With the long weekend coming and the June school holidays, there’s no better time to plan a short getaway with either your family, your friends or on your own. Plus, with the huge list of destinations that budget airlines are now flying to, you’ll be spoilt for choice with where to visit. However, the only downside is that when you’re travelling budget, you’ll most likely have to contend with the measly baggage allowance. Fortunately, we’ve gotten some sagely advice from a former SQ girl on how you can maximise the weight allowance given for hand luggage. Whether you’re going cheap via a low-cost carrier or you’re just headed to a nearby country for a one-night business trip, these handy tips will save you plenty of space and time.
If you’re not already done so, then head out and get a lightweight cabin bag, as it will minimise the weight added on to your total baggage. Most budget airlines allow a combined weight of 7kg, so you have to be very smart with how you’re packing.
I personally prefer hard case suitcases, especially the ones from Tumi. They are generally lighter than fabric or leather bags, and because of their shape and built, packing becomes easier.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind a rugged bag, use a backpack instead. It’s incredibly light, spacious and is relatively inexpensive.
Four-wheel 56cm carry-on bag, $875, from Tumi
Items such as soap and sunscreen can be easily bought in most countries, so it is recommended that you bring only the items that you are 100% sure you can’t find there. If you’re picky about the brand, then do a bit of homework beforehand to see what beauty items and toiletries can be found at your destination’s local drugstore, and leave those out.
Same for clothes—if you’re going on a four day holiday, then you really don’t need more than one pair of sneakers with you. The less you bring, the less fuss you have at the airport, and the more space for shopping you get!
The goal here is to pack as little as possible, so the easiest way to do this is to pack multi-purpose or do-it-all items. For example: instead of having to pack a scarf, a blanket and a hair wrap, pack a sarong. Rather than pack a bunch of t-shirts and bottoms to match, stick to a wardrobe of summer dresses. How about wearing lesser makeup, thereby lessening your cosmetics load? Or better yet, go makeup-free and stick to moisturiser and sunscreen? It’s all dependent on each individual but her point being that you need to make smart choice with what you’re bringing.
It’s a little bit ridiculous to be seen in, but wearing a bit more layers at check-in can eliminate excess baggage charges—which are often overpriced for their allowance. I’ve seen people clearing immigration at a tropical destination’s airport while wearing two tops, leggings, shorts, and a hoodie before rushing to the toilet right after to shed their excess layers.
Of all the packing techniques, the roll is my go-to for when I need to pack a carry-on bag. After folding your clothes in perfect squares, roll them inwards into a tight roll, and neatly place them in. It saves you a ton of space in your luggage.
Okay, this one is a little sneaky, I’ll admit. But if you’re travelling back to Singapore after a weekend getaway and you let yourself go a little bit too much with the shopping, then I recommend rethinking your packing strategy.
All planes allow each passenger a carry-on luggage and an extra bag. Check with your airlines for their size restrictions for this extra bag, but generally, most roomy bags that you already are using for work will do. My go-to for this is a tote bag from Saint Laurent, as it’s very spacious and I can pop my laptop, a book, travel essentials and some other bits that won’t fit into my luggage. Sometimes, my slippers and a jacket goes in there as well.
If you’re travelling with kids, make use of their baggage space too, so you maximise on your weight allowance. And if you’re flying with your BFF or your significant other, it’s no harm asking if they have extra space that they can “lend” you.
Reversible bag, $2,795, from Burberry