Person packing a suitcase

How to travel with just a carry-on bag

24 Mar 2023 By Emily Burman
Person packing a suitcase

Travelling with just your carry-on bag is easier than you think, with no need to fork out for extra baggage allowance on your flight. Whether you’re jetting off on a short break or a week-long summer holiday, there are plenty of hacks to help you make the most of your carry-on bag. And, with checked bags costing up to £80 per person one way, you could save a massive £320 per couple just by travelling light!

Holidaying with just your carry-on bag is a huge time-saver, allowing you to skip the dreaded queues at the airport. You’ll also save precious time by not waiting around at the baggage claim – just hop on the bus and hit the pool as soon as you arrive! Read on for our 5 top tips on how to travel with just a carry-on bag…

1. Make the most of your carry-on allowance

Hand luggage on an overhead shelf on plane

Making the most out of your carry-on allowance will be your saving grace. All airlines have their own carry-on allowance size and weight, so make sure you do your research prior to your flight. Don’t just grab a small bag you think might be under the allowance – there are hundreds for sale online that match the airline’s requirements. The allowance is often bigger than you think, so make the most of it! Remember to pre-book your carry-on to avoid any extra charges.

Here are some of the major airline’s carry-on allowances:

Ryanair – 40cm x 20cm x 25cm with no weight allowance.

Jet2 – 56cm x 45cm x 25cm with weight allowance of 10kg.

EasyJet – 45cm x 36cm x 20cm with weight allowance of 15kg.

TUI Airways – 55cm x 40 x 20cm with weight allowance of 10kg.

Wizz Air – 40cm x 30cm x 20cm with weight allowance of 10kg.

2. Roll your clothes

Woman rolling clothes in her luggage

A trick as old as time – roll your clothes! Rolling takes up way less space than folding and it means you can fit more items in your carry-on. Plus, when rolled tightly, this packing hack prevents creases in your clothes, so no hunting for the iron when you get to the hotel! For bigger items like winter coats and jumpers, we suggest folding these and placing them at the top of your suitcase – save the rolling for soft clothing and cotton items.

3. Invest in some packing organisers

Cosmetic items in a luggage organiser
Need some assistance? There are hundreds of items out there to help you make the most of your luggage space. Packing cubes are the No.1 hack! Packing cubes compress your items to prevent them from taking up unnecessary space. Perfect for storing clothes, cosmetics, or electronic devices, they come in a selection of different sizes, so your carry-on bag stays neat and tidy. Don’t worry about them adding extra weight either, these handy organisers are super lightweight, and they will keep your clothes wrinkle-free – definitely worth the investment.

4. Plan your outfits wisely

Woman packing her clothes and shoes

Choose your outfits carefully before you fly. You may be tempted to stuff all your favourite items of clothing into your carry-on but be ruthless! Do you really need trainers when you’re going to be living in flip flops all day? Pack reliable items that you can re-wear and ditch those uncomfortable shoes. Whether you’re headed on a city break or a sun-filled getaway, it’s a good idea to wear your heavier items of clothing on the plane, including knitted jumpers and coats.

5. Buy essentials at your destination

Woman choosing sunscreen lotion at shop

Leave essentials at home and save precious luggage space. From hair straighteners to bottles of sunscreen, your travel must-haves are usually sold at the resort, a nearby shop, or at the airport. If you’re travelling to a city, there’s even more reason to leave essentials behind with stores on every corner. And while some items may be slightly more expensive than at home, you’ll still have made huge savings by ditching the suitcase.

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