Plan your luggage needs carefully

Giving lots of advance thought to your baggage is becoming more and more important for airline travellers.

The number of airlines charging for check-in luggage has accelerated the trend toward flying with carry-on bags only.

And that, in turn, has led to passengers stuffing as much as they can into overhead cabin bins.


Carry-on bags have got bigger and bigger, stretching cabin luggage limits.

Even in new-age planes with particularly big overhead bins –  it isn’t certain that you can stow your cabin bags near your seat.

To overcome this problem, travellers are tending to rush onto the aircraft leading to unsightly jostling for prime positions at the boarding gate.

On some of our most recent flights, we saw people literally running down the jetway to board early, just to get overhead luggage space near their seats.

So, it’s wise to prepare for the liklihood of your cabin bags ending up at one end of the plane, while you are seated at the other. This is important to consider if you need to get to medication, iPads, laptops etc during the flight.

If you are like us and usually opt for multiple airlines, it’s also smart to examine check-in baggage requirements across all companies – even it you have a single ticket only.

For example, in Spring we flew from Sydney to Athens with Scoot Airlines, which had a generous baggage allowance.

However, we had to keep in mind the fact that, on alighting, we were off to Crete with Aegean Airlines, which wasn’t as generous.

It’s also common sense to make use of the discounts for paying online.

This doesn’t stop with baggage fees. With some airlines, it can be cheaper to print your boarding pass at home, instead of the airport.

Travel packing

Excess baggage: couriers may offer an answer.

It’s rather embarrassing  – and can be quite costly – to reach the airport check-in counter only to find that your bags are too heavy.

These days, airlines strictly enforce the amount of checked baggage and carry-on luggage on international flights; and any more than your ‘free’ baggage allowance may incur additional charges.

It happened to us once at Berlin – causing us to frantically re-pack our carry-on bags and jettison heavy paperwork.


Photo: Pexels

However, the silver lining behind all this may be the advent of so-called ‘Delivery to Door Couriers’.

These services apparently collect baggage from your door and deliver it to your destination – leaving you to enjoy a hassle-free journey.

It’s an interesting idea, especially if you are travelling in Europe where distances between destinations can be short.

Firms operate in Europe and the US; we know of at least one that sends that type of box by air or sea from Australia; and there are operators that advertise a world-wide service.

What’s involved?

The service generally includes air freight, customs clearance, terminal fees, and local delivery costs to your international address.

Like normal airline baggage, there are, of course, restrictions on dangerous goods.


P{photo: Pexels

But it does avoid the hassles of being laden down with back-breaking baggage; constantly weighting your load in fear; and the boring ritual of standing with crossed fingers at airport baggage carousels.

We’re yet to try one of these services but, like everything else, it seems that the widespread adoption of the idea would probably have a lot to do with cost and convenience.

From all reports, it appears that the cost, naturally, depends on how much luggage you want shipped and where.

And, ‘Delivery to Door’ couriers certainly seem to have convenience covered.


Photo: Pexels

So, if you are are concerned about the possibility of excess baggage, these couriers may be well worth a look.

If you do use one of these firms, let us know how it works, so we can share details of the experience.

Personal travel planning Tips travel Travel packing

Consider a carry-on bag only

As part of our  quest to explore travel bargains, today we look at the pros and cons of packing light and using a carry-on bag only.

For a start, it requires packing discipline, there’s no doubt about that.

But it also reduces baggage hassles and costs; and ends the need for waiting around  airport carousels forever wondering whether your luggage will arrive.

As backpackers have long known, having only a carry-on bag  saves money with budget airlines and also eases handling problems if you are catching public transport; coaches; Uber; taxis; or hire cars.

But is it for you?


The big question is whether you feel the packing discipline involved is worth the benefits of travelling with a small bag only.

It is certainly not for everyone, but it’s a nice feeling to arrive at an airport, grab your bag and head out the door while the others wait for checked-in bags that may or may not arrive

Packing tips

However, here are a few of our basic requirements for trying carry-on only:


Carefully check carry-on bag size and weight requirements for your airlines.  This is vital as the allowances may vary from airline to airline.

Ensure each airline you are using allows a personal item (handbag etc) as well as a carry-on bag. We once struck a hurdle when easyJet refused to allow Sue’s handbag on a flight from London Gatwick to Copenhagen (the handbag wasn’t even as full as usual). This was a ‘first’ for us, but Sue simply put the handbag in her carry-on luggage and all was fine.

So check your airlines to ensure that each passenger is allowed a personal item (handbag, laptop bag etc) as well as a carry-on bag. If so, make maximum use of the personal item.

Go digital

Paper can be particularly heavy, so make maximum use of electronic travel aids.There are some wonderful travel planning apps and incredible online assistance services for travellers.  We are hoping to review these in the near future, so keep watching. However, suffice to say for us anyway, the days of heavy paper itineraries, maps, travel guides etc are passing fast

Most airline tickets – and, in fact, tickets for all transport and just about everything else – can now be stored on electronic devices, which means you need only swipe your iPhone at the gate before getting onboard. If you intend doing a lot of bus, train, ferry and coach travel etc check whether these tickets can be downloaded and stored in advance.


Check the weather

Carefully check weather forecasts for your holiday locations.

For Europe in particular, we use the modern Norwegian forecast service

Line up a washer

Arrange your holiday so that you will have access to a washing machine, laundry or laundromat. This means that you can take less clothing. Simple.

Don’t pack for worst-case scenarios. You can always buy. If there’s a chance you won’t wear it, don’t take it.

Try pants that convert to shorts and coats that convert to layers.


Consider wearing one pair of shoes while flying –  and pack only one other pair (go on – you can do it)

For cobblestoned areas, avoid heels.

Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Vacuum bags make things heavier.

Use T-shirts for layers.

If you are going on a cruise or a place where you may need formal wear, check to see if it can be hired for the night, rather than lugging it with you.

Stuff socks and underwear inside your spare pair of shoes.

Wear heaviest clothes (jeans etc) on the plane.

Consider wilderness wash in place of shampoo, conditioner, soap and detergent. However, it must be in clear plastic containers meeting security requirements (check this online with your airlines)


Use a portable backup battery and universal adapter for iphone/ipad, instead of a tangle of chargers


We put medicines in a clear container, photograph original pill boxes and carry scripts on us. However, it is smart to get a doctor’s advice first.

Beware of underwire bras. Sue has set off airport metal detectors, but that’s another story for another day.

Travel packing