Traveling with a hand carry: Is it the right choice?

Manila Airport Terminal 3 Arrival Area

I still haven’t met a person who refuses any chance he gets to save money while traveling. This includes cutting one portion of your budget to make something that you want the most happen. For me, it was choosing to travel with less stuff as possible to save money for tickets to Italy and Germany. For others, it might be similar or something greater but whatever the reason is there’s always one important question that we should ask ourselves before we commit to this “almost” life-changing decision. (Yes! Because traveling is life so don’t judge my choice of words. HAHA!) Is traveling with a hand carry the right choice? Is it for everyone?

Pretty sure my short Eurotrip will not be possible if I splurged money on extra baggage allowance. To get you on the same page, let me briefly tell you how I turned things complicated before I even started my trip.

#1 Choice of flight

I happen to score a cheap roundtrip ticket from Manila to Dubai via Cebu Pacific during one of their GetGo sales. It was soooo cheap that I didn’t think twice about booking it. Then, I realized that I have to book a separate flight from Cebu to Manila, and Dubai to Amsterdam. Still relieved by the thought of saving a big portion of the total flight ticket cost, I was convinced I could put together all 3 separate flights… stress-free.

#2 Check-in baggage dilemma

As I planned the trip with my boyfriend the more problems start kicking in. This includes the dilemma of whether I should buy a check-in baggage or not. Having separate flights means that I have to go to the baggage belt after every flight. To buy or not? That day (and even until this day), all I know is if you’re not planning to go out of the airport during your layover in DXB (just like me), you can avail an airport service which can take care of the luggage in your behalf. This sounds like a heaven-sent solution because: (1) I don’t have to pass the passport control which will require me a transit visa and (2) I can skip wasting time at the baggage belt. But NO! It would cost me an arm and leg to avail the service.

In the end, I decided to travel with a carry-on on all 3 flights! Believe me, I never felt so proud of myself for making this decision but it didn’t last long though. Thinking I could ace a “minimalist traveler” facade? I thought wrong!

But of course, you don’t have to experience what I did (not unless you really want to. Who am I to stop you?) So here are my 2 cents regarding traveling light.

Travel-light is not for everyone

I know people who only travel for 3 days but looks like they’re bringing their entire house with them. Most especially for international and long-haul flights, minimalist travel is not for everyone.

Touristy outfit in Milan

  1. Minimalist travel is not for the young, millennial travelers like me who still fancy a perfect OOTD in every shot.
  2. It is also not for those who have a tribe of friends, colleagues, and family members waiting for their souvenirs when you get back.
Want to bring home the best souvenirs? I GOT YOU! Click here to check out these unique items.

3. It is not for the shopaholics and I don’t think this needs further explaining.

Travel-light is not for every season

a girl and the Michelin man

Unless you’re used to the cold and thick snow, packing for winter will not be a problem. If you’re like me who is used to the tropical weather, fitting everything together in a small hand-carry bag will be more than a headache.

Even packing for the summer season in the Netherlands is also very tricky. Knowing the unpredictable Dutch weather, you better make sure you have everything so you don’t die freezing in Summer. One thing that I learned is to NOT underestimate summer in The Netherlands. I packed the lightest clothes that I have with more shorts than long pants and I instantly regretted my decision on my 2nd day there. The weather was a big scam!

Travel-light is not for every location

Anemometer in Burgas

Taking my example above, minimalist travel is close to impossible when traveling to The Netherlands even in summer but it is doable if you travel to Thailand even on a rainy season. There are just some travel destinations that will require an extra cost in the baggage and sad to say, some of these are the ones which are already very costly.

Travel-light is not for every airline

Turkish airline over winter

Some airlines only allow 7 kilos hand-baggage while some don’t even care as long as the bag fits under your seat or on the overhead bin. This difference makes traveling light a crucial choice for those who travel a lot. That is why before booking a flight, take a moment to plan carefully. Are you going to travel less or are you willing to spend a few more bucks for the baggage?

Remember: Each airline has their own baggage allowance policy. Check out this guide to know about the policies from MAJOR airlines.

Travel-light is not for every luggage

The luggage itself plays an important role when choosing to travel less. There are pieces of luggage that are heavy so they already take a big part of your hand carry allowance. It would be a waste if you blindly choose this type of luggage over lightweight ones. Although the lighter ones are more expensive, they’re definitely a great investment. The Cabin Zero backpack, for example, is one of the most popular hand-carry bag preferred by travel bugs. Check out its price here.

Have you also traveled with a hand-carry? How did it go? I would love to hear your experiences down below.

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Traveling on a carry-on

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I am a 20-something Software Engineer who loves to travel, explore places, experience different culture and chase dreams. Apart from my 6 to 9 job, I dance ballet as a hobby. Born, raised and currently living in the beautiful Philippines but will soon travel the world.. one baby step at a time.

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