In packing/ Travel

Carry-On travelling: backpacker edition

Airport carry-on travelling


Carry-On travelling seems to be on everyone’s lips currently, and not without a reason. I used to be those travelers, who had one giant backpack and also smaller bag in front, that makes them look like they are trying to imitate mutant teenage ninja turtles minus the weapons. It was not fun. Oh well, you live and you learn. If you plan on travelling to a country with hot climate or even do some amount of walking,

you need to minimize the amount of stuff you are carrying!

Otherwise you’ll suffer from heath stroke or heart attack carrying around your heavy backpack, trust me.

Also, as an added bonus, it saves you a ton of money and time. Nowadays it is normal for flight companies tho charge about 20-50 euros (about the same in us dollars) extra per flight! Last time I was backpacking we counted to fly about 17 different flights, so we paid about 340 to 850 extra. When leaving the airport, you don’t have to wait for the bags to come, and that might save you up to an hour of time.

Also, this might come as obvious to some of you, but you absolutely should get a backpack, not a suitcase, that is if you are changing your locations multiple times.

I’ll forever remember the moment when I was stepping out of a speed boat arriving to the beach of Gili t island in Indonesia on how bad I felt for those with a suitcase how they were trying to drag them across the beach or carry the heavy suitcases. It was a mess.

The main issue with everyone me included with carry-on travelling is how on earth am I gonna fit all this stuff only to this small backpack? Well, to simply putting it:

  1. You need carry-on sized backpack that maximizes the amount of space
  2. Downsize the amount of items

And That’s it!

Finding carry-on travelling backpack

carry-on travelling


Carry-on travelling backpack can be the maximum 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (22 in x 18 in x 10 in) and the wight varies company by company, about 6-10 kg (13-22 pounds). So the backpack you are looking for, should be measured at that.

Also, think about the attributes you need from a backpack. For example are you travelling with laptop, so do you need a laptop pocket. Do you want a backpack that is filled fro the top or to open from the side as a suitcase would. There are some backpacks like that, for example;

This is a backpack that I currently bought and I am so exited to start using it. What really appealed to me about it is that it is not filled from the top but it opens up the whole way. It makes it easier to see everything you have with one glance. Also, if you have to open your backpack at the airport security, it makes it a whole lot simpler. This backpack has a laptop pocket witch I appreciate. It is designed to be an airport carry-on, so it fits perfectly into required measurements.


Downsize the amount of items for carry-on travelling

Start by putting everything you think you need in front of you. Then take away the few items you where thinking maybe you don’t need THAT much and put it to side. Pack your backpack and see if everything fits.

You’ll maybe notice that everything does not fit or it’s to heavy. Downsize again and so on, do this until everything fits and it is not too heavy.

General tip for carry-on travelling is to pack about one week worth of clothing. Most countries you visit it  is very possible to get them washed or wash yourself in a hostel. Also wear your biggest clothes to the airplane. If your backpack is still too heavy, what we have done is to take out the laptop and put it in your day bag. Most of the airlines you are allowed to have extra laptop bag.

Remember, everything you forget or notice you need on the road, you can buy there. So it is not that critical. Good tip to keep things organized is packing cubes. Also, think about investing in other travel size items.

What about liquids? The answer to this is kind of obvious. Maximum amount of liquids allowed is 100 ml packaging in 1 l plastic bag, so buy travel bottles to put your shampoos and other necessities. I would also recommend buying as many liquids when arriving if possible.

Micro-fiber towel should also be at the top of your shopping list if you don’t own it already. Consider investing in a small day bag that can be packed very small. Finally, if you like to read while travelling, invest in kindle.

The key thing in downsizing is:

  1. Figuring out what you really need
  2. Investing to travel-sized items
  3. Buying liquids when arriving

And that’s it! It is simple and obvious. But for some reason this took me years of travelling to internalize. So I sincerely hope you realize the same before doing months of backpacking and suffering.


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