5 Carry-on Packing Hacks (For A Man!)

With airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir in the sky, flying has become one of the cheapest methods of getting from A to B! However add a couple of seat reservations, a checked bag or two and maybe an unexpected charge for not printing off your boarding passes at home and that cheap flight can turn out to be not so cheap after all!

One thing that nearly everyone travels with is baggage, in some shape and size we all lug belongings through the airport! On European short haul flights it can cost upwards £30 EACH WAY just to check a bag into the luggage hold of a plane, which you have to spend time queuing to drop off at the check in desk and then wait to get it at the other end at baggage collection.

But what if you just packed what you actually needed for a short trip, it was by your side the entire journey so no check in, no pickup and you’ve probably saved at least £50 by doing so also! I do it for all my short haul European trips and manage to pack exactly what I need!

In this post I am going to give you my 5 packing tips (for a man) for travelling carry on only! Some things to think about however before you start packing are..

  • What airline are you flying with? the rules for hand luggage are general laxed, however just be aware of what the official airline policy is in relation to weight and dimensions, otherwise you could end up being ‘fined’ at the gate for an oversized bag which will end up going into the hold. If your bag gets put into the hold then you may as well have just paid for a checked bag in the first place!
  • Remember not to get too carried away with toiletries and liquids, the international rules are 1x 20x20cm plastic bag per passenger with each content being in itself no bigger than 100ml)

#1 Choose a soft bag over a carry on case!

Opt for a soft bag when travelling hang luggage only, if the overhead bigs are tight or maybe the flight you are on has a lot of passengers and you are one of the last ones to board then you always have the ability to squash a soft bag down to fit the space, where a hard case on the other hand is staying that size no matter what you have in it!

When you are travelling with certain carriers and if its a full flight, at the gate sometimes a sweep is done of all hard cases and they will go in the hold no matter if you have paid for it or not, so you have no gained at kind of time saving advantage upon landing as you have still got to wait for your bag to come out of at baggage collection.

#2 Taking an extra pair of shoes in your bag? use the inside of them!

More often than not, when I travel to somewhere in Europe I will take 2 pairs of shoes; the ones that I am travelling in and will be using the most throughout the day.. especially when walking around, and also a pair which I will use more of an evening. I will have one pair on my feet and the other pair I will put in a plastic bag and put in the main compartment of my bag.

I have size 11 shoes so that means that they are quite big and take up a bit of space in my bag, so to make the most of the space wasted I recommend stuffing other small clothes/items inside the shoes using that space up. Don’t put items like electrical kit or liquids in there as your bag is more likely to be pulled aside at security and you will have to unpack and repack everything!

#3 If its hot enough you’re flying to then just take just t-shirts, if its cold enough still take just t-shirts and a jacket!

Through out your entire time in a destination, you can generally get away with just wearing t-shirts so just pack them! (I usually take 2 per day for the time I am somewhere) I often take black or darker t-shirts as they hide things like creases very well and can be used for both day time and going out dress also.

I usually fold them into a square and then stack them in the top of the bag, as opposed to a more well known method of stacking them together and rolling them up which I find can take more space, worst case if them come out of your bag creased most hotels and hostels have an ironing board!

Just taking t-shirts works great if you are visiting somewhere hot, however if you are visiting somewhere cold I recommend still just packing them and investing in a decent jacket!

If you are planning on taking some shirts, the same advice can be used I guess, fold them into a square and just find somewhere to iron them where you are staying at when you get there!

#4 If its cheap enough to buy some toiletries (or anything else) at your destination then do so and just leave it there when done.

Sometimes its not worth the hassle of packing something like toothpaste or a travel size bottle of toothpaste as it costs next to nothing to buy it when you have landed in your destination. In Estonia I bought a bottle of head and shoulders shampoo, a full size and it cost €1!

If you are staying in a hostel then there will most likely be a ‘lost and found’ shelf of some kind, where you can leave left over things like shampoo and people REALLY on a budget can use them after you, so just do that with whatever you have left and help your fellow traveller!

#5 Travel with a good jacket that has a lot of convenient pockets!

I have two main travelling jackets, a NorthFace thin jacket for warmer weather and a Berghaus jacket for winter weather. I always travel with one of the two as they both have a lot of pockets built into them that means I can travel with a lot of my essentials on me and not have to pack them in my bag.

For example with the bigger jacket which I have on trips to places like Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, I was able to put my phone, wallet, airports, passport, printed travel details in all the pockets. This was also easier for when at security as I just took the jacket off instead of taking everything out of my pockets and into a tray.

In Conclusion…

You can see from these pointers of mine that it is pretty easy to travel hand luggage only for short trips away, I have done it all over Europe and even on some slightly further away destinations like Canada! What are you packing tips? let me know in the comments!


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