I’m not a heavy packer for trips in general but the last couple trips I’d brought a checked bag instead of going carry on only. I’d never tried it before and wanted to see if it was a worth while endeavor. Having just bought a new snorkeling kit I figured it would be a decent cost cutting measure since there were a few places I’d have to rent if I didn’t bring my own
There are some definite pluses to going checked bag with a personal bag.
- No worrying about a 311 bag
- Less worry about what to pack
- No lugging an extra bag around the airport
- No worries about overhead storage on a flight
- Being able too pack larger containers of liquids and having more space for souvenirs on the way back
Comes with some cons too
- Waiting to pickup your luggage after a flight
- Not being sure it’ll actually get on the right end point
- Both times it got rummaged through by customs and they broke the lock the second time
- Bigger luggage is more of a pain in the ass to transport and makes me feel weighed down
- I tend to pack too much “stuff” that never gets used
Overall, for my style of travel I prefer packing as light as possible. I don’t mind so much if I have to buy something when I get where I’m going, do without something else, or have to do laundry partway through a trip. I just feel better / lighter psychologically with less stuff and that’s a huge priority for me. Going forward, it’s carry on only for me!
That makes my next task figuring out what I want to pack and what I want to carry it in. I’ve got an Ona Brixton bag that I absolutely love, it does a great job as a personal bag on flights carrying my electronics , and as an excursion bag to carry camera, wallet, water bottle, etc when I’m off ship. I have a small roller bag that I’d been using as my actual carry on for years but had some problems with it.
I’m not actually a fan of hard shell bags, I really hate how they open as a clamshell, I don’t like how the the wheels are exposed, and they’re just too long to be put in some overhead compartments. Not a fan of having to roll them around either, especially on uneven surfaces. Vastly prefer something that can be easily carried / slung over a shoulder.
With that in mind I set out to find what a “perfect” carry on bag for me would be, looked at backpacks, soft roller bags, and finally, duffle bags. Backpacks I almost immediately dismissed. While I like the functionality of them I’d spent a fair amount of time searching for the right backpack for my camera gear in the past. I’d found a few “ok” ones (the PRVKE comes to mind as my favorite that I found) but I just prefer the simplicity of a messenger bag over a backpack. Soft roller bags got ruled out pretty quickly too, other than the lack of a clamshell opening they had all the issues that I hated about roller bags in general. So that left me with looking at the feasibility of duffles.
I loved the idea of a duffle bag, you can find ones with some real style and they’re designed to be either hand carried or with a strap over the shoulder. Makes it easier walking around the airport and small enough that I could carry on the cruise instead of waiting for luggage to be delivered to my room. Let me unpack and really start vacation a little earlier.
Only concern I had were a lot of the ones I saw were a little smaller than I wanted, and I needed to make sure they’d be sufficient for my needs. So I went into my packing checklist a little deeper to see what I actually used on the previous cruises, what I didn’t and tried to come up with the “perfect for me” packing list. (I’ll have a few posts after this one around my electronics bag and my clothing bag). It’s still a work in progress, constantly being refined, but I don’t think I’ll have any issues packing for a multi week trip with a messenger bag + carry on duffle.