Update: Travelling to the other side of the world for a month with only carry-on

Travelling with carry-on luggage isn’t easy but it can be done!

It seems this is a popular topic!

I’ve had so many interactions on my first post where I asked the question, Can I travel for a month with only carry-on luggage? with encouraging words, suggestions and support – it’s been great, so thanks to everyone who has joined in with their two cents worth.

My packing update

This is an update on my packing progress. We leave next week, so once we’re settled I’ll provide a further update and my final verdict. I’ve been told that once I do this I won’t ever go back to taking checked-in luggage.

FYI – you might need to have a look at the original post for this one to make sense.

The main points are:

  • We’re travelling from Australia to England (to Cheddar a rural countryside area) for a month to see our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who we haven’t seen since January 2020 due to covid restrictions.
  • We have a cottage booked for the whole month.
  • We’re not travelling anywhere else.
  • My daughter lives nearby and we can use her washing machine – this is a big point.
  • It’s summer there – so much warmer than here where it’s mid-winter. They’ve actually had a few HOT days lately!!
  • I have a decent baggage allowance in my ticket but am concerned at the amount of lost luggage that’s been happening around the world. I don’t want to arrive without my stuff!
  • I’m keen to challenge myself to see if I can pack all I need for a month in under 7kg for the ease and simplicity.
  • To live minimally and simplify my wardrobe while I’m away – I’ve basically created my own capsule wardrobe.
  • I have lots of mix and match outfits as can be seen from my list and think I have covered all bases.
  • I’m not too proud to visit opp shops or go shopping on the High Street if I desperately need something when I get there or borrow things from my daughter.
  • I plan to shop for major toiletries like shampoo/conditioner, moisturiser, hair products etc once I arrive, saving space.
A friend sent me this link when she heard about my goal – telling me I was making the right decision!

Carry-on luggage Singapore Air

As we are travelling with Singapore Air I went to their website to check my allowances. And I was pleasantly surprised. This should be a first port of call for anyone thinking of only taking carry-on as it clarifies the airline’s requirements for you.

I’m allowed up to 7kg- sum of length, width and height of each piece should not exceed 115cm. My bag gets a tick!

Carry-on bag
Carry-on bag all ready – yes all those items listed fit into this bag!

Additional items allowed on board

You may carry ONE of these items with you on our flights, free of charge, in addition to your cabin baggage allowance (subject to country restrictions, where applicable):

  • Ladies’ handbag*
  • Camera / Camera bag*
  • Document bag*
  • Overcoat
  • Umbrella
  • Laptop / Notebook in bag*
  • Infant’s amenities and food for consumption on board. The total weight of these items should not exceed 6kg
  • A walking stick, a pair of crutches and/or other prosthetic devices, if you are dependent on them
  • A small amount of duty free goods (where permitted)

* The maximum dimensions for these bags are 40x30x10cm each. If your item exceeds the total dimension of 80cm (the length, width and height combined), it will be counted as part of your standard cabin baggage allowance. You will then be required to check in either your cabin bag or the additional item.

So on top of my 7kg bag, I will also be taking a soft backpack as a handbag which will hold medications, glasses, purse, passport, phone, travel documents, diary, pen, headphones, small iPad, tissues, hand sanitiser, masks etc. It weighs approx 2kg.

Making lists

I’ve been making lots of lists, updating my notes and doing lots of research – it’s been all consuming but so interesting and fun!

I’ve also amended my clothing list since my first post. Reading other blogs, travel advice, news items and apps I’ve discovered so much! It can be done and so many people are taking only carry-on for all sorts of reasons, I’m feeling much more confident now.

I’ve invested in ziplock bags, instead of compression bags, and they have worked a treat (plus they’re much cheaper). I fold the items, squeeze out all the air and seal the bag. It makes a flat neat package and helps me keep things organised. I have also rolled some items and both these methods have helped a great deal.

I’ve also made a mind map graphic- now you know I’m getting serious!

Carry-on only packing list
My carry-on only packing list

My packing list

  • RipSkirt wrap-skirts x 2 (blue & red spot)
  • short denim skirt
  • shorts x 2 (navy and denim)
  • black stretch jeans – (wearing on plane)
  • red oversized jumper – (wearing on plane)
  • denim 7/8 length jeans
  • Jade exercise jumper
  • underwear and socks x 5
  • padded cycling pants – floral
  • pink wind jacket (very light)
  • red RipSkirt sun hoody (very, very light)
  • white RipSkirt sun hoody
  • t-shirts x 5 – white, navy and coral
  • printed tops x 2 – bold colours
  • long sleeve cotton shirt – yellow/white stripe (wearing on plane)
  • leggings x 2 – grey full length and black 3/4 length
  • pyjamas/nightie
  • 3 dresses – bright red/orange colour, blue spot and navy (added recently due to hot weather)
  • swimmers
  • white sneakers (wear on the plane)
  • thongs
  • orange sandals
  • chargers, battery packs, travel phone in pouch
  • basic toiletries and makeup in clear plastic pouches

As you can see my clothing list is quite adequate for a simple holiday visiting family and friends. Going to the pub, playing at the park, bike riding and walks in the local countryside are all covered in my choice of outfits. I’ve used a basic colour palette of denim/navy, with tops of white, navy and bright prints and random pops of colour. This suits me just fine as I love colour!

My plane outfit is now black jeans, cotton shirt, red sloppy joe, white sneakers – all the heaviest things but still comfy for the long haul flights. I decided not to take my denim jacket but might try to fit in a light cardigan.

The Mathematician has changed his tune somewhat and has offered me space in his bag (he’s up to 13kg so far) if I need it, but you know what, I’m thinking I’m going to be fine on my own.

Another story popped up in a friend’s newsletter this week (thanks Jan from Retiring Not Shy) it was an article by Geraldine Doogue – Pining for that long-awaited European holiday? Her thoughts really resonated with me,

I personally saw two whole planeloads of baggage just sitting in a baggage area, like forgotten spectres – their owners … who knows where?

Trial Packs and weigh-ins

My bag weights approximately 1.5kg empty, it’s a soft bag with with wheels and is very easy to use. We bought these bags while travelling in England about 4 years ago, they meet all the conditions for carry on for flights in UK and Europe.

My first trial pack was just over 6kg and I had a lot still to put in so I changed a few things around, for example my plane outfit now comprises the heaviest items and I used the ziplock bags to sort things out.

My 2nd trial pack came in at 6.9kg – just under the 7kg limit – and everything was included!

I think I can I can actually do it!

It’s a liberating feeling.

Thanks for all the interest, I’ve been amused by some of the comments especially ones where I’ve ‘astonished’ people or it’s been pointed out that I may just be a bit stubborn!

Not long until we leave!

Deb 🙂

NOTE: I had a minor medical emergency over the weekend with a trip to the Emergency room of the local hospital then to the nearest regional A&E department. I was treated in such a caring compassionate way by everyone and am on the mend. Fancy seeing an ophthalmologist on a Sunday from the public health system, I had no idea that could happen, but thankfully it did! He also assured me that I would be fine to travel which made me smile for the first time in a few days, I’ve been so worried. Hopefully all will be well by the time I get on the plane and we’re taking all precautions we can to stay safe in the meantime.

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie in rock chick mode

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

Copyright © 2023 debs-world.com – All rights reserved

75 Replies to “Update: Travelling to the other side of the world for a month with only carry-on”

  1. Go you! A fantastic read and full of great ideas Deb. I knew you could do it and the mind map is a perfect way to see at a glance what you are taking. I like that you have checked the size of the carry on bag. One of my pet peeves are travellers who bring carry on luggage and take up their space plus others. I think the last time I travelled pre-COVID the airlines were starting to clamp down on ‘oversized’ carry on but your bag is perfect. Have a fabulous trip it is getting exciting for you now. I’m thinking of trying this for my Tassie trip which is only 3 weeks. I’ll have to see if Mike has been too organised and already paid for our luggage. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Sue! I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and learnt a lot from it so far. It’s so important to check sizes of bags and I also hate it when bags get through that are hugely oversized for what they’re meant to be. I’ll let you know how I go! The mind-map has been very useful. I really wanted to draw the items or try to photograph some but time got away from me. I should count up how many combinations of outfits I have! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I learned to create capsule wardrobes and travel light since we started to take multi-week trips to Mexico, and I’ll never go back. It sounds like you are well on your way to becoming a convert too. I was interested to see that you listed Rip Skits in several places. I’ve been seeing their ads on my Facebook feed and they look nice. It looks like you are a happy customer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Janis I may just be a convert now! It’s such a liberating feeling to know what I’ve got packed is all I need and not succumb to ‘just in case packing’ which has been me in the past. It’s also given me a focus as we wait to travel with all the worries of Covid.
      Yes I am a happy customer if Ripskirts and the sun hoody as they are so light to pack, easy to wear and look nice. I can wear them over my bike pants when I go riding or over swimmers – so versatile. I’m not sponsored by them!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I would do the same, why risk losing luggage! Key point is the washing machine and family. Our charity shop should be full of clothes as we all had a good sort out during lock downs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Janet I’m not keen to lose my luggage! I agree it will be easier for me with access to my daughter and her washing machine nearby! Charity shops always have a lot to offer and I can donate things back when I leave – win/win!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you, Deb! I hope you’ll love travelling this way. I checked out the Ripskirt website…they look great and they are opening a Canadian website soon, I see…hehehe, is that good or bad news for me? 😉


    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great news for you Deb, I’m sure you’ll love their products! I’m keen to see how my carry-on only experiment goes and I’m sure I’ll become a convert! Thanks for the encouragement and your post was a great read and helped a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m inspired to do more planning than just chuck a heap of things into the suitcase the morning we leave. Great post, love the mind map, and can’t wait to travel vicariously with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo, it’s been a good thing to focus on while waiting to go. I’m sure it will work out. I just want that excited feeling to kick in but what with Covid everywhere and other worries it’s been hard to get too excited so far. This has been a huge distraction and a real help to feel in control of something at least!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah now that’s where my husband’s bag comes into play, he gets to take the presents. I’m not sure what else to suggest apart from small gifts, post beforehand, the struggle is real!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Deb – seeing all that baggage lying around at Heathrow just did my Type A personality head in! With all the flight cancellations etc I’m just happy being a homebody – but I totally understand how excited you’ll be to see the family and that will make it all worthwhile. Good on you for acing the baggage challenge and I think it’s an incredibly smart move on your part. Glad the eye isn’t going to be an issue and that you got such good care. If I pop over would they do my hip??? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Go Deb!!! I’m so delighted that you decided to go with a well-planned, well-packed carry-on. I swear you will never return to check-in luggage again. After the first time I went carryon only – I never looked back! Good luck! Hope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised with just how much I have fitted in Donna and think I agree with you, I won’t go back to checking in luggage again! Feeling better thanks 🙂


  8. Hi Deb, I’m just back from my 5 week trip in the UK and Europe. I still took hold luggage but probably had about the same amount of clothes that you plan to take. Most of our trip was staying with family or in Airbnb so washing clothes was easy. We did have a week in a hotel which is the only time that I actually wore all the clothes I had packed. If you have access to a washing machine it is really easy to travel with less stuff.
    The airports in Europe and the UK are maniac and I saw lots of suitcases piled up which obviously hadn’t reconnected with their owners so carryon will certainly be more secure. Plus you will be reducing your carbon footprint with less weight on the plane.
    Wishing you a fantastic time in the UK x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so pleased to read this Deb. When I first read your previous post about this I had been wondering if I can do it on my Qld trip. I’d have decided it wasn’t possible and then today you have convinced me that maybe it is. My complication is that I need to also take professional clothes for the conference. Fingers crossed it works. Have a happy and safe trip

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You’re so well organised but then I think you need to be to make this work. I’ve never travelled carry-on only for such a long trip so I’m watching with interest to see how you find it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Sarah, it is a matter of being organised and I’ve enjoyed the focus it’s given me. I’m keen to see how it works too and will keep track of my outfits and report back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Deb, lost or delayed luggage has become even more of a problem since Covid. You are wise to carry your bag and encourage your husband to do the same. Malcolm always gives up a little space for my things too. Girls need their stuff!

    Living in one place for the duration of your stay is entirely in your favor. Your packing list is a thing of beauty. You will not regret the effort.

    Fingers crossed that your connections go smoothly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Suzanne, you’re right as it seems we keep hearing bad news items about baggage going missing. I am lucky with our plans for the month and think it will work out well.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is awesome. You seem to be taking quite a lot! Good idea to buy toiletries later, they weigh a lot. I think you’ve cracked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I predict you will get a lot of attention for doing this because it’s a feat that most of us wouldn’t be able to pull off. I’m not even one of those guys who fuss about his appearance much, but it would be challenging for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It has been very hot here this week. We broke the all time record for Bristol on Monday 35.2 F so you won’t need much. I have been wearing dresses. Most of the baggage problems seem to be at Heathrow and Edinburgh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Anne, the extreme heat has been making the news over here but I think it will settle down to a pleasant temp when we get there later this week.


  15. Good job and I am going to refer to your diagram when it’s time to pack for PEI in the fall. Is The Mathematican checking his bag? It seems to pretty much be every airport in every country struggling.. hope your trip gets off to a flying start. Hey you could do an Instagram post per day of your outfits! Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bernie! Great minds as I was thinking of taking a daily ‘outfit of the day’ (OOTD) photo to collate how I use my combinations. I might just do an Instagram post so stay tuned!
      Grant is checking his bag in as he has gifts for our daughter but has essentials in his carry-on bag just in case. Thanks for the good wishes it’s been a great way to stay focused and take my mind off the worries going on around us.


  16. Hi Deb, You can do this. I have a friend who travels internationally alot with only 7kg carry on. I did it a few years ago to Bali ( I know all light weigt clothing etc) with 6.78 kg that includes my hand bag bag.

    We are about a month behind you to visit our daughter in London who we haven’t seen since Janurary 2020. I look forward to hearing about your light luggage trip. I have a spreadsheet for travel since the Bali trip. I weigh every item.for example I weigh all my lipsticks and only take the lighteat one. I weigh all my skirts and only take the light ones etc. Same with knckers.everything. Anal I know.

    We are doing part of the camino while we are over there with our other daughter too.All four of us. Lucky hey? I know.

    The baggage backlog is scary. Safe travels and enjoy every minute. I know you will.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Louise, you certainly do well by weighing things! Your trip sounds lovely and I look forward to hearing about it. We haven’t seen our daughter and granddaughter since we left them in January 2020, but it’s been so stressful getting to this point mainly due to Covid and family issues, I’m so keen to get on that plane on Wednesday and just go.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love that you are challenging yourself – I am not sure I could do this … I am not the world’s best packer and a lot of throwing things in the bag last minute is kinda what happens with me.

    Have heard many horror stories about lost luggage all over the world … your plan will certainly take away this potential stressor.

    Excited for you that you are making this trip to visit family – hurray hurray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ju-Lyn I’m only a few days away from travelling now and it’s starting to seem real.. I’m very pleased with my packing efforts and might do an ‘outfit of the day’ instagram post with all my outfits just to prove I have a few choices!


  18. That’s amazing Debbie, I’m taking back my words! I think your back is like a tardis though, so many clothes in there. I didn’t see a sarong in that list, as the UK is baking at the moment you might not be wearing much more!
    Sorry to hear about your eye
    Wishing you safe travels and an enjoyable flight ✈️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Debbie, Thank you for your weekend coffee share and congrats on acing your carry-on packing challenge. I’ve been traveling light with a carry-on since I started traveling as a teenager. I’m glad you’re on your way of becoming a convert. Once you have a packing list, you can re-use it for future trips. Safe travels and have a wonderful trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I can’t imagine getting everything for a month long trip into a carry-on, Debbie! High fives to you. Thanks for including that list, super helpful. On our month-long roadtrip, I had three smallish bags, and didn’t wear half the things I brought due to the excessive heat. I ended up going shopping for more hot weather items. If that happens to you, you can always ship them home, LOL! Glad all is well with you and take good care, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Following along as I’ll hopefully be headed to Japan in a month and may be restricted to what fits in a bullet train luggage compartment – hope this works for you!! Sounds like a fantastic idea especially with baggage issues at so many airports at the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so fabulous travelling like this Holly. I’m recording my daily outfits on Instagram debs__world and my blog’s Facebook page in case you haven’t seen them. I want to keep track of what I wear each day to see what was t required. You can do it but it does take some thought and planning. Well worth it!


  22. Suzanne sent me this way, so I’m saying “hi!” I’ve been following your progress on IG and am in awe of your organizational prowess. You look wonderful and are achieving your goal. I don’t think I could do it, but you have nailed it. Great job

    Liked by 1 person

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