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Friday, 5 October 2012

Hand luggage only

Hi all thought you might be interested in how I found my recent hand luggage only trip to Barcelona.

It worked OK but there were some little tweaks I would use in future:-

Bag - make sure your bag comes in under the size for your airline. We flew with Ryan Air who have smaller dimentions than others (55cm x 40cm x 20cm). We measured all the bags we had and in the end took a standard rucksack each which did not go anywhere near the limit except the depth of the rear pocket but was challenging from a packing perspective.
If you do take a small wheeled suitcase, you have to watch for the weight limit - ususally 10kg, and remember you cannot have a seprate hand bag, camera bag etc, everything has to go into the one bag which has to go into the size checking device. You'll need to pack some sort of day bag for when you are out and about. I'd recommend a simple drawstring style bag.

What I took
Wearing on the day
- underwear, t shirt, travel shirt, fleece jacket, cotton jacket with pockets, trousers, socks, lace up sports shoes. I took the fleece jacket off later and placed it in a drawstring bag I had folded in my pocket.
In the bag
- clean underwear and tshirt for each day (5 days), a spare pair of socks, walking sandals, one alternate pair of trousers. Toiletries, small guide book/papers.

The tshirts were simple ones with cap sleeves in quick drying fabric, these washed fine in travel wash and dried quickly. I would still only take 5 even for a week.
The trousers were zip off shorts style in two different neutral colours. These had lots of pockets so no handbag was needed.
I got blisters the first day I wore my sandals and had to switch to wearing my trainers (sports shoes) with socks. So I had to wash the other pair of socks each night to have a clean pair to wear the following day. It would have been good to have a third pair of socks, or ones which dried more quickly.

Camera - we took a hybrid camera witha powerful zoom lens. This was relatively heavy and bulky, but we wanted the capabilities it had. Have a think about if a point and shoot will be enough and save the weight accordingly. We took spare batteries, ready charged and used them all.

Toiletries/medication - and liquids and pastes need to go in the liquids bag and be removed for the security scans. Take medication in original packets. I always seem to end up in the pharmacy on holiday so bring with you whatever you had to buy last time if realistic.
Small travel toiletries are fantastic, as are folding toothbrushes, pocket combs etc. Also if travelling with a friend you can share deoderant, toothpaste etc. I also took tiny tubes of conditioner which come with my hair colourant, and threw them away once used, ditto with sun screen. Other products I could not get in a travel size I decanted into special travel bottles. I also had to buy a special flight pack set for my contact lenses.
I shall keep an eye out now for special offers on travel minis. 

I took minimal makeup and one pair of earrings.
Travel wash was a must as we got hot and sweaty, plus I spilled food down my one shirt and needed to wash it. Quick drying travel clothing really helps.

Because we were casually dressed we would not have been too welcome in the most up market restaurants, but everywhere we tried was quite happy to serve us, and many other tourists were also casually dressed.

Verdict: I would do it again, taking a little more basic medication, and a custom made bag which was closer to the size allowance in all directions. I'd also take another shirt and another pair of socks. I used or wore everything.

Summary: takes some preparation and minor sacrifices, but can save a lot of money on short haul short duration trips in a warm climate. This works well when you are going to a warmer climate than your own, and for about a week. Trousers with pockets makes a lot of difference. Personally I prefer a rucksack style bag to a shoulder bag or wheeled suitcase, as you can then use that rucksack for the day trips on your holiday.

I plan to have a go at making my own rucksack bag to the ryan air dimensions, but not anytime just yet. However, when I do, I will of course share it here!


Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing, it is interesting what we can fit in a rucksack and still be appropriately dressed for what we want to do.

RhondaBuss said...

More importantly, did you have a good time?

Teddylyn said...

Love Barcelona--hope you did too! I am impressed with your packing. We just went to Italy for 17 days and did not check luggage either. However, I'm sure our airline was more lenient in terms of size for carryon luggage. We had very hot weather to cold and rainy...needed a variety of different layers. I find a pair of black pants look sporty with a white t shirt, but can go to dinner with a black tank under a sheer blouse. The tank goes with shorts or capris another day. Since we come from the western US the flights are long and what is worn on the travel day is pretty tired! I may try sending a parcel ahead to a hotel next time. Happy travels! Lynda