The summer season of overcrowded airports, mammoth check-in lines, exorbitant baggage fees and lost luggage is fast approaching. So would you do a cruise with carry-on bags only, simply to avoid the hassle?
I have before, but it’s not easy when you want to look good in the evenings and take workout gear and drag along a large camera, an iPad, a phone and a charger for each. And then go shopping in port.
But a thread on the Cruise Critic forum about ‘bundling’ has made me realize I’m packing all wrong. Member Linkerbink has posted a video of Jon Holloway from packinglight.com smoothly squishing what he claims is enough outfits for 60 days into a 22-inch carry on. Sixty days!
The trick, apparently, is to build a pile of your clothes in the wheelie bag with the arms of the tops and the legs of the trousers hanging out, the garments arranged criss-cross on top of one another. When you’ve layered them all neatly, you fold in the arms and legs to create a compact bundle, which, Jon Holloway says, uses the space most efficiently.
Underwear goes in a space-saving hanging bag and you’re allowed two pairs of shoes plus the pair you wear for travel. Toiletries, cameras and books go in your second piece of hand luggage, which doubles up as a handbag or daypack on the cruise. Sorted.
I do have some issues with Jon’s claims; for a start I find the fictitious lightweight traveler for whom he is packing to be sartorially challenged. His two pairs of shoes (hidden in a shoe bag) are tiny; they could be soft Gucci moccasins, which is fair enough, or simply flip flops, which wouldn’t do for dinner on a stylish cruise. No bejeweled wedges or shiny black evening shoes for Jon.
Second, the capsule wardrobe he packs in the demo (three pairs of trousers, one pair of jeans, one skirt, one dress, nine tops and a jacket) is really boring. Everything is plain and pastel, because to make his enough-outfits-for-60-days claim, you have to be able to combine any of the five pairs of trousers or the dreary black skirt with any of the ten frumpy tops.
But let’s be less ambitious. Just seven days would be good, including one jacket for men or a couple of cardigans or wraps and a small evening bag for ladies, so surely that’s attainable using this method? There’s always the onboard laundry, after all.
It’s clear from the forum, which, incidentally, contains some great packing tips, that a lot of cruisers do like to travel with hand luggage, some even more ambitiously than Jon Holloway, although some bundle, others roll and one (MsPink98) favors the ‘stuff and pray’ method, whatever that may be.
If you’ve ever cruised with hand luggage only, what’s your top packing tip?
For more packing tips, see our Ultimate Packing Guide.