Travel plans

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your travel as well as avoiding mistakes that could cost

The right suitcase: carry-ons

Woman with shoulder bag wheeling carryon suitcase towards airport gates

Choosing the right suitcase becomes really important when you get it wrong!  Recently my daughter travelled for 4 nights on a domestic work trip without a good carryon suitcase. Never again was the verdict.

The right suitcase depends oin where you are going – and for how long – no one suitcase will suit (pun intended) all your trips. With any suitcase it is important to remember that the weight of the suitcase is included in your luggage allowance so while a lovely old leather suitcase may be a sturdy friend, it won’t allow you to take as much as a wheeled, shell suitcase – and it will be more difficult to hoist into the overhead lockers. 

The carry-on

The carry on suitcase is perfect for a short interstate trip. The cheaper domestic airlines have the meanest luggage allowances. Qantas and Virgin Australia are the most generous with Qantas being top – and neither will charge for small amounts of excess weight – unless you arrive at the airport with more carry-on luggage than you are allowed and you insist on taking it with you! 

The general weight allowance is 7kg (including the suitcase)  – Qantas will allow up to 14 kg in total which means you can take a garment bag as well. But let’s not be silly about this – life will be easier if you can get everything into one carry on suitcase and take a handbag or backpack.

I confess to not being the best packer (I always add something I might just need… and then something else) I have a deal to learn – even though I have been travelling for over 45 years.  I have just discovered some great youtube videos with instructive titles such as ‘How to pack over 100 items into a carry on’  and ‘Winter Packing – How to pack everything into a carry-on’ – there are heaps more. 

Tips I discovered during this research 

  • make sure you mix and match with your wardrobe – this is something I did learn many years ago.
  • Another is to use shoe bags – something I always do too.
  • Split your toiletries into smaller bags
  • Use packing bags or zip lock bags for socks, undies, and other smalls. 

Do you have another tip? 

5 important things to do before you travel

  1. Make sure your passport is up to date. That means you have at least 6 months left after your planned return to Australia.
  2. Check if you need visas or vaccinations. Visas can be tricky and depend on the passport you are travelling on as well as where you are going. Your travel agent will be on top of this – and also will know if you need vaccinations.
  3. Travel Insurance. Essential. Check the fine print. Look for what isn’t covered as much as for what is, (what if you get hit by a bicycle, break a tooth and need dental care, get sick and miss your tour??)
  4. Copy the important documents (passport, itinerary, insurance details) and leave the copies behind with a relative or friend.
  5. Have a well-packed carry-on. Be prepared – if you are travelling budget you may need a pillow, eye shade, water, snacks, something to read, a screen. Take a few essentials in case your luggage is mislaid