I can happily tolerate everything about flying – the squashed seats, dry air and even screaming children – but, I draw the line at having to wait at the carousels for my checked-in luggage to arrive.
Holding a personal record for spending seven days in Johannesburg with only hand luggage, it takes a lot for me to let go of my valuables and wait in hope for them to arrive at the other side. So, when I was faced with a second trip in a month, I knew it was time to up my travelling game.
As someone who had last bought luggage when she headed to France at the age of 19, I knew a lot had changed in the past 12 years, if the site of my somewhat-falling-apart fabric suitcase set was anything to go by. I naturally headed online to check out the market and was immediately drawn to the Paklite range, which I saw on iBags. I wanted something pretty – of course – practical, and that could see me through a good few years of airport terminals.
But, it’s not just all looks. It’s light, at under 3kg and filled with handy features that I never knew I needed. For example, the pullout handle stops at two different lengths – one when you walk with your suitcase alongside you, and another when you pull it behind you. There are a host of other features that you can view here (and when you’re done, buy it online here).
Two things that I absolutely loved were the multidirectional wheels and the “clam shell” design of the suitcase, giving you equal packing space on both sides. After a little experimenting, I found the lower half best for rolled clothes, using the clip-in strap to keep everything together – and the top, zipped, netted half best for odd shapes and things that tend to move around: shoes, toiletry bags, chargers etc.
Now, a few packing tips to help you make the most of your hand luggage.
A reminder that when it comes to travelling with hand luggage only, you’re trying to minimise space and weight. Restrictions vary per airline, but the weight allowance for domestic travel is usually around 7kg – thankfully the Paklite Wave Cabin Suitcase complies with dimension restrictions, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Roll, roll, roll
I’m firmly on the side of rolling clothes when it come to packing. Not only does it save space, but it allows you to see what you have packed – and where – at a glance, instead of having to work your way through laters of folded items. It does also help prevent creasing, but that really isn’t a huge worry for me, as almost every hotel, B & B or guesthouse will have an iron available.
Travel bottles are your friends
Yes, decanting your face wash and shampoo into little bottles might seem like a waste of time, but you’re saving both space and weight. I bought this set, which comes with the transparent pouch for R50 – a complete bargain. It contained make up remover, cleanser, face moisturiser, body moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner – as you can tell, I don’t travel “light”, but I do like to travel clever. As I was also weary of spills and leaks, I put the entire pouch into a large Ziplock bag, for added peace of mind. If you have any leftover product when you get home, you can simply use them straight from the travel bottles until they are finished, instead of decanting them back into their full-sized counterparts.
Think about shoes
By far the bulkiest and most inconvenient items to pack, try to limit the number of shoes you take with – and, wear the bulkiest pair. I had to take two pairs of heels, which wasn’t ideal, but still managed to make my hand luggage-only rule work. To maximise the space between them, I put my phone and laptop charger in-between the gaps too, to make the most of that space. Other items that could be packed around shoes include socks, headbands, light sleep shirts and scarves.
Don’t forget about your handbag
While the majority of your items will be in your suitcase, don’t forget about your handbag, which you’re allowed to take on board as a separate piece of luggage. To maximise space, it’s worth rethinking any particularly bulky items – swap a large wallet with all your cards for a more compact pouch with only the essentials, and a hard, sunglass case for a soft, fabric replacement. Worst case scenario – if you run of our of space, or weight, in your suitcase, try and place the heavier items (toiletries or cosmetics) in your handbag, as this is generally not weighed.
Note: I received a cabin bag at no cost from Paklite for review purposes. All views and photographs are my own.