10 day International Travel with just a Carry on Bag?

Yes, it is possible and my trip was 12 days in fact.

After going through a past travel-nightmare experience, the PTSD in me urged me to look for other alternatives other than checking my bag for 6 different flight legs with multiple Airline Carriers.

Not so long ago while traveling to Europe, our first flight got delayed so we rushed to catch the next flight. Even though we were able to out-perform the run of our lives pretty decently, our luggage did not make the connection.

We arrived to Madrid with nothing but a crappy toiletry bag the airline provided us with, so that we could at least brush our teeth. Needless to say, even trying to find underwear close to the hotel was a nightmare (starting with figuring out European sizes!). So for this trip, I did my research and here are the full details and insights so that you can do it too.

  • Check your airline carry-on dimensions

International carry-on is smaller than domestic carry-on. So if you have a carry-on that is well-travelled domestically, don’t assume it will fit under international dimensions. Measure it! Check every  airline that you will be traveling since they all differ from one another. And select the smallest measure for every dimension (LxWxH).

  • Buy the perfect bag

If you’re on a budget a Rockland 20″ Hard-Case Spinner will work great (I own one and absolutely love it!). If you wanna splurge a little, go ahead, buy a TUMI or your favorite designer bag with no remorse (because you will be taking good care of it). However, I do not recommend buying a designer bag to be checked luggage (we all know what happens after you leave your bag in that belt loader).

  • Pack like a Pro

Roll it, Fold it, or Bundle it. The best methods for a well structured bag like a hard-case spinner are to fold it or bundle it. But use the method of your preference, watch videos and master the art of packing. Remember to leave heavy fabrics at home and to make your fabric and pattern selection while keeping in mind the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle principal. Mix and Match!

  • Take a personal item

Ladies, bring a large tote bag with you. This is the ultimate travel bag and you can add a change of clothes and toothbrush (you never know if your bag needs to get checked on a full flight and the unthinkable happens). Guys, a small Duffel Bag or laptop backpack will do. Try to leave this bag half empty so that you can fill it on your way back with any souvenirs that you purchase.

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