Recent news that Wizz Air are now going to charge their customers for taking (decent sized) hand luggage onto planes got me to thinking what a bunch of rip off merchants airlines can really be. Budget airlines make me laugh – they reel you in with these promises of dirt cheap flights – only for you to find when you go to pay that there are a load of hidden extras, and your flight is nowhere near as cheap as you thought it was going to be.
With charges for hold luggage already in place, and airlines seemingly intent on squeezing every last drop of money out of their customers if they take on bags any bigger than a packet of crisps, it pays to try and minimise your luggage as much as possible. So here are some tips on how to travel the world with just one bag. Which you’ll be charged for, of course.
Choose an appropriate sized bag
This really depends on the nature of your trip. If you’re going away for a 2-4 day city break, you can get away with a small rucksack for the entire jaunt. This can be taken onto the plane as hand luggage, generally for free – so long it isn’t too big or too heavy. Longer backpacking jaunts will require more stuff, obviously, and a bigger bag. Make sure you don’t choose a heavy bag, as personal luggage quotas for hold luggage are based on weight, not size – so you want most the weight to come from your possessions, not the bag itself. Canvas backpacker bags are ideal for this.
Work out what you really need
How likely are you to use that Bart Simpson alarm clock? When will you realistically need a stapler? If you don’t think you’re actually likely to use it, leave it at home. Taking a load of useless stuff away with you means unnecessary weight to carry, and leaves less room in your bag for souvenirs (booze/fags) when you return.
Roll your clothes into bundles
The bundle method of packing was taught to me by my Granddad. Fair do’s, he might smell like piss and insist on watching Emmerdale at full volume, but he does have his uses. Basically, you roll your clothes up as tightly as possible into rolls to pack them. This is the most effective method for saving space, and means you can fit more stuff in.
Minimise the amount of electronic goods you pack
Lava lamps are cool, but do you really need one on holiday? Plus they have bulky and awkward plugs. Same goes for alarm clocks, hairdryers and numerous other unnecessary electronic goods. You probably won’t use them, so don’t bother packing them
Post souvenirs home
If you’re travelling for a long period of time – for example backpacking – you will probably want to pick up souvenirs along the way. Rather than carrying them with you for 6 months, mail them back to the UK and free up some luggage space.