When you’re flying internationally on a budget airline (like Jetstar) a big topic of discussion that gets thrown into the fray before you depart is how much luggage you should take, and by extension, whether or not you should pay for checked luggage.
I honestly am a big supporter of the idea of small to medium sized luggage. When it comes to lugging your gear on public transport, through traffic, on streets and in airports, hard-shell roller luggage is the king and packing smart, and not buying bigger luggage will mean less effort, stress and energy wasted on your trip. And if you’re lucky, you’ll save a few dollars too.
Show how did we roll? Given we were over for nearly 3 weeks, we picked up Antler’s new super-light rollers (find them at Strandbag’s Aussies) which were really well priced at just a tad over a hundred bucks for some of the lightest luggage on the market. We packed enough clothes so that we only had to wash everything once. Most hotels have pretty amazing laundry services, especially in Tokyo, and for a few bucks, you can half your luggage load just by spending an hour half way through your trip tendering to your holiday sweat and food stains.
But packing smart goes beyond clothes. In the case of keeping the electronics charged (and there was a lot, from cameras to Macs to GoPros and iPhones) I opted for a 5 port USB charging station to keep everything alive which meant not having to pack a whole myriad of separate chargers plus their individual bits and bobs. For mainly everything, it was a matter of plugging into the hub and going to bed. Simple. I also bought some organiser bags to keep everything together, from cables to socks, briefs to tees. It might seem a little OCD, but when you’re working with centimetres of space between the bag closing and you having to dump gifts so that you can not smell like a sewer the next day, keeping everything packed down and neat will be your saviour.
It also helps to know how your carrier’s luggage policy works. Jetstar is allegedly quite pedantic about carry-on, but not once did we get checked, despite the constant myriad of emails and news reports saying they would. I guess the best advice there is that if you look like a hunched caveman because you’re dumping cameras, clothes and kilo’s of un-necessary crap into one backpack, they’ll probably know something’s up. After all, while this might be your first rodeo, it certainly isn’t their’s.
All in all, I kept non-essentiall tech gear plus clothes in the Antler Roller, and everything else, like cameras and gear to keep us entertained on the flight over and abroad in my Incase DSLR Backpack, which ended up being a god-send thanks in part to its chest brace and breathable materials. Ultimately, the real key to having a great holiday is whether you’re on a train, in your hotel or moving from city to city, is being able to pack, unpack and get on the move with maximum efficiency.