Practical Tips

Can You Travel for Six Months with Carry-On Only?

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Recently I shared some major news on Facebook and Instagram: my husband and I have decided to head off travelling long term, probably leaving in June! We’ve got a long (and growing) list of places we want to visit, covering every continent. My favourite answer when people ask where we’ll be going, is everywhere!! And I’ll have a lot of fun detailing our adventures on this blog.

First up, we’re looking at spending 6 months in South East Asia, before returning to Sydney over Christmas. There’s two reasons for this choice. Firstly, it’ll be good to catch up again with our family, especially as I have a niece about to turn one and another niece or nephew due soon. (Babies grow so quickly!) But secondly, by sticking to the tropics, we’re planning on travelling with carry-on only. While home we’ll then pick up warmer clothes for the next part of our trip.

It’s usually at this point that people go hold on, you’re planning on travelling for six months with carry-on only?? To people who haven’t usually travelled carry-on only, not even for a weekend or night away, this seems pretty inconceivable. And then I started thinking, will I really be able to do this??

It’s not that I don’t have experience in travelling carry-on only. Out of the last five overseas trips I’ve taken, four of them have been with carry-on only, and I’ve been getting more skilled at packing, even finding room for my laptop and a bulky underwater camera set-up on my last trip. These trips were also to tropical destinations, where no warm clothes were required, other than a light sweater and maybe jeans (usually worn on the plane). But each of these trips have been about a week long, a lot shorter than six months. (The one trip that I didn’t do carry-on only was for over 3 weeks to Europe over Christmas, where part of my luggage space was required for bringing Christmas gifts home!)

Carry-On Only in Kuala Lumpur

But how many more clothes do you need for 6 months compared to a week? I can simply pack the same amount and wash them each week. And I tend to pack minimal toiletries, relying on what’s provided at hotels (and wishing they more consistently provided conditioner!) and keeping a simple beauty routine. If you’re staying longer in a destination, it’s easy to buy virtually the same brands at shops around the world. And anything else that you realise you need, can also be bought along the way.

Meanwhile, I’ll be saving on luggage fees (especially when flying with discount airlines), not worrying about leaving my luggage behind, and finding it easier to get around on public transport. Just one apology to my family and friends: I don’t think I’ll have room to bring you home souvenirs!

Need some more tips on how to reduce your luggage? Check out these 10 packing tips.

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6 Months with Carry-On Only

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