While planning our trip to the Caribbean, we found really cheap direct flights from Paris to both, Guadeloupe and Martinique. But flying with cheap airlines means that you need to pay for all of the
In our situation, checked-in baggage cost once again the price of a single ticket. Way too much. So we decided to fly for a two-month trip to the Caribbean and pack hand luggage only for this journey.
Read more: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Guadeloupe.
Pack hand luggage only – the advantages of light traveling
Traveling with the minimal baggage has a lot of advantages. Once you’ll try it you’ll like it.
Of course, the success of this method depends on your destination. It is surely more difficult to pack hand luggage only while going to Norway in winter. The huge influence has also your own traveling style. Camping in the wild requires more equipment than a few weeks spent in the city center.
But let’s have a look on the most essential advantages:
- The most obvious: you save your money on additional airline services.
- Hand luggage is more convenient to carry. If you’re not on all-inclusive vacation, and if you don’t take a private taxi from the airport to the hotel, it will be much easier for you to commute with a small backpack than with a huge valise.
- You will save your time at the airport because you will not need to wait in the check-in queue before flight either wait for your baggage after arrival.
- You will spend less time each morning choosing what to wear. Fewer clothes mean fewer choices but it makes your life easier.
- After a few trips with carry-on baggage only, you’ll become a master in packing. That means during every next trip, you will be less stressed about what to pack.
- While packing back at the end of your trip the process will be much faster than with a huge valise. You simply save your time.
- Your organization skills will improve. That will have an influence on other everyday tasks.
The disadvantages of this style
Even if there are more advantages of minimal traveling, there are still some negatives
- This one hurts me the most: you’ve got a space limit for souvenirs. Beautiful local handicraft, tasty delicacies, a wonderful dress made of great material – you need to choose wisely because your backpack probably doesn’t have a second bottom.
- Most airlines have strict regulations about the weight of hand luggage. Even if something fits into your backpack, it doesn’t mean that the weight will be okay. Usually, the airlines don’t weigh the hand luggage, but sometimes they do. Personally, I feel stressed about it each time, when I know I’m on the limit.
- Hand luggage is perfect for city breaks and longer trips to warm climates, but only if you’ve got a proper accommodation. If you’re going camping you will simply miss the place for necessary gear.
- Hand luggage content has some limitations on airports’ security gates. You are not enabled to bring in kitchen knives (sometimes useful to prepare food during day trips), gas cooker or bigger amounts of liquids.
How to become a minimalist traveler
The problem of traveling with minimal travel gear is not about space. Trust me, in a small backpack, you can put everything that you’ll need for a few months on the Caribbean.
The only problem is in our heads. To become a minimalist traveler you’ll need to change the way you think about your lifestyle. But don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you might think.
The trick is asking yourself the right questions and answer them truly honest and reasonable.
Do you really need this curler? Maybe your hair deserves a vacation too.
Is one t-shirt per each day really necessary? Come on, they will not become that dirty and there is a washing machine in every hotel.
Can’t you really live without those high heels for a few weeks? Maybe you can take one pair of shoes which will be accurate for both: evening in a
You might say it’s crazy but if you’ll think about it, it will have sense. Simply answer yourself “seriously, cannot I do it without this thing?”
My hand luggage packing list for two months in the Caribbean
Below you can take a look on my own packing list. All of these items found a place in my CabinZero backpack which was designed to serve as practical hand luggage. Actually, I have been traveling with this bag on all of my recent adventures and it really does a great job. Here you can read my whole review of it, with all the pros and cons.
Are you curious how I was able to afford two months in the Caribbean? Check out my 15 hacks to save money for travel.
The trip starts in October in Paris and ends in the same city in December, which explains sweaters.
- Rainproof jacket – I prefer coats, but this jacket is much lighter so it’s much easier to carry
- 2 x sweaters
- 3 x dresses
- 1 x poncho – perfect to wear at home and on the beach (so not the wool type)
- 1 x jeans
- 1 x linen long trousers
- 1 x shorts
- 7 x blouses
- 1 x short pajamas
- 2 x swimsuits
- 2 x bras
- 7 x underpants
- 5 x pairs of socks
- 1 x pair of each: sandals/trekking shoes/sailing shoes (I absolutely love Sperry Top-Sider shoes! They are elegant in the city and safe on the slippery stones on the trail)
- Laptop (with etui for additional protection)
- Computer charger
- Phone charger
- Computer mouse
- External drive
- SSD card
- Additional USB – micro USB cable
- Drawing tablet
- Selfie stick
- Wallet with some local cash
- Bank cards
- National ID card
- Flight/ferry tickets
- EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card)
- Traveling insurance
Other useful gear
- Backpack – the essential – I was traveling with Cabin Zero 44l
- Toiletry bag – check how to pack your zero waste toiletry bag for next travel
- Diving googles
- Reusable water bottle with filter (perfect in travel – you can refill it even in public toilet when you’re in a developed country – saves the environment and your money)
- Reusable cutlery – mine are made of hard plastic, so they easily pass the security gates on the airport
- Foldable silicone box – together with cutlery it’s a great set to bring your homemade food for daily trips
- Everyday smaller bag (at the end I changed a leather bag from the photo to a cotton back bag – it was smaller and lighter)
- Linen/cotton shopping bags
- Small towel
- Pen and notepad
Still too much?
After the first month in the Caribbean, I can already say… that I took too many things again. Really, two of my blouses I wore only once. One sweater probably would be enough in Paris. And the drawing tablet – well, I hoped to use it more but I simply do not have enough time anyway.
Let me see what will happen in winter Paris. Maybe I’ll change my mind about sweaters. New experience gained.
You can share this post with friends often traveling to warm countries. Maybe they will find some advice here. And I hope my tips will be extremely valuable for you as well!
After two months spend in the Caribbean, I revised my packing list. Pack hand luggage only was a great idea, but now I would do it even better. Those are the items, that I will leave home next time:
- 3 blouses – I am pretty sure 4 will be enough for next time
- 1 bra – well, wearing my dresses does not require wearing a bra too, so most of the time they were laying in my backpack
- drawing tablet – unfortunately, I didn’t have time to use it; next time I will not deceive myself
According to sweaters: winter in Paris was so cold, that I was wearing both of them each day. So taking them was a good decision.
Wanna know how much did I spent in total for my Caribbean trip?
Download my financial report for free!
Would you add anything to list list? How your own “pack hand luggage only” process looks like?
Looking for more packing articles?
- What to Wear Sailing? Basic Clothes for Sailing for All Kinds of Weather
- Caribbean Packing List: How to Pack for Fabulous Vacation [+printable!]
- Zero waste travel toiletries – minimalist’s checklist
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Dominika is a founder of Sunday In Wonderland and she recently switched her life to be local independent. She aims to travel the world and admire all of its wonders. She is much focused on sustainable life, self-development and making this world a better place.