travel

"I'm an avid traveller, and people don't believe me when I tell them what I pack."

I travel a lot. This tends to mean I spend a lot of time packing.

This year, I’m making some weighty goals to travel (both near and far) exclusively with carry-on luggage only. That’s a total of seven kilograms.

The idea came about after I walked 922km along the Camino de Santiago two year ago. I carried everything I would need for thirty-two days in a backpack weighing 10 kilograms. After the first few days of walking, when I could see how much progress I was making, I realised how much easier travelling was without heavy luggage. In an odd way, it was kind of enlightening.

I wondered, how great it be if you could travel long term without the stress of a bag the size of small child on your back. And then – it happened – the light bulb moment. What if I just take carry-on luggage for all my future travels?  

In all honesty, I had no idea where to begin, so I did what most do – I asked Google for help. One out of 1,870,000 results piqued my interest: Project 333. Creator Courtney Carver set’s the theory that you segregate your wardrobe and hand pick 33 items to wear for three months (excluding active wear, underwear & loungewear). This was going to be tough.

I figured if I can last three months with 33 items of clothing (including accessories and shoes– I’ll give you a moment to get your breath back) then surely I can travel for an extended period of time with just seven kilograms. Surely!

It was an exciting goal but it was also a logistical nightmare, particularly given my heaving wardrobe and habitual love for clothes, accessories and swimwear.

In reality, it was beyond easy; I separated each item into one of three categories; charity bin, keep for another season or keep for the challenge (by this point you’re probably thinking “ain’t nobody got time for this sh*t” and believe me, I hear you.) But the Christmas holidays enabled me a solid two weeks to get it done and it’s been a total game changer.

If Tidying Up with Marie Kondo hasn’t taken over your television and changed your life already – you need to stop what you’re doing, pull a sickie and sort it out. In a nutshell she’s an organisational goddess who visits people’s homes and asks them if the items they’re hoarding spark joy. Author and host of her own de-cluttering television series, Marie Kondo speaks openly about how clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep and ability to focus. I could definitely relate; being surrounded by clutter was getting me down.

Admittedly, my obsession with de-cluttering started before Marie Kondo came to Netflix – not in the cool ‘I knew the band before they were famous’ kind of way, more the ‘wow I should really do something about this’ kind of way. In this case, I was fortunate to have the time to actually do something about it. And so I did!

So, if you’re wondering why on earth carry-on travel would be of advantage to anyone, allow me to enlighten you, these are some great reasons why carry-on is king:

  • Not having to wait months for your luggage to appear on the conveyor belt post flight.
  • Most airlines require you to check in between one and three hours before boarding – not with carry on! Just check in online, download your boarding pass and away you go, cruising in for your pre-flight glass of bubbles.  
  • Never experience lost luggage again. Your travel companion is always near.
  • It’s less of a burden when trudging through airports, train/bus stations. Having to carry a wheelie bag, handbag , day pack and ask for directions all at the same time, not ideal.
  • The clothes you actually do take away with you – you love. And for the most part, all your pieces will work together like a stylish, clothing version of the Tetris game.
  • Once the initial shock of feeling like there aren’t enough outfit options wears off – the sentiment of needing less is the ultimate feeling of freedom.

So how am I actually going to do this? With this trusty companion of course!

carry on luggage
This is the backpack Alexandra is taking. Image supplied.
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To pull this off, it’s all about the vessel. After much sourcing and scouring, I finally found the OnePlanet Backpack. OnePlanet are great because they’re Australian born and manufactured. This 40L backpack has the approved airline dimensions, plus its waterproof so there’s no need for a rain cover. The only down fall: it weighs 1.5kg.... which means my luggage allowance for clothing just dropped down to 5.5kg.

Uh oh.

Whilst I’ve successfully achieved this with domestic travel (I mean, who hasn’t, nobody likes paying for extra airline luggage amiright?) international travel will be a whole different ball game. But I reckon I’m up for the challenge and I dare you to take it on too.

Good Luck!

Lexi has a penchant for exploring the globe, she’s an adventurer with an incurable case of curiosity. You can read more of her work on her travel blog http://www.avaycay.com Or find her at @whoislexiconnors on Instagram or @avaycay on Facebook.

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