Travelling With Hand Luggage Only: Tips And Tricks

By now you probably know that Ben flies around the world, constantly, with hand luggage only. And for a short trip of less than a week I’ve had no problems travelling with only a carry-on. Last year I decided to step it up a notch, and went to Asia for over two weeks with just a medium sized backpack.

Taking only hand luggage, or ‘HLO‘ as you will sometimes see it referred to in the frequent flyer world, was surprisingly easy, and made the travelling experience so much more pleasant.

I now avoid checking luggage wherever I can.

The benefits of ‘Hand Luggage Only’

Start by learning from George Clooney in the ultimate frequent flier movie, Up In The Air:

  • No queuing for check-in, regardless of your status
  • No excess luggage fees
  • No waiting at the luggage carousel when you land
  • No chance of any airline delaying or misplacing your luggage

Think carefully about your destination

It’s far easier to travel with hand baggage only to a warm destination, where you simply need less clothes.

If it was a multi-destination trip covering extremes like Siberia to Singapore, it might be difficult to go only with hand luggage, I must admit! But assuming you are going to a destination with only one climate, take items only for that climate. Yes, you may be cold/hot at your origin for an hour or two, but trust me, its far better than carrying around a needless coat on a trip if you’re spending the whole time in the tropics!

Don’t take things you know your accommodation will already provide. If you’re staying at a five star hotel you’re probably not going to need to pack your own hair dryer.

Similarly, if your resort has a beach club they will provide you with beach towels and you won’t need to check your own.

They’ll give you a towel

Multi-purpose clothes

For my two week trip, apart from a pair of flip-flops I took one pair of trousers (plain, dark jeans) and one pair of shoes.

That’s it.

I wore them on board my Qatar Airways business class flights, hiking up the Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur, and to rooftop cocktail bars in Singapore. Yes, I would have loved to have had a range of options perfect for absolutely every occasion, but I didn’t want to carry around a three piece suit on the off chance I might be going to a fancy dinner somewhere.

Shoes take up probably more space than anything will in your hand luggage.

Yes, there are times that I felt a touch underdressed, or even over dressed, but that’s part of travelling to new and exciting places and you quickly get over it.

Ben’s hand luggage

Don’t pack ‘just in case’ items

I used to be a hopeless packer.

I tried to plan for every contingency in the weeks leading up to a trip, and would end up packing a whole lot of things I didn’t ever need. In somewhere like the tourism-focused areas of Southeast Asia, as my best mate tried to teach me over and over, ‘all you need is a passport and a credit card.’ And he was right.

If you need something you couldn’t fit in your hand luggage, or run out of something you did pack, there’s a very good chance you will easily be able to purchase it where you are, and depending on the location, it may even be cheaper than buying it back home.

Don’t lug around loads of items you are unlikely to ever need when you can easily find them at your location. You don’t need multiple pairs of sunglasses on the off chance you might lose or break a pair.

My secret: good quality, plain, versatile, basic clothes

I used to buy all sorts of t-shirts on a whim while shopping. It seemed like a good idea at the time so I could have a range of different ‘looks.’ Some of them were rarely, if ever, worn.

So, with a big summer trip on the horizon I knew I needed something that would work and I would wear repeatedly. I found a plain t-shirt online that I liked the look of. I ordered it online, and tried it on. It looked good, fit well, and I liked wearing it.

So I bought that exact t-shirt in five different colours.

And I still wear them all the time.

Plain t-shirts can be worn to the beach with swimwear, on a night out with a nice jacket and pants, and my personal favourite, on board a flight.

If you find something you like, go with it.

Packing and repacking

If you are moving around every few days you will be regularly repacking your items. With hand baggage only you can’t just throw everything in and zip it up because space will be at a premium. I’m a big fan of rolling clothes together. I don’t know how this saves space, but it seems to.

Where possible, wear as many items on the plane as you can to avoid trying to cram them into a small bag. This may mean carrying your coat you had to bring with you even though it’s a warm day. You can put it in the overhead as soon as you get onboard.

Put the things you’ll need first on the top (as well as any electronics and liquids you’ll need to remove for security), and any ‘just in case’ items you brought along right at the bottom.

The worst thing about HLO: toiletries

Some countries are becoming more relaxed about liquids, aerosols, and gels in hand baggage. When I realised my standard ‘clear resealable plastic bag’ was broken on a recent trip to Australia, I asked security at Melbourne airport if they could provide a replacement. They laughed at me and said that provided nothing was over 100mls then I didn’t need to bother with a bag.

On that same trip, transiting Hong Kong I asked security, if I needed to remove liquids from my hand baggage. They looked at me as if I had asked for their first-born child and simply shook their heads in disbelief.

And then there’s London.

They are militant about liquids.

One clear, resealable, square bag per person. Nothing over 100mls. This really does limit what you can take. Once you’ve put your deodorant, hair product, and toothpaste, there’s not much room for anything else.

All of my cologne is in bottles over 100mls so it gets left behind. You can buy smaller, travel sized cologne but I find it to be a waste of money for the price vs the full-size bottles. If there’s one rule about hand baggage I would change it would be to allow, say two releasable bags per person.

You will have to sacrifice on toiletries if you travel hand baggage only. There’s no real way around it. If you usually travel with plenty of liquid make-up you will really need to make sacrifices.

One tip with toiletries is only put liquids in your clear-bag. Although your toothbrush goes with the toothpaste, if you are running out of room in your clear bag keep the toothbrush somewhere else, such as a separate, ‘non-liquids’ resealable bag.

Don’t attempt to circumvent any liquids restrictions at any London airport

Bottom line

Some of this advice may seem incredibly obvious, and some of you may not dream of travelling without all the comforts of home. But trust me, if you’ve ever cursed the world trying to drag that full-sized suitcase up a flight of stairs anywhere in the world, consider taking only hand luggage on your next trip.

It makes life SO much easier.

What’s the longest you’ve travelled ‘HLO?’ Do you have any packing or travelling tips?

Comments

  1. I actually prefer to check a bag because then I can board with only a small satchel for my computer and a few personal and valuable items. It goes under the seat so the overhead bins are irrelevant to me. And I’m not concerned about waiting at the carousel because I always time my travel (and my life in general) so I’m never in a rush.

  2. Hi James – really well written article, but no thanks. I don’t agree with the premise. I typically check luggage for any trip over 3-4 days.

  3. 3 weeks traveling with family to Italy France England and Iceland. Spouse and I both had 15 liter Patagonia messenger bags and kids had backpacks. Great trip!

    10 day trip England and France with a 12 liter messenger bag.

    Favorite pants rei Sahara convertible. And running shorts in wool with interior compression brief. Double as swim trunks.

  4. This HLO rule is probably the only rule that I can’t/don’t follow despite being a frequent traveller. As an Asian female with some 7+ steps for my skincare routine alone, the liquid restriction makes it impossible for me to do HLO for any overseas trip longer than 2-3 nights. I wonder if any female can really follow the rule. luckily my OWE status helps me to get my luggage within reasonable time
    most of the time.

  5. Another 2 factors why I only take hand luggage only:
    – Much easier with public transport (Trains and buses) Even to walk with it to your hotel.
    – If you check-in online, you can go straight to immigration, and in certain airports, no weighing is taken of your hand luggage after that, so if its a bit over, you can get away with it..

  6. Love your writing style and some valid tips in this post… I am glad Tiffany picked you as a writer for the blog!!!

  7. Good advice. 4 years ago I sold or donated everything and committed to traveling non-stop. With nothing but a carry on. Simple rule to maintaining this lifestyle… buy something new, donate something old. Purchase a new shirt an old one has to go. Just make sure you fly premium or have status to board early because this concept isn’t very helpful if you can’t secure space in the overhead!

  8. I used to subscribe to the HLO beliefs as well. But I have given up on that. Spending enough time away from home (~2.0 days a year) made me start realising that all the comforts that was cut away by travelling with carry on only is not worth the bit of time might saved.

  9. “For my two week trip, apart from a pair of flip-flops I took one pair of trousers (plain, dark jeans) and one pair of shoes.”

    And…? Just curious how many tee-shirts/tops, underwear, shorts, etc, you pack for a trip like that.

  10. Cologne? No. Just no. Your hotel will have soap. That is all you need if used properly. 🙂

    Nice post. I personally do not worship at the altar of “no checked luggage.” Fine when the circumstances are right. But not realistic for me on longer trips.

  11. 2.5 months in a 40L Osprey (which wasn’t filled to capacity) and a small Alpha Bravo backpack. It helped that all the countries I visited had similar weather conditions, of course. The only time I ever check luggage is if I’m bringing back wine and the like.

    Also, re: your cologne issue, FragranceNet has travel-sized atomizers for $7. They’re the size of a lip balm tube, so perhaps look into those.

  12. For liquids, why waste space on toothpaste at all? Hotels usually provide fee of charge and if flying premium class, your amenity kit covers that base as well. I generally leave cologne behind as well and just spray my clothes before closing luggage.

    I will say some flavors of toothpaste aren’t even worth the free aspect. ANA’s particularly does not mesh well with my western palate

  13. Just came back from a 3 week India trip. Only took my laptop. Bought a few pairs of underwear, a TShirt and a pair of shorts at a mall after landing as well as a toothbrush , paste, razor and body wash (great for shaving and shampoo as well).

    HLO? Poof!! How about Laptop only?
    (Luckily I was carrying my passport as some things were happening where I knew I might have to travel on short notice)

    Yeah it was an emergency and I had to leave from office and literally race to the airport to make my flight but I realized in 3 weeks I dont really need that much.

    Time to have a conversation with my wife about reducing the clutter at home

  14. If I’m traveling up to one week, I just travel with back pack and a carry on. Its definitely doable if you’re going someplace hot where all you need are light clothing. I did this recently during my week in Brazil.

  15. Length of the trip doesn’t matter, after a week you could do laundry. In my toiletries bag I usually have Bepanthen cream, hydrocortizon/basibact, DEET, deodorant, disinfectant, hand sanitizer (<70% alcohol to be plane compliant) and toothpaste. The I usually have few bars of soap, some locks, rope, first aid kit, toilet paper, napkins etc. Usuful stuff in less touristic 3. World countries/areas. Addition to my clothes and electronics. Total weight of my backpack is between 8-10 kg depending on clothing and temperature of a destination. Only case when I use hold luggage are times when I have to carry my sleeping bag and other outdoor equipment like when hiking in Nepal.

    When travelling in business and staying in highend hotels I can discard half of my stuff.

  16. I also don’t like to check baggage. A carry on plus a small backpack are usually sufficient given that I like traveling to warm destinations. And when it’s a longer trip I will find a laundromat.

  17. I usually just take a Tumi International carry on for my 1 to 2 weeks trips to Europe, which usually involves hiking or biking, and/or a dress shoe to nice restaurants before or after the trip. For the active part, I bought quick dry clothing and underwear that I will wash when I stay in the same hotel for more than 1 day, one or two dress shirts and a pair of dress pants.

    However, I am having problem going to Asia when airlines are limiting carry on to 7 kg or 10 kg, Air France at least allows 15 kg! (I am SFO based and don’t fly US airlines, if I could. I know, shame on me!) So I just bought a 40L backpack from REI for my upcoming 11 day trip to Shanghai and Tokyo:-)

  18. Great points and tips and also more great points and tips in the comments. My additions:

    Wipes instead of liquids. Tiffany wrote once about mosquito repellent wipes and now I never leave home without them. Packs of hand sanitizer wipes, alcohol wipes, etc. All great and fit in the side pocket of my backpack. I can buy toothpaste there, but I have little one time use packets of toothpaste that I’ve never had to take out of my bag.

    Instead of cotton t-shirts, I started buying dry fit t-shirts. I don’t get the Nike or Underarmour brands, but the store brand. I find them better than cotton t-shirts because you can easily wash them in the sink and they will dry in a couple of hours. Plus, they seem to take up less space.

    Finally, as many others surely have, I have discovered packing cubes and swear by them. I read that on here as well. I bought some from Amazon. They are great for finding your stuff and quick pack/unpack.

  19. I travel 40 weeks a year, and have used carry-on only for two decades. I’ve checked a bag only a few times, when I have a tight connection and the overhead is already full. My trips are generally 2 to 4 weeks. Admittedly, my clothes are more functional than fashionable, but it’s clearly possible.

  20. I’m no longer subscriber to HLO (no status of any kind, and I strongly detest the zoo called fight-for-overhead and the grossly inflated “carry-ons” that seem to come in multiples). But I’m 100% believer that we own and take on trips waaaaaay too many items. And I get the kick out of utter disbelief of check-in staff: ok, how many people traveling? Adult plus two teenagers? Ok, how many bags? One? (pause) ONE??? Hmmm… let me weight it (smirk)… oh, it is only 15kg? Are you sure? Any hand luggage? Oh, only hand purse? Olrighty then…
    That approach gets me expedited through security quite often…

  21. “One tip with toiletries is only put liquids in your clear-bag. Although your toothbrush goes with the toothpaste, if you are running out of room in your clear bag keep the toothbrush somewhere else, such as a separate, ‘non-liquids’ resealable bag.”

    “They’ll give you a towel.”

    You don’t have to put your toothbrush in the same plastic bag as your toothbrush?

    And if your hotel has a beach club they will give you a towel?

    Oh, if only I’d known all of this for the past 25 years of International travel.

    This is important information for a 12 year old who has never flown before. But seriously, on OMAAT?

    And yet he can’t figure out how to put some cologne in a generic 3 ounce bottle?

    Finally, “If you find something you like, go with it”. Someone needs to tell us to get things we like, rather than things we don’t like? OMG….

  22. I printed my boarding pass for KLM/Delta in Budapest airport. Hand luggage only, I went through security and waited at gate. When I tried to board, well, surprise, my ticket was cancelled with no show. Apparently everybody has to get in the 2 miles long line to “check in” with agent.
    Love Europe

  23. For years we’ve been asking to see what’s inside Lucky’s bag, and he delegates it to the n00b? No offense, it’s an okay article, but not really what we’ve been asking for. We want to know how Lucky lives- not travels, lives- with just his two bags. We’d love to see what he takes with him everywhere

  24. This is really tricky if you travel for business. My job requires me to wear a suit for business meetings. The shoes I need for a suit cannot be the same I use for leisure or running. On a 1 week trip I cannot use the same dress shirts or ties every day. If it is cold I may need an overcoat which is not appropriate to wear casually when going out for dinner for example. Thus, it is not easy to travel with a carry on only.

  25. London is red hot on the liquids: LCY even requiring that the resealable bag is in fact sealed. It’s a great airport other than the long security lanes ( no fast track of any description), made better by the likelihood that hand luggage will be gate checked and consequently no need to rush aboard to secure space.
    In addition to a hard case carry on, I like to pack a couple of Muji parachute material bags . They weigh virtually nothing, are incredibly strong, have a slot to fit onto the carry on handle and can hold a significant amount . Not elegant but highly effective.

  26. @endre. It’s not just Europe. It depends whether security has equipment compatible with other systems. It’s the same in Singapore. That being said , I’m not aware of an issue in Budapest. Never happened to me It’s almost always possible to check online and go directly airside if you don’t have to go to the bag drop off
    If you travel to SE Asia pack light. You can easily buy clothes etc for little cost provided you don’t mind not wearing all your designer gear

  27. I usually travel HLO outbound for the reasons you mention and check in for return. I end up buying liquids for my home use or for gifts (or acquire too many amenity kits!), so always keep my TSA lock in one of the pockets for checking in the bag later.

    I’ve been enjoying your content, great addition to the team!

  28. I used to be pretty militant about not checking luggage (back when there was no cost associated). Longest trip I did that way was 14 months through Asia, Oz, New Zealand, and Fiji (in New Zealand we did a lot of back country camping and had a tent and bags tied onto our packs).

    I’ve grown a lot less militant about it as I’ve gotten older. As a family we’ll sometimes check one bag if we have stuff that can’t go in a carry on such as a large supply of sunscreen or a rigging knife. If we’re heading out west (or, a couple of years ago, Iceland) for camping we may need to check a couple of duffels for gear.

    Also, when going to Europe and “settling in” to one place for a week or two I’ll sometimes take more clothes than absolutely necessary because it’s easy to unpack only once and worth it for the flexibility.

    The real answer is that there’s no one size fits all approach to packing.

  29. My wife and I made a trip around the world. 33 days, 7 countries with only carry ons. It can be done.

  30. @ Karens
    “As an Asian female with some 7+ steps for my skincare routine alone…”

    You know that, no matter what you do, your skin will eventually wrinkle, and then a few years later you’ll die, right? Doesn’t matter how sophisticated your “skincare routine”. You. Are. Human. Why not just enjoy the fact, rather than try to paint yourself to look like something you’re not?

    @ James
    Hair product? Just get a haircut that doesn’t require hair product. A number 1 on the sides, number 3 on top should do it. Then you also don’t need to pack a brush or even a comb.

    I travel a dozen longhaul trips for work a year, the longest is 3 weeks, most are a week or two. I never have hold luggage. If I get desperate business hotels offer a laundry service: just wash and recycle the same clothes as needed (it’s not cheap, but you can pay for an awful lot of hotel laundry from not buying a Tumi suitcase…).

    For non-work wear, check out technical wool products from places like Icebreaker: I know they’re Kiwis, so that probably isn’t going to work for you, but they are, basically, adult pyjamas that you can wear whenever you’re not actually client-facing; absorbent, non-smelly, incredibly lightweight, easy to layer; and you can handwash at night and (except for the very heavyweight Arctic stuff) they’ll be dry and ready to wear by morning.

    As you wrote, shoes are the killer: never take more than 1 spare pair.

    The hand luggage bag is important too: forget these stupid 4-wheel spinners which are only any good on the pristine marble floors of airport terminals (try dragging one over the shingle driveway at the country spa hotel you’re staying at…). There’s a new US luggage company called G-RO which does brilliant bags, including axle-less, massive 2-wheeler carryons that are lighter to lug than anything else on the market.

  31. For most trips, I go HLO, and a good third to half of it is photography equipment. It’s so liberating!

    I swear by the Scrubba Stealth Washpack.

  32. There is a perception that females require a lot more luggage space than men however, I am constantly amazed at how “heavy” men travel. My trips are anywhere between two and three weeks, all International. I use one carryon spinner and a small backpack. I probably have a big advantage being only 120 pounds so my clothing is smaller in volume and weight. A typical trip load is two skinny jeans (one worn on the flights), one pair of leggings and an assortment of shirts and sweaters, shorts and t shirts for running, running shoes (worn), and usually ankle boots packed. I believe in compression bags – they work! The TSA and security people have greatly relaxed the makeup rules for women and mascara, eye liner, lipstick and like items are no longer counted as liquids. I use the 3 oz travel containers for shampoo and conditioner and small sample vials of perfume (at Sephora for free). The toothpaste is the travel size sold for $1 at Target or free with your dental cleanings. Everything fits nicely in a quart size plastic bag. Any medicine to include contact lens solution can be put in a separate quart size bag and isn’t counted against your allowance. I never check bags and usually about half way through a trip I utilize either hotel laundry or a laundromat. In the winter, I pack a puffer jacket (compresses incredibly small and weighs nothing) and layer. Scarfs and stocking caps are amazing for travel warmth. And honestly, I never come back from a trip wishing I packed heavier!

    Nice article!

  33. @ Justin – I find free hotel/airline toothpaste to be the weakest, blandest toothpaste I’ve ever used and doesn’t even seem to clean my teeth. Like free mouthwash they seem to use the least offensive and effective strength they can find!

  34. @ Aaron – I usually pack a weeks worth of clothes (i.e. 7 t-shirts, underwear, socks) and a few pairs of shorts and do laundry once per week. I will be writing about the logistics of long-term trips in a future post.

  35. One time, I was stressing about packing and my hair stylist said 5 words to me that changed my packing FOREVER.

    “You’re not leaving the *planet*.”

    LOL, so true. Wherever you go, you can probably get what you need.

    I am a HUGE proponent that you only need 3 things in this day & age.

    *Passport

    *Credit card

    *Internet access device (probably a phone or a laptop)

    Everything else can be worked out. I promise.

    When I went to Thailand “for the duration” (i.e. no return/onwards ticket) I learned that all the clothing you need is the clothes you stand up in (or sit down in, as is the case with flying). Coming from a much cooler climate, it’s hard to even buy the lightest weight clothing that you need in a tropical locale. Plus, things are probably cheaper where you’re going, and shopping is fun.

    To answer the question: Back in the Day, for a month “backpacking” in Europe, I took a bookbag. This was because I was young and ignorant of how people actually “backpacked” through Europe, and the only “backpack” I’d ever had experience with was a bookbag/daypack sort of thing. I wasn’t some grungy hippie dude, either, but a young woman who cared about how she looked (and smelled).

    I LOVE that scene in “Up In The Air” where he’s moving so quickly and efficiently. That was very well done and a good choice for this post. Bravo!

  36. I am girl traveling full-time HLO 32-litre backpack. For almost 10 years. LHR makes you seal the plastic bag so I tossed a couple things. I bought solid deodorant at LUSH cosmetics and use powder toothpaste. I love Luna “go” facial cleaning apparatus and 100ml bottle argan oil. I buy identical T by Alexander Wang t-shirts in 4 colors. For packing, I do clothes bundling technique which I find superior to rolling and I have no truck with those zipper compartments things…I travel full-time with my bf and he has 45-litre bag. I’ve learned a lot about what is essential. I carry with me what can instantly make me feel “like home” it’s just that my home is very, very small and fits in 1 bag. Sometimes I think about Mary Poppins pulling a lamp out of her bag.

  37. Leisure travel is easy. One can reduce some space by bringing throw away clothes, like ripped underwear and worn shirts, throwing them away as you go.

    Business travel is harder if its a longer trip needing more than one suit. As mentioned in the article, shoes take up space.

    Once, I was making a business trip to a very primitive country. I had to check in luggage. I checked in 5 days worth of food and WATER. Water in that country was not safe. Even bottled water was suspect because fraudsters would refill used containers with tap water and put a plastic seal on the cap.

  38. Good article and great feedback.

    Another issue for HLO no one has directly mentioned is carrying travel scissors. Travelled internationally for at least for three years without an issue until I checked in at Bangkok. Nailed (no pun intended)–they found my nail scissors in my carry-on. Like a toothpick–I suppose you could highjack a plane somewhere with this device but the larger point being I was somewhat surprised I had to surrender these (after much international travel) to airport security folks prior to boarding. The obvious lesson here is to clip your nails before leaving home. Sure you can buy replacements while traveling but I generally don’t have lots of time to do house chores.

    Maybe there’s a website somewhere that indicates warnings for travelers (e.g., no liquids thru London and no nail scissors thru Bangkok!). Just a thought.

  39. @the nice Paul writes “You know that, no matter what you do, your skin will eventually wrinkle, and then a few years later you’ll die, right? Doesn’t matter how sophisticated your “skincare routine”. You. Are. Human. Why not just enjoy the fact, rather than try to paint yourself to look like something you’re not?”

    That is not very nice, Paul.

    If you look old and especially if you are fat, you could lose out on career opportunities.

  40. I’m female and am militant about HLO. I buy the smallest carry on and the biggest purse and make it work regardless of the destination or climate. I did 2 weeks in Italy in the winter on 14lbs total (the carry on weight limit at the time). I use whatever toiletries the hotel provides, bring a small makeup/moisturizer bag with my few favorite things. I have one pair of good walking shoes and maybe cute sandals if they’re small if I need to dress it up. I’ve gone so far as to wear ugly, ill-fitting things that I planned to get rid of on the plane ride to the destination. After flying 14 hours in a gross outfit, I toss it when I get there. I save up all my less than perfect socks and underwear and toss those along the way too. Could I have donated the flight close to goodwill? Yes, but I don’t in this one case. Would I ever donate socks and underwear? Never, and feel no guilt about throwing them out after they’ve served their purpose. I create a lot of space this way. I wear a lot of slim profile thermals (I like Cuddle Duds soft wear) as a body layer for warmth. One clean one a day doesn’t take up much space. I then have a couple sweaters for the top layer. A couple pairs of pants will fit too. It is a lot easier in a warm destination, so I have more room for more pants, shirts, etc. I’ve only checked a bag twice in my life and try to avoid it at all costs. It works if you want it to work.

  41. In London, the “security officers” are just trying to annoy you rather than actually thinking or caring about security. Not only are there holes in the system (as in: enabling you to take more liquids than allowed), they simply force you to put liquids in a specific kind of bag without even scanning them. Sometimes they force you to take less liquids than you’re allowed to take based on bag size availability at security (in my experience they hardly ever allow transparent bags you have brought yourself – any advice is welcome).

    It’s quite outrageous if you ask me, but what are you gonna do? They seem to get a kick out of annoying passengers.

  42. Hello to all the ladies!! Love all your suggestions!

    I’m exclucivly carry only. A die hard!

    For my longest carry on only trip I did five weeks beginning in South African (Southern Hemisphere winter) then to Dubai, then Scandinavia. I’ve found that there’s no where in the world where you cannot pay someone to do your laundry or just buy a cheap cute dress, especially in South East Asia.

    @Karens for skincare I bought these 100 ml squishy refillable containers that I can fill with my favorite cleansers and lotions etc. I’ve got about as much as you in that department but the small containers make it easy to do carry on only.

  43. I’m a 5’3″ female and I try to go HLO as much as possible, for the following reasons:

    1) I can piece together a trip that has legs ticketed separately, without worrying about picking up my luggage at a stop before my destination (I avoid the term “final destination,” for superstitious reasons!).
    2) I don’t have to worry about my luggage getting lost.
    3) If I limit my luggage to a carry on and a personal item, I can move from airport or train station to hotel or apartment MUCH more easily
    4) When I don’t check luggage, I can go straight to security line, as long as I’ve obtained my boarding pass, which I always do
    5) Going HLO forces me to streamline the amount of items I am bringing on the trip. I’ve learned I need way less than I previously thought.

    Some tips related to cosmetics/skin care:

    1) Use contact lens cases to store small amounts of serums, facial oils, foundation and sunscreen. For many items, I use only a drop or two a day and this tip (which I got from a Youtuber) has really enabled me to fit my items in the 1 qt TSA liquids bag.
    2) If you are traveling to a big city, wait until you get there to buy some items–like shampoo and conditioner. I have long hair and I can go through a regular sized bottle of these in two weeks…easily.
    3) Someone already mentioned this, but bring wipes. You can buy antiperspirant wipes, teeth wipes (love these for the plane), makeup remover wipes. All of these are not required to be in your 1 qt. bag. To the TSA (and I’ve had no problem in Europe with these in Europe), wipes do not count as liquids.
    4) For skincare or hair styling products that will take up more space than provided by a contact lens case, Amazon sells little plastic jars, in a variety of sizes, which you can fill and label as you please.
    5) Any powdered products do not have to be in your 1 qt liquids bag. Those are fine anywhere in your checked luggage. So, take powdered eyeshadows and powdered blush if possible.

  44. @Endre I find that flying paid F I prefer the human interaction and extra TLC when checking in at the airport, so I don’t use OLCI.

  45. @memmie le blanc
    Solid deodorant is a good idea, but I got foiled recently at MAN when they decided they needed to open up my bag because I had something suspicious in it. The agent said he thought it was deodorant. I said, yes, it’s solid. He argued it was “water based”. Nope, solid. In the end he agreed it was solid, but insisted on putting it in my liquids bag anyway. (For what purpose, exactly?)

  46. @James

    Leaving your winter gear at home when travelling to a warm place may sound efficient, but it can backfire. A couple of years ago a plane full of tourists returning from Mexico slid off the runway on landing at YHZ in winter. People were left standing around outside in the snow late at night with shorts, t-shirts and flip flops while waiting for someone to find a bus to pick them up. Not pleasant! About a week or two earlier, the fire brigade at my local airport advised it’s best to dress for the conditions you will be encountering at landing, just in case. Prescient advice.

    Otherwise, enjoyed the article.

  47. My wife and I Are spending 11 days in Italy in May. HLO only. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with checked luggage in the past, so now I only check luggage on the return flight, and then only if I have purchased enough that it will no longer fit in my carry-on bags (I always bring a stuff bag in case I find something I can’t live without… like the camel saddle I bought in Morocco or the hand carved Bhuda I bought in Burma).

  48. @Taryn

    I do the exact same thing!

    Throwing away clothes along the way lightens your bag and makes room for anything you might find along the way.

  49. Liquids…….. when I fly through Australia domestic you can take a bottle of wine. Fly through Manchester however……anything over a dry mouth then your in real trouble ha !

  50. Well written James. Am enjoying your posts & looking forward to more. I do prefer a wheel bag than a carry bag from a weight & carry perspective.

    I agree re the airline toiletries, it not the weakest they are the smallest quantities. They are good for a refresher leaving or arriving Lounges. I always try & find a local Laundry & use them just before I ‘move on’. My normal ones in Asia do much better laundry than my hotel hand washing lol.

    I did struggle with HLO on my last trip of with a zipper blow out. It took patience & calm to get home before a Warranty replaced bag.

    Cheers 🙂

  51. Agree that London Airports security staff are obnoxious to say the least. I remember being hassled for at least 10 minutes because I forgot to take out my iPad.

    On the cologne front – check to see if there are sample tubes made for your brand. They’re tiny and take up virtually no space – plus you can sometimes snag them for free. Usually one tube will last me for a week-long trip.

    The only place I don’t do HLO is to Australia – I have family there who love to send things back with us and I like to bring back a few bottles of Bundaberg since it’s not available in the US.

  52. Packing “carry-on-only” is like a religion for me 😀 I love challenging myself to see how little I can get by with, how much I can get into one bag, how quickly I can pack/unpack in each new hotel, how much I can RESIST bringing … it’s a fun game.

    I’ve gone 3.5 weeks traveling around France with nothing more than a backpack, because, hey, France has laundromats! 🙂 As long as you build a few hours of laundry time into your schedule, and make sure you know WHERE the nearest laundromat is, you’re good to go. It’s actually a great way to meet locals and have great conversations with people you’d never have met on a typical tourist itinerary.

    I just bought my third Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22-inch rolling duffle, since I’ll be traveling with two of my adult daughters for 2.5 weeks in Spain. It’s the lightest one I’ve been able to find in that size that’s still durable (and has GREAT handles!), which will be important as we’re taking three flights on smaller planes. And small-plane gate agents can be awfully unforgiving when it comes to size and weight of carry-on bags.

  53. There’s another, not insignificant benefit to travelling without checked luggage: when I reach the destination airport, such as LAS, I can go to an airport lounge, such as the Centurion lounge, and relax, have a meal and drink, with complimentary access as a credit card benefit. If I had checked luggage, I would skip the lounge, because my checked bag would sit on the carousel while I’m in the lounge, and risk being stolen by a thief before the airline staff take the remaining bags to the luggage office. Anyone can just walk out with your checked bag at most of the airports I visit, without showing anyone the luggage tag affixed to the boarding pass.

  54. currently on a 100 day trip with HLO. I just stayed in RVN for a week, then to KIX, then now in IQT, so I experienced 50 degree celcius/90 degree Fahrenheit temperature change within a week. It was initially tough to pack, but eventually everything excluding my laptop ended up with only 6kg. Best thing about HLO is you can do throwaway tix with no problem, when I connected in BKK from AY to KE airside it is no hassle, and when the agent in ICN asks me three times how much luggage I would check for ICN-MAD-SCL-GYE-LIM-IQT, I answered three times no luggage with a huge smirk on my face. Having a backpack only makes it so much easier when I am on mototaxi, metro or buses. Sometimes I can even carry my bag around after my checkout and before going to the airport, allowing half a day more to see the city.

  55. I have done three weeks with one bag. My trick is Rohan (tohandesigns.com in US; Rohan.co.uk elsewhere) suits )x1; black T x 1; Drsss shirt and less dressy short 1 each; sopppr socks x2; underpants x2; Zemm trainers and a pair of shorts / bathing suit from LL Bean. All sink washable and fast drying.

  56. Generally good tips (and yes, most of the readers here would know most of these, but a reminder never hurts), a few notes:

    * Quick hint: for cologne, go to a store that sells your brand and ask the salesperson for a few samples.

    * Consider the hotels where you’re going. In the UK, I stayed in several smaller hotels where I could barely fit both of my hands in the sink, much less even a T-shirt or polo shirt. In Edinburgh I had to break down and go to a wash-and-fold, because I couldn’t find a coin laundry and I was down to my last…well, everything. And the whole “just take a shower with your clothes on” thing just does not work, at least not for me. I’ve tried it. The clothes are still wrinkled, and (at least in the UK) never got dry. (In the summer in Vegas or Arizona, this might not be a problem.)

    * On the other hand, in much of the US hotels most hotels well up into the mid-range places have coin laundry machines right in the hotel. There are a few exceptions (for example, Las Vegas), but most do. Or look for apartments for rent (I know some people don’t like AirBnB, but some condo complexes also have apartments for rent or allow owners to rent through their office, some are on hotels.com and you even earn reward for them) – these will usually have a washer and dryer in the apartment, or a complex laundry room.

    * For weddings: unless the ceremony is on a beach or something unusual like that, just accept that you are packing a bag unless you’re not in the wedding party and just flying in for a day or two. If you’re the bride or groom, consider checking a bag with the stuff you’ll need for the days up to and through the ceremony/reception, then having a friend take it home for you and going carry-on only for the honeymoon.

    * For cruises: if your cruise is longer than 3 or 4 days (tops), ignore all of this and just check a bag. Unless you are truly antisocial (and if you are, why are you going on a cruise?), you will want to dress for the “formal nights” (which for all but the highest-end cruises just means a business suit or female equivalent) and may also want to take clothes if there are “theme” nights. You will want to change clothes and shower after most shore excursions, expecially n summer in the Caribbean. The sink is too small to wash out anything other than underwear and socks, and laundry is OBSCENELY expensive. Even the guy behind the classic “One Bag” website has admitted in the past that cruises are an exception to the rule.

    * Which leads to the main consideration: what are you doing on your vacation, and how long is it? If you only have one week and want to cram in a lot of activities or sightseeing, or just want to maximize your drinking-and-flirting or doing-nothing-by-a-pool time, you may just not want to take the time to do laundry. Would you rather have to wait for a bag at the carousel for 30 minutes on both ends of your flight, or spend time doing laundry? I’ve done it both ways, and there’s no general “right answer.”

  57. Just completed my first HLO trip; 3 weeks Singapore/Sth Korea/Japan. Comprised a regulation 4 wheel cabin bag up to 7kgs full, and a ‘personal’ bag considerably heavier.
    My tips are to take clothes that can be washed together a few times. It won’t hurt your whites to be mixed one or 2 times. Leave that fussiness for home washing!
    Not for everyone I know, but Business class ( and F) does away with even thinking about being a few kgs overweight! Even on a short hop on Asiana from Incheon to Japan in Y presented no problems.
    Lastly, do pack some medicinal items you MIGHT need, as replacing them may be near impossible and be incredibly timewasting. They take up practically no space and weight.
    Regrettably, the nasty trend for even nicer hotels to supply their bathrooms with large pump-action dispensers makes it prudent to pack your own favorite toiletries.
    Just pare it down, don’t overdo it. After all one of the objectives of HLO is to travel light!

  58. Goodness gracious me – is Lucky retiring? James really seems to be taking over with all this deluge of postings or is that just excited keen to impress enthusiasm?

  59. Enjoying James’ articles!

    For me always HLO going over and occasionally check a bag coming back since I am often attending art/ training in Italy and bringing glass tiles or mosaics home.

    For toiletries on a 2 week trip, I bring smaller quantities of skin care items/creams in contact lens cases (or small generic plastic jars if more is needed), small tubes of t-paste (buying more if needed), and wipes for makeup removal/teeth whitener/mosquito repellant. I love bringing home drugstore items purchased abroad if I am checking a bag on the way back.

    Ditto above about taking the meds with you. I forgot a prescription and had to get it sent from US to Italy; after $85 to Fed Ex the bureaucracy didn’t let it get through until I was on my way back and the people who accepted it for me (after they themselves did multiple faxes) had to throw the meds away.

    My carry-on is a 21 inch BRIC bag; I use packing cubes and roll things tightly.
    For clothing, I wear a pair of slacks (black soft knit) and long cardi over a tank on the way over, and pack a second pair of black jeans (winter) or lighter ankle length (summer). 2 short sleeve/2 long sleeve (black, white, a color); ankle boots winter & walking sandals summer. Ex Officio undies that dry overnight. A pair of Arche flats. ; a puffy jacket if needed and this last winter I brought a Scott-e-vest Black Trench coat with the zillion pockets. Wear small earrings and a ring. Scarf and shawl.

  60. James, keeps on writing. I enjoy reading things that Lucky wouldn’t write. I believe your writing style will bring more common travelers(people that fly a few times a year) to this blogs.

  61. loved all the tips and info from these well traveled people on here. I recently left reading OMAAT because I do NOT agree with Ben’s liberal political statements he used to throw in from time to time. Anyway, don’t know why I came here today but ….great post. Must be a new writer it seems…Welcome. Just want to say that I traveled with my family of 4 (2 adults 2 kids age 12 and 13) for 7 months on a RTW trip. Ranging from extremely HOT (Bora Bora in November, to freezing Europe and Iceland in Feb – April) Visited 16 countries total and in all that time we each had 1 carry on (hard shell Samsonite) and 1 back pack each. (and a soccer ball we deflated each trip with a hand held pump). That was most of the questions at security about the soccer ball. We wore throw away clothes on the first flight out of NY (disguarded to the staff in Tahiti), then used more throw away clothes that my kids would grow out of anyway in a few months as we traveled on. Went to hot climates first disguarding shorts and pants as we needed to and buying what we needed along the way (new sneakers for the kids, toiletries, socks and more socks and under ware) . When we left Thailand we gave kids we met all the summer kids clothes we had and my dresses and tank tops. THen flew to Paris in February with half empty suitcases. we had NO winter clothing. After arriving late at night and getting to our rented apartment in Paris, next morning we walked in 35 degree (F) weather to the nearest moderate priced clothing store (equivelant to a Target) and purchased $225 worth of clothing for ALL 4 of us for the next 2 months. Including winter coats, 1 pair pants each (we each had another pair ) 3 shirts each, warm socks, hats, gloves, and a few other items.
    Like many people said….you can get anything practically anywhere. We knew we could not be bogged down with luggage this trip so one suitcase was it, carry on only. Kids even had workbooks and school stuff in theirs. Cant wait to someday do this again. By the way, the Samsonite suitcases worked great, even wheeled through cobblestones in Brugge, Venice and ROme for long walks. No problem.

    Love the tips on contact lens cases and small purfume samples and wipes. Love the wipes.

    SKi trips wont work with HLO. SOlution……ship out a bin of your ski clothes ahead of schedule to the hotel. Most ski trips involve staying at one location anyway. Ship it in a Rubbermaid bin, even put your ski boots in there too. Good luck.
    Must say that the only time I can not do HLO is ski trips. IMPOSSIBLE. SKi clothing takes up so much room, BUT i learned to

  62. Two full weeks plus a long weekend to India…17 days start to finish. Used a medium-sized backpack that could fit under the seat if absolutely necessary.

  63. Anything over a weekend I need a checked bag. I do a lot of shopping wherever i go, and I also like to have options regarding clothes & shoes.

  64. lol, turns out @The nice Paul isn’t nice at all. Why do you take a bath if you know you gonna stink at the end of the day ?. Its normal for women to have several steps of facial care not only to prevent wrinkle, but also to fix and maintain skin. Aging is inevitable. But there’s nothing wrong to look good and fresh in your old days

  65. @Derek
    “If you look old and especially if you are fat, you could lose out on career opportunities.”

    Why on earth would you want to work in places where your skills and talents were less important than looking like someone’s culturally-determined idea of what is perfect?

    @Zzx
    “It’s normal for women to have several steps of facial care not only to prevent wrinkle, but also to fix and maintain skin.”

    I think you mean “some women”. People can of course do as they please; but the assumption that their own 7-step skincare programme is normal (or is ultimately going to make any difference) is just plain wrong.

    @dave
    I don’t know what a goof is, but I’m intrigued by the implication that, in a comments section, no man is allowed to respond to a woman (or, I assume, vice versa). What other groups should never be allowed to respond? Should The Gays never say anything about straight people? Isn’t exposure of our different perspectives the first stage in a dialogue leading to better understanding (assuming, like me, you’re willing to be challenged, ‘fess up to being wrong, etc)? But if nobody ever says anything, well…

  66. I always check my luggage and carry nothing onto the plane simply because I hate carrying anything in my hands and worrying about what I can bring on the the plane !

  67. No way would I ever travel HLO. Many airports are very large; once I had to walk literally a mile to get to the gate which was at the opposite end of the airport. I check in everything possible and get up the plane with just my passport. I never need to worry about finding space overhead as the small bits and bobs all fit comfortably unde the seat in front.

    Baggage allowance has become a bit of a luxury in travel so why not maximise this luxury if you can? Nobody would say no to a free upgrade to a bigger room, an onboard shower, a fancier brand of champagne…. For me it started when the EK checkin staff told me, you’re entitled to 40 kg but you only have 8. Lots of people would love to have that extra allowance.

    On some flights I have both status and premium seating so the allowance is a mind-boggling 60kg. It is a fun challenge to see how much of that I can use. Once I bought 20 kg of luscious, ambrosial mangoes and gave them all away to friends and family and random people. (Still didn’t hit 60 though.)

    @James, good luck with the one pair of jeans. I know mine would be ruined with sweat climbing the batu caves. My brother also travels with only one pair of jeans; he is a smelly boy so it doesn’t bother him. Until the day he slipped and fell in the mud on a rainy day.

  68. Hi James,

    Nice article with good tips! Love to travel HBO as well.
    I really like your bag on the picture, could you share the brand and model?
    Cheers
    A

  69. @ Lilly Ming – when OMAAT first put out the call for new Contributor(s) they were looking for up to 10 posts per week to help take some of the load off Ben who posts up to 50 posts a week. I’m managing about 5 – 7 a week at the moment which feels like a good number. I can assure you Ben is not retiring!

  70. OK James but you certainly seem to be way outshining Lucky in terms of writing style, interest, intellect and content Carrying on in the way that you have started, can you perhaps address the anomaly of the Skytrax 5 star rating award system?

  71. Lol @the nice Paul.. as an ex cosmetics analyst I actually pity you for not understanding the long term benefit of proper skin care. Say what you want, but there’s a reason some people look much younger and healthier than others 🙂 Easy celebrity example: Salma Hayek, Jennifer Anniston.

    For others, thanks for the defence and tips! That contact lens solution is a separate allowance from the liquid restriction is especially helpful as I wear contact lenses and usually put the solution as part of the liquid allowance – having it under a separate allowance goes a long way!

  72. @ Karens

    Thanks for your pity – much appreciated!

    Even though they start off with extraordinary genetic advantages*, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Aniston are photographed by top professionals in carefully controlled conditions after an army of stylists and lighting experts have done their very best. They are then held up (like you have just done) as role models that every woman should aspire to match, and which they are failing to achieve unless they spend hours every day slapping chemicals on their faces (bought at vast expense from the industry for which you used to work). The “science” behind most of this stuff is sheer garbage. It is purely about capitalism trying to make people feel crappy about themselves unless they spend money on product to make themselves look “lovely”.

    The other thing to note – and you are not the first person to hint at it – is the idea that looking “younger” is somehow important. Ageing is a natural process. It happens to all of us (no matter how much we spend on cosmetics…). It won’t stop the inevitable. But I would respectfully suggest that our society has got it wrong – worshipping youth (which is only achievable by the young) is a dead end. Literally. Doing so means you have to spend most of your life raging impotently against the ravages of time, wearing ever-thicker cosmetic masks to try to pretend that you are something you are not.

    That just doesn’t sound very healthy to me – mentally, let alone physically. And health is about both the physical and the mental. Companies creating and preying on insecurities to sell more product is a pretty lousy way of making a living.

    * These advantages are strictly temporal though – what is considered beautiful in western-ish cultures in 2018 won’t be the same in other places or times. Have a look at images of the hottest Hollywood female stars of the 1920s: today most of them would be considered chubbies who need to get into the gym. More recently, someone as gorgeous as Marilyn Monroe would be dismissed as a fatty.

  73. I think it depends on the purpose of your trip and where you are going. Only hand luggage for over a few days on a business trip where suits are required is not ideal for most people. Besides these days people need multiple pairs of shoes because of using the gym, etc. With this said, I am always amazed at how much stuff I can pack in my carry on roller bag. A couple of pairs of shoes, a jacket, a pair of trousers, a couple of suits, gym clothes, plus a few other things.

  74. For those airline employees traveling on standby, traveling with carryon luggage is essential. That way you can quickly chose whatever flight has space, as things constantly change at the airport.

    For those flying confirmed, having no checked luggage certainly helps during irregular operations as many airlines will want you and your bag to travel together which can take time and limit your rebooking options.

  75. I think large Hand Luggage on planes is one of the biggest banes of modern travel. I causes boarding and deboarding to be unnecessarily drawn out, people waiting in long lines for 30+ minutes just so they can avoid waiting for 10 mins at the carousel, definition of crazy to me. The best thing airlines could do to reduce frustration would be to severely limit carry-ons to what you are willing to keep on your lap or under the seat in front.

  76. @ James : Your articles could do with being peer-reviewed before publication. As others have implied above, this latest article is somewhat trite and lacking in perspective. The minor inconvenience of sometimes having to wait for a bag to arrive on the carousel is as nothing, when compared to travellers arriving at destinations without the things need, and without the possibility of being able to buy them easily (or at all) locally. Not everyone stays in 3/4/star hotels; sometimes, an appartment is better. Do you never take gifts to people you are visiting? And the thought of travelling without a spare set of underwear is quite bizarre. (I know you have corrected this omission in one of your replies, but even so!). A more rounded view of the subjects you are writing about is needed, unless you are deliberately playing the protagonist?

    @ The nice Paul : As ever, your thoughts are wise and well expressed. Please let me know, if and when you establish a colony for civil, considerate people of all ages and persuasions. I will apply for membership!

  77. My tips:
    1. Maximise the internal volume of your wheelie. If it is a cuboid then get one with 2 wheels mounted in the corners, not a 4-wheel spinner. The space occupied by the 4 wheels and the air between them eats into the allowed volume. Avoid wheelies with heavily rounded corners or fussy internal compartments (again, they cut your volume). Get an expandable wheelie, not a hard plastic shell. The extra few inches when expanded can be reduced if the check-in staff get antsy, but it is handy for emergencies and stuff you pick up on the journey. Mine is a Samsonite X’Blade 2.0 (this is not an ad).
    2. If pushed for space in your wheelie, carry an additional laptop bag separately that will fit under the seat in front (check the rules).
    3. When travelling economy, ignore the boarding-by-rows announcements. They usually let you through anyway, and you reduce your risk of having your carry-on checked in if the overhead bins are full.
    4. Smart chinos will suit any occasion, jeans may not. Take minimal other clothes and assume the hotel laundry will return within 2 days.
    5. If you need a laptop, get a slim, light one (e.g. Dell XPS13) that will fit almost any room safe. Put all your documents except passport in your device – who still prints out eTickets or hotel confirmations?
    6. Pack a universal power socket adapter. Saves time in hotels.
    7. Don’t bother with other chargers if your laptop has a powered USB port. Charge from that. Many newer hotel rooms and an increasing number of airlines have USB ports anyway.
    8. Get a Skype-in number (with voicemail) in the place you live, and forward your home line to it, then you can pick up a local pre-paid data SIM wherever you go and not worry about roaming charges, and your callers may not even realise you are away.
    9. Don’t pack nail-scissors – some airports confiscate them. Take a nail-clipper instead.

  78. I split my toiletries. Solids, razors, Q-tips, etc in one container that can be buried and another clear bag for liquids at the ready (if traveling HLO). My deodorant is a solid. I’ve also dropped bar soap (it’s a mess and hotels soaps work fine for most trips).

    I did HLO to Asia a couple of years ago. I did a roll-along and an under the seat backpack. This set-up worked pretty well. But the whole thing requires abandoning shopping and acquiring darn near anything. I only bought a couple of things and my bags were bursting on the trip home (not so fun).

    I’ve shifted mostly to checking a bag. It makes traveling so much easier and more comfortable (not dealing with toiletries, etc.)

    And don’t sweat the criticism. You got a ton of comments so lots of people are reading your article. That’s a win!

  79. After my delayed flight landed and at the gate for the connection.

    GA: I’m sorry sir the overhead bin is full, we need to gate check the bag.

    Me: But my laptop is inside.

    GA: Sir we will send it to the destination for you, here is the tag.

    Me: But …….. But ……… Or ………
    (Can’t take later flight, have to fly)

    Then at destination, my bag never arrive.

    Me: Here is my bag tag.
    Agent: Sir there is no record of bag, just a printed tag.
    Me: What do you call this.
    Agent: Your bag tag.
    Me: So???
    Agent: Please call this 800 number.

  80. On the contact lens solution, just a heads up that not all security agents abide by the practice of putting it in a separate medications bag; one agent (LHR) denied liquids in the med case entirely; the other (FCO) had me pour out most of the liquid in the > 3 ounce bottle to get the amount 3oz or less. (I tossed it instead.) .

  81. There is no way HLO works for me when I am on my annual 3- to 4-week “Year-end Asia Escapade”™. Last year, I did 7 cities in 6 countries, mid-December ’17 to mid-January ’18, covering N (winter) and SE Asia (scorching hot), requiring clothes for vastly different weather conditions, including beachwear!

    The rest of the time, for trips of < 3 weeks, it is HLO always.

  82. I miss the ability to take even a crappy pair of scissors in HLO! They are so useful for many minor things you probably don’t give a second’s thought to. I pack inoffensive tiny craft scissors a four year old would be familiar with, and go as far as possible before some officious ‘security’ type deceides otherwise. No dramas (don’t do that!); just accept it. They cost less than $2. You would be surprised how far you can get though.

  83. Toothpaste powder. Wet the toothbrush and sprinkle on the powder. Brush as usual. Not counted as a liquid/gel so no need to put in liquids bag.

  84. For winter, I bought one of those 1oz multi-foldable nylon bags with its own cover.
    Once in the terminal (or connecting-inside train) I put my (light or heavy) coat in it.
    So I get to carry it on without overheating inside it, and can put it on if unexpectedly at a remote stand.

    On longer trips I also pack a larger multi-foldable bag, so that like others here, it is easy to check a (extra) bag on the way back – after all , on the return journey an airline delivering the bag to home a few days later is not a great problem.

    @mpkossen
    I use 1l resealable bags from Waitrose and have never had any problems with those in London or elsewhere.

  85. @ 1KBrad – I always pack a nice shirt or two for those nice nights out! I just find I don’t wear them nearly as often as plain t-shirts. I’m much more comfortable on board in a black t-shirt than a long-sleeve shirt.

  86. I agree with everything you wrote about traveling HLO except 1 thing: I used solid antiperspirant/deodorant and do not include it in my toiletry plastic bag. In England they have never considered it a liquid or gel and I do not even pack it with my other liquids/gels. This has worked for me in nearly 50 countries in the last decade.

  87. My best friend and I take a few trips together each year, and last year, we both decided to get “travel backpacks” for our Europe trips. (I’m usually a hardside suitcase fan.) I snagged the Tucano Tugo large travel backpack and slim packing cubes from eBags for $75 (before an Amex Offers statement credit). I also carried a $29 Ciao convertible underseat carry-on from Costco that is the greatest bag…I couldn’t not have a bag with a book, snacks, etc. for under the seat. We tried it out on our travels through the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany first, and it was fantastic. Getting on and off trains was so much easier, and it was essential for climbing stairs in AirBNBs. A few months later, we did the same thing in Italy and it went just as well. I’d highly recommend it for active travel! My Tucano bag is decent, especially for the price. I do wish it had a waist strap for a little less strain on the back, but it’s manageable. 🙂

  88. @Karens I am totally with you. BB+CC+ air cushion, serum and hand lotion etc… Won’t work for me either

  89. Amazed it took so long for someone to say the obvious…..thanks @Michael

    Michael says:
    April 15, 2018 at 12:22 am
    It’s actually usually referred to as HBO

  90. @Tim Gulick — Ah, I’m jealous. I got dinged on my solid deodorant at—you guessed it—London Heathrow. But everywhere else it’s never posed a problem.

  91. At some temperature, everything is solid – so freeze all your toiletries. No liquids, problem solved!
    :o)

  92. I think it’s funny how the die-hard HBO loyalists talk about how freeing it is, then slog through large airports with their stuffed roller bags and heavy backpacks, while I blow by them with just my computer backpack on. Granted, 99% of my travel is domestic US open-ended business trips so I’m not as worried about my luggage going missing, and the 20 minute wait at the baggage carousel is better than the 30-60 minutes or more I could spend shopping for items I didn’t pack. Plus, the last thing I want to do after a 12 hour work day is get to my hotel and do laundry.

    International and complicated itineraries is a different story, as the potential for lost luggage increases. Leisure trips, I’m more in the ‘backpacker’ mindset. Work trips, I’ll get creative with my largest carry-on or just check it if it’s a non-stop flight.

  93. I am HBO on the outbound trip and checked on the inbound, either with a local duffle or an IKEA duffle (it’s like their shopping bag, but with a zipper. Rugged and light.)

    I don’t keep my makeup in my liquids bag, including mascara, air cushion, primer, lipstick, etc. I’ve never had any security agent give me any grief over this – including 3 trips through Gatwick where I was given grief for every other possible thing. I second the use of “wipes” for makeup remover, DEET, etc.

    I’ve built out a travel wardrobe in complementary/same colors in layers. The same rain coat went to Iceland and Peru, in the former it just had a lot more under it. In this way I can remix the clothes easily for different occasions and weather. The tank top is standalone when its hot and base layer when it’s cold. I bought a DVF silk wrap dress that resists odors and wrinkles, can be hand washed, has pockets and can be rolled up and then fluffed out pretty easily. It is fancy enough for anything short of a ball yet can fit into a small space.

    I do prefer wheeled luggage because it’s true that carrying a big bag on your back gets old. I have the TravelSmith 21″ when weight isn’t a factor and the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 for when it is. I’ve done three 6 week, multi country tours of Asia and Africa HBO (outbound). I’ve also had my checked luggage delayed twice with disastrous impact to my trip, so I don’t expect to change this approach any time soon.

  94. In my prior job with an investment bank, I traveled around the world with just a Samsonite luggage (the two-wheeled kind that fits nicely into the overhead bins), my briefcase and two suits in a lightweight suit bag (the good quality kind that you get when you buy Zegna suits). This happened no more than twice a year from my base in Singapore, and involved one week in Europe followed by one week in the USA. In Europe, it would involve London for two days and then a combination of Edinburgh, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan, or Frankfurt. In the US, it would be at least two days in New York, then a combination of Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington DC, Omaha, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

    It helped that I was on Business class the whole way so amount of carry on luggage and luggage weight was not an issue.

    – On board the flight, I’d wear: long sleeve black t-shirt, jeans, comfy socks, brown leather shoes
    – My Samsonite luggage had: five business shirts, seven boxer shorts, seven pairs of socks, one black casual long-sleeved shirt, a couple of comfy plain t-shirts, black leather business shoes (all my socks were rolled tightly and stuffed into the shoes), toiletry kit, two pairs of suit trousers. Depending on time of the year, I would also include a lightweight sweater or casual jacket.
    – My suit bag: two suit jackets

    My strategy was always to get everything laundered and/or dry cleaned by the hotel during the weekend before the second week of meetings. And of course this fell apart once when the hotel (thank you Aloft Houston!) forgot to send out the shirts to be laundered and I had to traipse down to the nearest laundromat to do my own washing!

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