The Travel Challenge; Carry-on only

Four days without checking in a bag

For some, this may sound ridiculous, but travelling light is extremely hard. We recently travelled to Melbourne for the Formula 1 Grand Prix and planned on doing so without wasting time at the baggage carousel.

On average, awaiting for your baggage to spill onto the carousel is 22 minutes – if you’re one of the first bags off the line that is. When you factor in the return trip, it is easily an hour of your life wasted. There is truly nothing better than walking off the plane and into your ground transportation, so how can we keep that feeling for trips longer than one day?

A four day trip was on the cards and one outfit was not going to work per day. The problem with travelling on holidays is you will likely have an outfit for the day and another for the evening. Some items will be useful for multiple days, such as a dinner jacket, so there is some overlap.

Obviously the carry-on restrictions mean our bag had to be small enough to be allowed on. We reached out to the guys who pack dozens of tools into a pocket knife, Victorinox, for assistance. If they can do so much with the Swiss Army Knife then luggage should be simple. The bag we obtained was the new VX Touring. This is a bag built for carry-on, bringing it home for packing though, we were skeptical.

The first thing we did was pull out all the outfits, lay them out, then cull where items were potentially duplicated. This meant one evening jacket, so yes, our Instagrams would look a little similar from night to night, tragedy. The same goes for shoes, one pair for evening, one pair for the day, no mixing it up with brown or black leather shoes in the evenings, pick one!

Laying our culled, carefully chosen items near the bag made it look like an impossible feat. Like a typical Victorinox product though we began discovering the compartments that weren’t obvious to begin with. Most amazingly was the compartment at the back for shoes. This seperate area was segmented for each shoe, kept them away from the other luggage items and allowed for quick access to a fresh pair of shoes whenever you needed them.

Unleashing the main compartment though we had a Dr. Who moment. We kept putting clothes in and the bag kept sucking them in. It is somehow bigger on the inside. We loaded all our clothes and we were able to do the zips up no problem. The final tip here was to leave our the dinner jacket and wear that for the flight, including the heavier shoes, pants and collared shirt, nothing wrong with looking stunning for a flight anyway. But, we were missing something…

Toiletries is an interesting one. Firstly, there are restrictions around what can be put in carry-on to begin with. For example, no large aerosol cans, they might accidentally be used to fight off United Airlines security. We hit up our local grocer and picked up a mini aerosol, smaller mouth wash, even a smaller toothpaste. We then culled items here too. For example, shaving the morning before leaving means that we’ll spend the four days growing out the beard and shave upon arriving home. This cut out a few items immediately. All in all, we were good to go.

The VX Touring still has the extendable handle and wheels at the base for pulling it through the airport with ease. It’s a sexy looking bag so you’ll be happy to stand next to it while waiting to board. It does give a bigger than expected look for carry-on and some friends mentioned it might be too big. With a name like “Global Carry-On” we were not concerned.

The VX Touring on the left, the normal large suitcase on the right

After the four days we have a few things to say from the experience. Firstly, if anyone you are travelling with is planning on taking checked luggage then you might as well just do the same. You’ll be waiting for them anyway so pack the big suitcase and throw the closet in there. Secondly, we culled too hard. Being of a European background, four days was a pipe-dream between shaves. By the second day it was an ugly growth and required a trip to the grocer for shaving cream and a razor. We left it at the hotel too. Also, by restricting yourself on outfit imagination meant that we felt a little bored or restricted with what to wear, some nights you’ll feel like something other than what you packed, your mood might not suit what you had in mind when you were packing, but this is being picky. Lastly, having the right bag is really really important. It needs to suit your key luggage items, the shoe compartment was a joy for example, but it also needs to maximise the carry-on measurements from the airlines, every inch counts! Every kilo also counts as they may want to weigh your bag. The VX Touring is 2.4kg empty so consider that when shopping around.

Would we do it again? If the conditions are right, absolutely. If it were a work trip we could likely do a whole week, for holidays though, five days would be the maximum stretch.

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Lifestyle

You may have seen Geoff on YouTube where his tech videos saw millions of views or heard him while he talks tech across the radio waves. In his day job though he is an IT manager, a lover of Formula 1, great food and wine and obviously; technology.

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