I am a huge fan of hand luggage only and regularly seize every opportunity available to avoid dragging around or checking in a whopping big suitcase. Have you ever been confronted by a steep flight of stairs at your destination, with no elevator in sight? Or experienced that sad, sinking feeling at the baggage carousel upon realisation that all of your fellow travellers have been happily reunited with their luggage, apart from you.
Traveling with a compact wheelie suitcase is a superb option if like me, you have no patience for queues. Once I reach my destination, I enjoy nothing more than gliding through immigration and straight to the airport taxi queue well before anyone else. In fact, my personal record is an impressive 14 minutes from aircraft to cab at Hong Kong International Airport. Let’s face it, most of the items you pack in that large check-in suitcase won’t even see the light of day during your time away.
So, here’s a few suggestions if you are keen to carry on:
- Choose your clothing colour palette. Sticking to colours which complement each other is an easy way of limiting the overall number of items in your case. My personal palette of choice consists of mostly black, gold, beige and navy blue, as these can be mixed and matched to work well during the day as well as the evenings.
- Simple and statement jewellery. You can spruce up any outfit with the right jewellery, such as a simple string of pearls with matching earrings or a chunky statement necklace or cuff. Jewellery not only transforms your look but also takes up very little space. I never travel without my gold triangle studs by Dean & Nadine. Not only are their jewellery designs fresh and fabulous, their pieces weigh next to nothing, making them extremely comfortable and perfect to pack into hand luggage.
- Timeless, core clothing. These items that can be cleverly coordinated to create your desired look, whatever the event, which is absolutely imperative when it comes to space saving. These may include a smart pair of black jeans or trousers, an A-line skirt, a pair of culottes or tailored shorts, a crisp white t-shirt or shirt, a well-cut blazer – basically any item of clothing that can be easily paired with other more on-trend, fashion-focused items. My personal favourite at the moment is my reversible A-line skirt from Elle. Two skirts for the price and space of one! This ingenious piece of tailoring transforms from day to night, displaying a pretty black and white gingham check on one side and a simple yet sleek black on the reverse. Also if the temperature drops, I can simply add a pair of thick black tights underneath.
- Smart black trainers. As well as providing unparalleled comfort for those long days of pounding the pavement, a tidy pair of trainers can also add a funky, street-style edge to a well-paired smart/casual daytime outfit. Of course, they are also particularly handy if you are planning to partake in some form of exercise during your time away (see ‘How to Stay Fit Whilst Traveling’ blog). I absolutely love my Nike Free trainers in black which tick all the boxes, in my opinion.
- An extra-large microfibre travel towel. Here’s an easy to carry beach towel, portable yoga mat and a perfect picnic blanket for an impromptu gathering on the grass. Plus, these beauties dry in next to no time at all. Go for the biggest size available and you won’t regret it.
- Microfibre underwear. Lightweight, comfortable, breathable and when handwashed, dries easily overnight. Escape the need to take a whole weeks’ worth of undies by investing in a few of these.
- Tiny toiletries. It’s pretty heartbreaking when your favourite toiletries are confiscated at airport security. Be prepared and ensure that none of them exceed 100ml. Collect miniature samples where available and fill up smaller containers with those beauty regime staples you simply cannot do without. Remember that most good hotels provide you with the majority of bathroom essentials anyway.
Have you got any hand luggage only tips to add?