Select Page

So in my last blog I wrote about how my plan was to take only carry on luggage for my entire 6 month trip around Europe. Not only to make my trip easier by only carrying a light backpack across the continent – but also so my stuff wouldn’t get wrecked, I wouldn’t have to wait for my bags at airports and I could have things with me at all times for security (planes, busses, trains etc).

Now this is all very good IN THEORY. The reality however is if you’re planning on travelling with just carry on luggage, these are the things you need to know, that I have discovered, in just one week.

The troubles with carry on only:

1. Domestic flights in Australia are fine.

I was able to board my Virgin Australia flight no problems with my MEI Voyager (max carry on size permissible) everything was off to a good start.

2. My international flight on Royal Brunei Airlines, however, wasn’t quit as smooth

At the check-in desk in Melbourne, they only allow 7kg – and they weigh EVERY bag. No exceptions. So my 9kg luggage was not allowed to come with me! Despite smiling nicely.  (I was taking some stuff over for the people I was staying with so had a bit extra in my bag).

3. Have a contingency plan!

Luckily for me I alway have a back up plan, its just part of my conscientious nature – so I had brought with me a foldout 15L backpack that was easily unrolled, so laptop, toiletries  change of clothes and valuable electrical goods were easily transferred to a smaller carry on and padlocks were put on my main bag. (If you’re super security conscious you should know that there are 3 zips on the MEI Voyager that can’t be locked – but it’s designed for carry on so it makes sense.

4. Don’t panic!

After hurriedly transferring my goods into my carryon bag and checking in my main bag – I then realised that there were a lot of people in the waiting lounge with two bags! Even though the website said that in economy – only one bag was allowed (plus laptop sleeve or handbag) there were many people walking around with two big bags! So technically I could have taken my MEI on board, so long as I transferred 2kg into the second bag.

5. Transit Lounges

As I took a cheap flight I had two stop overs, a 2hr in Brunei and 30mins in Dubai. It was actually a blessing in disguise that I didn’t have my bigger (still small) bag on me – as I had to go through a number of security checks and carry the bag around quite a distance of airport! (seemingly just for the sake of it) so it was actually ok having my smaller bag.

6. Repacking

Once I got to Heathrow I found a coffee shop, opened my bag and re-packed the items from the smaller bag, rolled up the fold up bag and also packed that unzipped my backpack straps and away I went – easily navigating the tube, overground and streets of London with my single light backpack – looking more like a gym goer or a student than a lost tourist!


So in summary, if you’re thinking of going “carry on only” – make sure you have a little fold out companion such as the one I have or keep your main bag under 7kg!

My next challenge is Norwegian air on Friday – they allow 10kg from London to Stockholm – so I’ll see how we go with my 9kg!

Update: Norwegian airlines went well, my 9kg bag was fine however it was a bit hot after training, tubing and then training again in peak hour & carrying around your full 9 kg through a big airport can be exhausting – even though it’s light to begin with, it soon gets heavy. The bus from Stockholm Arlanda to the city however was nice and easy as I could keep the bag with me, not needing to put it in the luggage rack or under the bus 🙂

What challenges have you had with your carry on luggage?