Monday, April 7, 2014

Our Group's Travel Rules 101-7. Now, About Baggage.....

Or, How To Make Sure We're Still Talking To Each Other At the End of the Trip - 7

We all know that most promo/budget fares include no check-in baggage  allowance, and excess baggage fees are .....excessive. Passengers are usually allowed 7 kilos as carry on baggage, although smaller planes such as those that fly to Caticlan (Boracay) allow only 5 kilos. At first we balked at this, and thought it was impossible to pack for a 4-night trip with just 7 kilos. But we did it, and have been doing it for years, so we thought we'd share some tips with you.

Good for 5 nights, 2 people

First, get a lightweight carry-on trolley that weighs 1.5 kilos or less. We each got a cute, China-made one for only P450.00, and the bags served us for many trips. Our only complaint is that the wheels made such a racket that we could hear CLACK-CLACK-CLACK in our heads long after we had disembarked from the plane. Like a last song syndrome, except that this was all percussion. After three years of frequent use, they're still working fine except for a few frays in the fabric.

The P450.00 trolley bags

Sure, you could always buy baggage allowance - the rates are reasonable especially if you buy way ahead of your flight. However, you may stretch the 7-kilo carry on allowance a bit more by bringing along a backpack in addition to the trolley. No, not the one that looks like you're going on a 2-month trek to the Himalayas. Just your regular backpack (which sometimes can also carry 7 more kilos!)/  Now, the airline staff are not consistent about this...sometimes they weigh all handcarried items, sometimes they let you get away with it. Of course it would help if you could walk without keeling over backwards from all that weight. 

Different airlines have different weight restrictions, but even if your carry-on weighs under 7 kilos, some airlines would still insist that you check it in if it exceeds the allowed luggage dimensions. Generally, it should not exceed  56 cm. x 36 cm. x 23 cm. all around, but for smaller planes, the dimensions may be smaller. This is because some overhead stowage bins are really narrow, as in Pal Express' Bombardier planes. It pays to check with your airline and your flight before you start packing. 

Image from USA Today in the Sky

Next, pack clothes that are made of lightweight material. They're not just light, they're usually quick-drying too, so it's a plus if you intend to do a little laundry while on tour. Also, don't bring whole bottles of shampoo and conditioner and other essentials; bring sachets or travel sizes. Or you may want to wait and see if your hotel provides them, and then buy whatever else you need at your destination. 

And lastly, check out which things you can share (no, not toothbrushes...not towels either!). Agree among yourselves who should bring the hairdryer (you don't need one hairdryer EACH, do you?), the tripod (unless you're on a photo safari!), phone chargers, portable water heaters, etc. so you save on space and weight. 

Now, if you really need to sneak in a few more kilos, you could probably try wearing cargo pants...

Image from could stuff hand towels and T-shirts in those pockets ;-) .  And if you wear those pants with this vest..

Image from

..then you'd get away with 10 more kilos! There's no guarantee you'll be able to walk from the pre-departure area to the plane, though, much less sit on the plane! But you could try.

"Let your memory be your travel bag." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

For more information on baggage allowance, check the websites: