Packing light is a fine science and when you’re travelling with carry-on luggage only, it’s especially important to get the equations right.
You’re permitted to bring up to 7 kg Carry-on with you on board most flights, an allowance that can be spread over suitcases of up to 115 centimetres, one smaller suitcase and a garment bag, or two smaller bags on domestic flights.
In Economy Class on international flights, you’re permitted one 115 centimetre carry-on bag or a garment bag, while the allowances increase in Premium Economy, Business and First Class.
And with a little prior planning – and the right info – seven kilograms is all you need. These tips will help you pack with a ruthlessness that would make Marie Kondo proud.
1. Invest in a lightweight suitcase
The easiest way to keep the kilos down? Invest in a lightweight suitcase. Many older travel bags can tip the scales at more than three kilograms, eating up half of your baggage limit before you’ve even packed anything.
These days there’s an abundance of high-quality, low-weight options available. Samsonite’s 55-centimetre Lite-Shock Spinner suitcase weighs just 1.7 kilograms, leaving you with plenty of leftover packing weight. To downsize even further, ditch the wheels and carry everything in a Kanken backpack, which weigh in at just 300 grams, or a simple foldable duffle bag.
2. Swap your laptop for a tablet
Even a svelte MacBook Air weighs 1.25 kilograms, while other laptops can clock in at more than twice of that. Tablets, however, often weigh in at less than half a kilo.
Better yet, go with your smartphone alone.
3. Downsize your toiletries
One easy way to save on space is to decant your toiletries into travel-sized bottles. Many brands sell mini versions of their products, while savvy travellers swear by saving sample-sized toiletries and using them while travelling.
And there’s a few items you can skip packing altogether; most hotels will have their owns basics like shampoo and conditioner on hand if you’re not wed to a particular brand.
4. Get a universal adaptor
If you’re hitting multiple overseas destinations on one trip, don’t chuck every mismatched travel adaptor you own into your bag and hope for the best. Instead, swap your collection for a universal adaptor guaranteed to work whether you’re in Belgium or Brazil.
5. Carry your coat
In addition to your seven-kilogram carry-on allowance, airlines permit customers to bring one small personal item, such as a handbag, laptop, coat, small camera or reading material, on board. So if you simply must travel with that hardback copy of Infinite Jest, this is the way to do it.
6. Cull clothes ruthlessly
It’s easy to overestimate the amount of clothes you’ll need for a trip. Enter the PackPoint Premium app, which takes the guesswork out of planning your outfits by generating the perfect packing list based on your destination, length of stay, type of trip and any activities you’ll be doing (such as swimming or hiking).
7. Digitise your travel docs
In 2019 there’s no need to arrive at the airport with a mess of different papers to carry on. Instead, digitise your travel documents with an app like TripIt or save them to a USB, cloud drive or smartphone. You’ll save weight and have important information backed up should anything go awry.
8. Ditch the books
One thing you should put in your bag? A Kindle, which weighs a miniscule 200 or 300 grams. Alternatively you can even deliver eBooks straight to your tablet or smartphone.
9. Be strict on shoes
Nothing adds weight to your bag faster than multiple pairs of shoes. Wear your heaviest pair and be judicious with what you pack – a comfortable pair of sneakers for pounding the pavement during the day and a smarter pair for stepping out at night should be all you need.
10. Get a digital luggage scale
Don’t leave your baggage weight to chance. Invest in a digital luggage scale and you’ll know exactly how heavy your bag is before you get to the airport – just hook your suitcase onto the strap for an exact reading of your weight.