a toy type2 vw truck and 2 surfing stormtrooper action figurines with me - security got curious ;) Apart of that a pair of underwear and a shirt.

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  14. A large drybag is a super carry on. Only disadvantage: you never find what you're looking for - which is the problem with basically every backpack, though. I love drybag - leaving things not only dry, but also clean and dust free. Happy travels!

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  15. Great advice! I haven't flown in over five years now, not since I had my three youngest but this is really helpful for when we do, hopefully next year!

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  16. Woah, and this is exactly why I hate flying. It would definitely ruin my trip if I lost my bag. But you are so right, carrying essentials in a hand bag is a must!

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  17. It's an emergency plan. I'd still freak out if they lose all my favorite travelling clothes - or all the nice stuff I buy abroad. Luckily until now they only misplaced or delayed it, but still: the wait was nerve wrecking. Happy travels!

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  18. What a bunch of great tips for plane travel! I'll be the first to admit I don't take as much time as this preparing for a plane ride. Honestly, all you really need is to have your passport and cash on you, the rest is extras. Which I will still pack, don't get me wrong. I love the Bias quote, about all that is mine, that's a good rule to follow.

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  19. I totally agree with your tips! I'm more a fan of hand luggage than checking it in, but sometimes it can't be helped. I always fear my luggage will be the one that's lost! I'll definitely remember to pack better for warmer countries than cold, I've always been caught out on this!

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  20. What a wealth of incredible tips! I especially love the idea of carrying a big scarf because I'm always cold on a flight. Also the earplugs. Not that screaming babies are bad, per se. But it's always nicer if you aren't able to hear them quite as well. x

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  21. Great tips! This is exactly why we travel only with carry-ons unless it's with an airline I completely trust (there's only one haha). The down jackets from Uniqlo are PERFECT for folding up!

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  22. Totally agree that it’s much faster and so much less hassle traveling with hand luggage only! I’ve never managed it on a longer trip, but short trips of a couple of days, it’s so nice to breeze past those stupid conveyor belts which always take so much time to return your bag! Congrats on lasting two weeks on hand luggage – that’s some seriously impressive skill!

    I’m lucky that in 10 years of travel I’ve only had my bad misplaced once (thankyou Turkish airline for paying for my shopping spree in Venice as a result!) With the huge amount of travel these days I’m actually surprised more bags don’t go astray.

    Agree that you need to be more prepared for a hot destination than a cold one -thanks for the packing tips! Going to try and aim for a longer hand luggage trip than 3 days!

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  23. I have never lost my luggage but I do try to plan for if I ever did! We also mix our clothes and toiletries between two bags so if one goes missing, one person doesn't lose everything and one have their whole wardrobe!

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  24. It's so true that you have to expect the unexpected. I always pack enough underwear and tops for 2 days. Also, I'm amazed at how many people pack valuables in their checked luggage. It's insane. I had a family member who packed all of their money and cards in their luggage and it got lost. Wow.

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  25. Even I am someone who tries to visit the world with a handbag. The cons is I can't carry liquid items which is ok. I found your post interesting. Will take up few tips from this one to pack my handbag in future for sure.

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  26. Whoa! I did not know these statistics about lost luggage. I will be so mad if my bag gets lost! Also, you have given nice tips for flights.

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  27. We travel with only hand luggage on shorter trips, but for longer trips we take a bigger bag to put in the hold. I didn't realise so much got lost, I'll keep it in mind for our next flight and pack more into the hand luggage.

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  28. I've just had to travel to and from Budapest with hand luggage only and I did prefer the ease of skipping the check in queue. That said, when you're travelling for cold temperatures there's not much room for chunky jumpers - something I'd factor in next time. I did have a slight issue trying to get a cork screw souvenir back unfortunately which was my own fault for not thinking to check beforehand!

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  29. Yes, the souvenir factor is a valid point: hardly any cosmetics, no wine or spirits, no sharp or pointy things - and even no creamy cheese (experienced in france http://byemyself.com/2017/05/cheesy-flight.html) But of course this is only a problem if you have exclusively a carry on.

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  30. Really good tips here! i always pack light on a vacation and prefer to keep my fave goods on me at all times. how horrible all that luggage got lost!

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  31. Ok let me try to comment again! I can't recall what I said in my previous message apart from the fact that I prefer to travel with a carry on as well. But one airline company charges more for carry ons than for checked luggage!!

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  32. Love the KLM message - I wish all airlines did that!
    One thing I have learnt the hard way when checking a suitcase in: always take a picture of it. If it gets lots/delayed... it's much easier for the team looking for it to know what it actually looks like than a description saying "it's black with a little orange". Especially if there is a language barrier...

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  33. These are great tips and very useful! I'm glad you didn't get arrested for having cheese in your bag <3

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  34. This is a good read. Thanks for all these useful tips! I literally wrote them in my notepad.

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  35. omg..reading ur psot reminded me of my lost baggage after my south america trip..it was so bad as i left my hard disk with all the photographs in it..but since then i m very careful what to pack in hand baggage..thanks for sharing all the tips.

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  36. I have to admit, with four children my hand luggage is normally filled up with all their things. I always make a point though of spreading our clothes amongst all the luggage so if one bag goes missing everyone still has at least one change of clothes.

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  37. I am totally for carrying the minimum amount of luggage and trying to keep it to just the hand baggage. Landing in a new country to find that my bag has been lost is my biggest fear! I have collected bottles of less than 100 ml of each - perfumes, sun screen lotion, moisturiser only so that I do not need to check in my luggage. It is however sometimes very tough (especially when you're travelling for 2 weeks or so when you are going to a place where it is going to be cold) to restrict yourself to hang baggage only. You have some great tips here!

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  38. Yes, two weeks on hand luggage is a challenge and e. g. with kids not doable. I was referring rather to an additional hand luggage so that you don't put things you might urgently need the first 48 hours in your checked luggage and stand there empty handed what that one gets lost or even only delayed.

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  39. I only ever travel with carry-on luggage. It's great not having to wait for your luggage on the carousels. My luggage has never been lost when I've checked it in but I'm always afraid that one day it will be so I prefer carry-on luggage.

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  40. I agree that it is great to travel without having to check your luggage! Sometimes it can just be such a hastle!

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  41. you are so right! all compulsive travelers tend to be too optimistic despite the luggage "issues" we all have. I promise myself I will follow these very precious tips forever

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  42. I agree that we should always bring toiletries with us and extra clothes in our hand luggage but sometimes I find that my camera and laptop already take too much of the space and weight of my hand luggage that I can't bring any more of my other personal items :(

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  43. i can resonate with so much of what you said in this post but what really sticks out is the 'wearing comfortable clothes on long-haul flights' - As a frequent long-haul flyer I've come across so many people wearing the most uncomfortable clothes, some even in their Sunday best, others like they heading out to a bar..I love seeing those people on the other side looking like they been through a tumble dryer. I'm a big sleeper on planes, litterally the only way I can get through long-haul flights.

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  44. I'm not a fan of hand luggage, but your article kind of enlighten me beside there is always possibilities to lose the suitcases. The tips you gave are excellent tips

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  45. Being a minimalist, I don't worry too much about taking too much luggage. I've never personally had my luggage lost but I know a lot of people that have and I like just traveling light. My laptop and a few personal belongings is really al I need.

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  46. I will never be able to pack the perfect luggage and that's OK cause my husband will, lol. It's an art form!

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  47. I absolutely agree with you on the importance of what you pack into your hand luggage. I'm a big fan of small sized package, so similar to you I'm trying to use my hand luggage only in most cases (for shorter trips it's always working). But even if I'm having a checked in one, my hand luggage still contains everything that could be necessary for like 2-3 days.

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  48. Wow. Who gets arrested for carrying cheese? You may be the first person who I have known to get that done to them.

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  49. i like the idea of getting travel cheque and convert it.you have mentioned some amazing stuff on luggage

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  50. Great tips! I have also had the misfortune that my luggage does not arrive and that sucks. Because of that I have learned to pack some things that I need for sure in case my luggage does not arrive.

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  51. Yes, Agnes, that's what I do, too. My luggage was delayed a couple of times and it's really annoying when you have to spend money on new things that you don't really need.

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  52. Very useful tips. Over the years, I have also learnt few ways to travel light, from articles like yours. I learnt to carry less cloths, light cloths, minimal foot wear and I take my cosmetics and toiletries out in smaller reusable bottles for the travel duration. But still there is a long way to go. I really aspire to be where you already are - to be able to travel at times with just a handbag

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but look where the handbag travel brought me...I've just checked in a suitcase that is much fuller than it should be - but I've packed my carry on following my own advice πŸ€“ Happy travels, Neha!

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  53. Over the years, I've had luggage delayed in transit but thankfully never lost anything. Lately, I prefer to travel with hand luggage as it makes for a smoother entry and exit.

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    1. Yes, mine also always showed up, but it were always exciting 24 to 36 hours since you can never be sure 😱

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  54. Some really handy tips here for travellers. I tend to always carry on (hence the name of my blog hehe), so thankfully have never faces the Miami suit issue lol, though can imagine that it must have been sweltering!! x

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    1. Well, having nothing doesn't make you feel lighter- funny....😱😱

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  55. Awesome tips. In my past travels, i've only used a backpack as a carry whether im away for a couple of months or just a week. It takes trial and error to be good at it. Your article will help those who haven't tried this yet.

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    1. Actually one doesn't need more for a couple of months than you need for let's say two weeks: You have to wash your clothes and replace your toiletries etc., so it should basically be the same amount.

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