Sunday, December 04, 2011

Advice for Travelling Light

I have discovered a Website, www.onebag.com, that offers a lot of information on various types of luggage for those who want to travel with just one bag, thus avoiding checked bag charges and the hassles of dealing with luggage that is too heavy for comfort.
While I applaud the concept of travelling light, I did not find myself agreeing with all of this writer's advice. His concept of keeping a packing list is useful, and something I do for each trip. But I have never travelled without checking a small bag, and never expect to. With current restrictions on what can be put in carry-on bags, it is just too difficult. I find it essential to carry small scissors and relatively large quantities of various gel products, larger than the 3 ounce size allowed in carry-ons.
For me what works best is checking a small wheeled bag, small enough to be a carry-on, and taking a large very lightweight carry-on that I bought for $10 many years ago. The checked bags too are inexpensive, purchased at a dollar-type store near my home, and have stood up remarkably well.
If you are determined to travel with just a carry-on, the Website could be useful, since it includes reviews of a number of different types of bags. Surprisingly, the writer recommends not using wheeled bags. To each his own.
However you do it, though, do keep the weight of your luggage down. I recently travelled with a group where everyone except me was worrying about being over the limit, I think it was 50 pounds, for both checked and carry-on bags, and they didn't seem to be having much fun at the airports.
A disadvantage of travelling light is that you may have to buy items along the way, but that gives you a chance to interact with the locals and observe trends in retail around the world. For example, I had to buy a light weight blouse in Russia and the only place nearby was a Zara store. A wash and wear cotton blouse was nicely made, but cost about $70, more than twice what a similar item would probably cost at Zara in Montreal.

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