The Advantages of Only Travelling with Carry-on Luggage

Okay, so maybe it won’t be possible if you are going on a six-month backpacking stint and you have a lot of things to carry with you. However, if are going on a short getaway for a weekend or even a couple of weeks – have you ever considered traveling with only carry on luggage?

Traveling with Only Carry On Luggage : Summer Travellers
Summer Travellers: Photo on Flickr by Pabak Sarkar / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Traveling with Only Carry On Luggage

You might be thinking I’m crazy, but just think about it for a moment. How much stuff do you really need to take with you? When you remember that you can wash your clothes in the sink as you go and if you are smart with mixing and matching your outfits, you will be able to enjoy the many advantages of traveling with only carry on luggage.

Here are some of the reasons to consider it:

Heavy Luggage is a Pain – Literally

When you are dragging around a stuffed suitcase or lugging an enormous backpack on your back with another one strapped to your front, you are putting a lot of strain on your body. You’ll be sore and aching at the end of the day and you will risk hurting yourself when you try to lift your luggage up the stairs or load it into vehicles. You’ll be more awkward on public transit, you’ll not be able to run to catch a train and just walking through the airport will be a physical toil.

Traveling with Only Carry On Luggage : Rucksacks

You’ll Be Out of the Airport ASAP

When traveling with only carry on luggage, you drastically reduce the time you have to spend in the airport. You will be able to simply walk to your gate without having to drop off your luggage and during a layover you won’t need to pick up your bags and drop them off again. Then, when the plane lands you will be able to walk right past all of the people who are staring at the baggage carousel and be on your way to your hotel before they even get their suitcases.

It Will Save You Money

Some airlines are pretty ridiculous in the way that they love to charge you extra for your luggage. For example, Ryanair charges 50 euro for an oversized bag as well as 20 euro for every additional kilogram if your bag is overweight at the gate. Bringing just your carry-on bag will help you to save money on your flight.

Traveling with Only Carry On Luggage : Admiring the view
Admiring the view

So, How Can You Do It?

If you want to take on the challenge and pack lighter, here are some tips for making it happen.

  • Only pack clothes that will co-ordinate with everything else you have packed. If it doesn’t work in multiple ways, leave it at home.
  • Buy a bag that fits within the carry-on size limits. You’ll naturally fill whichever bag you bring, so a smaller bag makes you pack more efficiently.
  • Never bring books – they are too bulky and heavy. Invest in an e-reader so that you can keep hundreds of books on a tiny device.
  • Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes and wear the bulkier ones on the plane.
  • For ladies a scarf or a sarong is an amazingly versatile item. It can be a beach cover up, blanket, scarf, shawl and many other things.

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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