The benefits of travelling with hand luggage only (or “HLO”) are often spruiked on our forums. Travelling light not only saves money on baggage charges, but it can also save you time. You’ll never have to wait at the baggage carousel after a flight again!

But travelling light is also an art. This week our members share their strategies and secrets of how to travel for up to weeks at a time with only one small bag.

Minimising the amount of clothes required is one strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean wearing dirty clothes the whole trip. Instead, one member suggests finding a local laundry and doing a load of washing at the destination. Coin laundries can be found in most cities, with a typical load of washing usually costing just a few dollars. Many hotels also offer a laundering service, and while it can be more expensive than alternative options, it can also be very convenient. Another method involves washing clothes in the sink of the hotel bathroom. It is even possible to buy travel-sized washing detergent and indoor clotheslines to assist this process.

…or just wash your clothes in the sink and hang them over chairs to dry out throughout the day, while your sightseeing. We did a month long european winter holiday with only carry-on…

Another strategy is to avoid falling into the trap of “over-packing”. Our members highlight the fact that convenience stores exist in most countries, and that there is nothing wrong with buying a couple of things should you find yourself caught short. So, it is rarely necessary to take more than you’ll actually need.

The trick I use is I’m brutally honest as to if I really need to take a certain item. If the answer is anything other than a resounding yes, then I leave it behind knowing that everywhere I go there are convenience stores and clothing shops at my destination had I forgotten something I really needed.

Travel-size toiletries, such as those provided in hotels, can also help to reduce the size of your belongings.

Not everybody agrees that travelling light has its advantages. Some feel that taking everything you need has its own advantages, and that the benefits of being prepared for every situation outweigh the time-savings gained from travelling light.

Why restrict yourself to bare minimum when most airlines give you 30-40kgs allowance? Convenience? To me that means not having to worry about doing laundry every second day or leaving things behind.

Which end of the spectrum do you sit? Share your tips HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]