I own an 85-litre backpack. Well, technically it’s 70 litres with a 15-litre daypack, but same difference. Anyone who travels a lot knows this is a little excessive. I bought it before minimalism in travel was a big thing, and when I had no idea what I should be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE it, and it has now moved with me all over the world. But that’s the only time I use it, when I’m moving from place to place, or on the very odd occasion when I might go tramping (that’s hiking for anyone who’s not a Kiwi) and need a multi-day pack.
I’m much more of a carry on kind of girl, for several reasons.
Carry on only is cheaper
Have you SEEN how much it cost to check in luggage these days? I am aware that not all airlines charge to check in luggage, but this also usually means the flight is more expensive than the budget kind of trip I go for. On the odd occasion I book a flight that includes luggage, I see it as a huge luxury and consider myself to be travelling in style. I don’t know what will happen if one of these days I somehow end up taking a business class, or (*gasp*) first class!
At last glance, adding check-in luggage to a Ryan Air flight was from £35. That’s insane when you consider the cost of many of their flights are around or below that amount. Now that you can take a carry on item plus handbag that helps a lot, and unless I’m moving country, I refuse to pay that amount!
By comparison, Easyjet varies from £12-22 if you book online and goes up to £35 if you wait until you get to the counter. A little more reasonable, and you can only take one carry on bag onto the plane, but I still hate the extra cost and have other reasons for avoiding it too.
Carry on only means less time at the airport
Everyone is so automated now that I can check in, print my boarding pass, and show up at the airport just in time to get to the gate for boarding. There no need to spends hours and hours waiting to board a flight anymore. Except if you check in luggage. Bag drop speeds things up, but there’s often still a line you have to wait in and the time you need to get to the airport is much earlier.
Not to mention the wait at the other end of your flight. I love travelling carry on only because when I get off the plane, I breeze past the baggage carousels and the people who insist on standing right next to them, blocking the way for people whose bags are actually there. No waiting around and delaying with baggage coming off the plane! Also, I swear my bag is always last.
If you’re check-in bag gets lost, and it does happen, you’ll be spending a lot of time trying to locate it. Carry on only means no worries with this!
Seriously, you can get some awesome carry on luggage options these days, and unless you’re going overseas for a super long trip that goes over multiple seasons, or moving abroad, you probably don’t need to check in luggage.
But what will I wear?! I can hear you say.
Well, it’s all in the planning and the packing, and having the right gear.
Planning what you pack
Lists. You need one of those. Write down everything you need aside from clothes, like chargers, toiletries, etc. The must-haves. Then you can move on to the clothes. Do you really need 4 pairs of shoes for a 3 day weekend? How many times have you gone on holiday with stuff that just came along for the ride? Work on outfits that can transition from day to night, or cardigans and jumpers you can wear more than once. I find in winter I don’t need much variation since I can wear the same pair of boots and coat for most of a trip, and just change the rest! Check out these tips for packing for winter travel with carry on only. In summer clothes are lighter so I can take a little more, including dresses that work for day and night. There are some essentials for your carry on bag, but don’t take the kitchen sink!
How to pack carry on only
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’. This is the way to pack! I always roll my clothes when I pack because they fit much better, and they also come out less creased! Stuff shoes with socks and try to wear anything especially bulky, like a winter coat.
Liquid restrictions can be a pain when you travel carry-on only. Although to be honest, I’ve never had any issues and always managed to fit everything I want in, or bought what I need cheaply when I arrive. Another option is to use non-liquid toiletries. Lush has a huge range of these, and some other companies also make solid toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and all sorts of products that you can keep in small tins and not need to count as a liquid!
Carry on only travel gear
I recently made the move to getting a purpose-built carry on bag. Before this I used my Country Road bag, a staple many Kiwi girls have that’s great for short weekends away. The problem I had with using a shoulder bag was the weight. While it was convenient to not look like luggage if I ended up having to carry it around a city all day waiting for my flight, and it weighed next to nothing alone, once it was filled with clothes and shoes it could get pretty heavy.
Thoughts on the Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack
Thanks to Silver Fox Travel & Outdoors I am now the proud owner of an Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Rucksack. I chose it online and it was quickly delivered to me. Next was the true test on a trip to London last weekend and it definitely passed.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 has definitely been made with travelling and security in mind. A small pocket in the front of the backpack is covered with a lip of material to stop it being easily opened, so I could safely keep my passport and money in it. Next down is a laptop and document pocket which was handy, although I noticed putting my laptop cord and chucking a book in there for easier access made the pack a little bulkier. The main pocket has a mesh part to separate clothes and compression straps which I always love as an addition on the inside and outside of packs for easier packing. The Osprey Farpoint has a lime green interior, which is a little bright for my taste but the bag itself is great so I won’t be that picky! Plus you can get the outside in black or blue (pretty!).
I like the Osprey Farpoint 40 because it has proper straps and is built to be comfortable on your back. I’ve noticed some carry on backpacks aren’t built with proper straps or a frame, which can’t be great for your back or entirely comfortable. Plus it has heavily padded handles on the side and top for carrying it and a detachable shoulder strap.
Going by measurements, the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Rucksack at 54 x 35 x 37 is a little bigger than some of the maximum sizes for carry-on luggage. For example, Easyjet is 56 x 45 x 25 and Ryanair is 55 x 40 x 20. The last figure is the width, so basically you’re fine as long as you don’t stuff the outer pocket of the bag to bursting, and you can smush it into their little luggage checking frames if need be. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they might bring out an option where your laptop slides into a separate pocket flat against your back, as this would cut down that bulkiness a bit.
Is investing in a carry on backpack worth it?
I highly recommend a carry on backpack rather than a suitcase. These are more rigid so if you don’t choose the right one you could be caught out with different airline luggage sizes (can they not just get together and decide on this?!). Instead, getting a purpose-built carry-on backpack like the Osprey Farpoint 40 is worth the investment.
The other reason is your carry on shouldn’t weigh so much that you can’t carry it on your back, and it’s much easier to find your way to your accommodation and if you get stuck wandering around with it, to have a backpack rather than a suitcase. I think I’ll always be a backpacker at heart!
Do you travel with carry-on are checked luggage because you’re cheap like me?
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Disclaimer: I received the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Rucksack from Silver Fox Travel & Outdoors to try, with no obligations. I decided to write this post to note my thoughts on carry-on and review it and as always, have provided my honest opinion! This post also has affiliate links at no cost to you.