10 Tips from a Packing Pro on Travelling with Cabin Luggage Only

It’s officially airport season, a large number of us will be hitting terminals and gates over the next couple of months.

We all know that travelling only with cabin luggage makes for an easier experience, no waiting for the luggage carousel or pulling 25kg of unnecessary clothes across cities. It is however, easier said than done.

Pilot, entrepreneur and Mum of three Susan Furniss-Radley from Dungarvan, is accustomed to travelling and knows the secrets of keeping luggage light and making smart packing choices.  

“After years of flying planes, weekends away, work trips and child friendly holidays, I have learned some great packing tricks. These experiences led me to create the dust + rock Travel Cubes, a seven set piece providing everything you need to keep your luggage compact and organised”

Dust + rock founder Susan has put together a list of her favourite tips to keep that luggage light!

1.    Plan a rough outfit itinerary before you go

If you know what you’ll be doing each day, you’ll know how many outfits you’ll need for nights out, how many days you’ll spend on the beach, how much walking etc.


2.    Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes

Shoes are the things to take up the most space in your case so stick to one or two pairs of shoes. Wear your bulky ones on the plane and slip the smaller pair in your case.

3.    Get the largest lightweight case allowable

Rules vary between airlines so double check what size allowance you have. While rolling cases are easier if your bag is heavier, backpacks are often much easier to transport over cobblestones and place into overhead lockers. 

4.     Bring a bag in a bag

Alongside your main piece of luggage bring a large tote that doubles as an airport and beach bag. Inside this bag, pop a slim cross-body bag. This is your everyday bag for your trip. 

5.    Pack versatile items

Choose layering items and co-ords; all your tops and bottoms should work together giving you max number of options. Day outfits can be transformed to evening appropriate with accessories. Go with neutral colours or a monochrome palette.

6.     Use packing cubes 

Packing cubes are a lifesaver when you’re using hand luggage only. You can squish so much more into each cube and keeps everything organised. The dust+rock Travel Cubes: Set of 7: €75.00 are made from recycled plastic bottles and include Clothing Cubes, Laundry Bag, Accessories Bag, Spill Proof Bag and Shoe Bag. 

7.    Bring an extension cable

Eliminate multiple adaptors and charge your phone, Kindle and use a hair straightener at the same time.

8.    Do a mini wash

A fabric refresh is often enough for some items after being worn. A sink and some hotel soap are absolutely fine. Choose lightweight fabrics such as silk, which will dry quickly, and take up less space in your bag.

9.    Roll everything

Rolled-up clothes take up less space. Lay out two or three pieces on top of each other on your bed and roll tightly from one end, squeezing air and wrinkles out as you go. Pop them in your packing cubes as you go. 

10.   Use the hotel toiletries

We all have our favourite toiletries but in pursuit of the smug carry-on lifestyle, this is the time to use the ones provided by the hotel. You’ll save vital space.

If all else fails you could replicate TikToker @nolimitua, has received 25 million views for an airport video revealing she had removed the foam from her travel pillow and filled it with clothes.

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