Hand Luggage Only
My suitcase is smaller than yours! Although it is quite often not even a suitcase but a backpack. In travel, size does matter. The smaller, the better. My choice of luggage container is still dependent on what type of trip I am on.
When I travel for business I carry a suitcase. I need to carry a suit and shirts in a relatively creasless manner. When I travel for leasure or to informal meetings, I carry a backpack. If I don’t need nice shirts or a tie, I always go for the lighter and more convenient option.
Carry on only There is a common denominator. My luggage always passes as carry on. Or hand luggage, if you want. And even my suitcase can convert into a backpack, thanks to the two hidden strap-ons (add bad joke here). The suitcase gone backpack will then be a heavy one, not very comfortable and somewhat bulky. But it can be carried where wheels are enemies of the ground.
Why hand luggage only? It should be fast and easy to answer, but it all ended up as a list of 9.
1. It is lighter. That makes my journey more relaxed and less of a hassle. I will also be much more flexible with regards to what I can do, where I can walk,
2. It is greener. Not having a suitcase eliminates both the weight of the suitcase itself and its content. Less weight reduces emissions from planes, buses and taxis. It also reduces wear and tear of the luggage itself, making it last longer.
3. It is safer. I am much more mobile with handluggage only and can get away from potentially dangerous situations faster and by any means of transport. Any wannabe robber can see that I can’t possible be carrying much of value, so they are less likely to bother.
4. It is more relaxed. I look less serious with handluggage only and I might not even be considered a tourist. It looks like I’m just chillin’ and that I presumably know what I am doing, even in a new place. “He doesn’t even have a big suitcase, he must have been here before.”
5. It is faster. It would have taken me months of my life if I were to wait for my luggage after every flight I have ever taken. Not to mention the extra time it takes to check in. And the time it takes to pack all the stuff needed to fill up the suitcase. Even boarding will go faster for you and others.
6. It makes you worry less. No need to think about how your luggage is treated by luggage handlers, if the suitcase itself or something inside is broken or whether single items or the entire suitcase goes missing.
7. It is more flexible. You will never have to take a specific big taxi or be banned from a metro or a bus because of too bulky luggage. You can even walk from some airports to town. In short, to travel light gives you more control over the travel experience.
8. It is cheaper. You will not have to pay for luggage. Most proper airlines don’t charge extra for one piece of checked luggage, but more and more airlines do. You also seem like less of a tourist and may be less likely to be conned into paying more by taxi drivers or others.
9. It is more considerate. Your handluggage will take up less space, leave more room for others and speed up boarding and leaving aircrafts. Given that you only carry one piece and don’t carry a lot of luggage on board with you.
My choises are a Tumi T-Tech wheeled combined suitcase and backpack and a Norrøna Integral 35 backpack (that exact model doesn’t seem to be produced anymore). I am very happy with both of them.
The buts But will it not limit my dressing options when away? Well, of course one bag will not fit as many outfits as a big suitcase. But there is still room for washing powder inside, so you will manage while still maintaining acceptable hygiene levels. Just remember your toothbrush and a deodorant.
And of course you cannot show off the latest, sexiest and most expensive suitcase while waiting around the baggage carousel in the airport. Nor will hand luggage only quite justify ordering the biggest limousine to pick you up, although even a small limo usually impresses the ladies and the gents.
I also live in Norway, the most expensive country in the world, so I might as well buy extra clothes cheaper when I travel. Instead of wearing out my old ones and buying new clothing at a price when back home. I might even get something that is not even available at home. That could help me set a new standard for fashion! Then again, I am more likely to be punished for crimes against fashion. That fancy Afghan goat skin jacket or those pointed Kyrgyz shoes didn’t exactly do me any favours out on the town.
But what if you will buy so much that you need a suitcase to bring it back home? Buy a big bag or a suitcase where you buy all your other stuff or just pack it all in a cardboard box before returning home.
This little carry on only trick doesn’t work when going home for Christmas, though. Unless you are six and actually receive more presents than you give away. I am not. I have three brothers, three sisters, four nephews and a niece. My Christmas luggage is the exception that proves the rule.