How to travel with only carry-on baggage

In this day and age, it is somewhat decadent to fly with checked luggage. Sure, it is often still necessary, but if you’re taking a short trip then carry-on should really suffice.

But while that’s all well and good in theory, putting a week’s worth of clothing, shoes and essentials into hand luggage can often feel playing a game of Tetris. I recently found myself in this exact situation, when heading to a wedding in France that required a formal outfit and high heels – promptly followed by a week in Italy that required sneakers and swimwear. Challenging to say the least!

Flying with Easyjet, checked luggage would have cost me more than £60 on all three flights. The other deterrent for taking a suitcase was the thought of having to lug it all over the countryside – a task that had me tired just thinking about it.

Then I remembered there was a solution to my problem. Unlike airlines back in Australia, Easyjet and many other budget international carriers only allow you to have one piece of carry-on, expecting you to fit any additional handbags or personal belongings into the one main bag.

older female traveller waits for her plane

Enter a little known work-around. Easyjet allows you the option of choosing your seats when you check-in online or when you book your ticket. For ‘up front’ seats or exit row seats you pay a small fee additional fee, which not only provides you with a superior seat, but it increases your baggage allowance to include an extra piece of carry-on, such as a handbag or laptop bag. Other benefits included dedicated bag drop and speedy boarding so you can board first and claim your overhead locker space (ensuring it’s not placed in the cargo hold due to overcrowding).

By opting to choose my seat on all three flights I managed to complete my circa 10 day trip with only my carry on suitcase and a handbag. Using this insider trick cost me about £30 all up, half the price of checked luggage and without the hassle. I did still have to wear my heels on-board though – a sight that amused my friends no end.

While Jetstar is yet to offer such an alternative, Tigerair has its version of the above offer, called Cabin+. This allows you to boost your carry-on baggage from 7kg to 12kg. Let’s hope the other budget carriers follow suit soon too.

What’s your advice for staying within baggage restrictions?

Written by SJ

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