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When you travel, the last thing you want is to be weighed down by heavy bags. Consider your purse, carry-on bag, checked bag — every piece you have to pick up. Follow our tips to help you get rid of luggage weight before you even begin your travel packing!
Does your luggage weigh you down or put a spring in your step? If your goal is to pack light and travel carry-on only, think about the weight of your actual bags and how you can choose the best lightweight luggage instead. Airlines have a luggage weight limit, but beyond that, you don’t want to have to carry heavy suitcases, purses, or bags.
Here’s everything you need to know to get rid of luggage weight!
Table of Contents
- Personal item: Lightweight Purse
- Lightweight Carry-on Bag
- Checked Baggage
- Duffle Bag
- Nylon Bag/Backpack
- Hardside Carry-on Luggage
- Softside Suitcase
- Choosing the Right Personal Item
Personal item: Lightweight Purse
We often use leather bags because they’re cute and attractive, making them some of our favorite purses. However, when it comes to travel, leather is heavier. To pack light, pass on your usual leather purse or tote in favor of something more lightweight, possibly even packable.
Travelon makes lightweight anti-theft purses in many styles to fit your needs, like this messenger bag.
Tip: The minimalist packing list will help you meet airlines’ baggage weight and travel light!
Lightweight Carry-on Bag
One of the biggest and easiest ways to cut down on how much your luggage weighs is in your suitcase itself. People don’t realize a suitcase can weigh a lot without anything in it. Choose a lightweight suitcase to start.
Don’t take the word of the luggage brand, however. The ones labeled lightweight luggage sets might not be lightweight. Ideally, look for a carry-on bag that weighs about 2 kilos, or less than 5 pounds. Travelpro offers great lightweight travel luggage for international flights, like this carry-on spinner.
We found some of the best lightweight luggage!
Checked baggage weight is still tricky as you search for the best lightweight luggage for international travel. You might want a bigger suitcase for your checked luggage, but remember, the bigger the bag, the heavier it will be. You might be able to fit more into a 25-inch suitcase than a 30-inch one, simply because the bag will weigh less on its own.
We suggest this lightweight 25-inch suitcase from Delsey.
Read about the best luggage scales!
Sports Duffle Bag
If you plan to shop at your destination, you might want to pack a travel duffle bag with wheels, like this rolling tote bag from Travelpro Maxlite. It has a lot of space and is packable.
Keep in mind, however, if you start shopping on the first day of a multi-day trip – say a whirlwind trip to Europe with a day in each destination – you’ll need to carry it with you. It’s a good option for checking at the end of your trip. However, this bag might be troublesome on coach tours or trains.
Find out why a rolling duffle bag is the best alternative to a backpack!
Nylon is one of the lightest materials, and it’s easy to clean. However, brands of lesser quality have a tendency to rip easily. Even with some designer nylon backpack brands where I expected better quality, I was disappointed.
Still be mindful of the carry-on luggage weight even with nylon bags. If your goal is to maximize baggage allowance, a heavier bag might defeat that purpose. Instead, look for a bag like this Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack, among the best lightweight luggage for carry-on travel.
Read my Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack review!
Hardside Carry-on Luggage
Traditionally, I’ve preferred a softside suitcase, but more recently, I’ve been liking ultra-lightweight hardside luggage. Currently, I’m using the Delsey Turenne. The price point is a little higher than others I’ve had in the past, but the internal features make it the best hardside luggage I’ve used.
A suitcase, like Delsey hardside luggage, will prevent you from packing over the actual suitcase limit. Because a softside suitcase is flexible and less structured, you can pack more than is allowed, and that will weigh more.
Our readers weigh in on the hard-side vs. soft-side luggage debate!
With softside suitcase sets, one group is lighter than others. Usually, the more bells and whistles a suitcase has, the more it will weigh. Whenever I choose a soft side suitcase, I look for ones that are simple, plain, and have a nice, empty rectangular opening, so I can use packing organizers to create the ideal scenario for me.
If there was a hard side suitcase that opened like a soft side, that probably would be my No. 1 choice.
Softside suitcases have two options: traditional suitcases from vacation luggage companies and those geared toward adventure travel, long-term outdoor and outdoor gear, such as Osprey. This particular Osprey bag has been one of my all-time favorites for long-term travel because my goal was to avoid lugging around a big, heavy bag.
This smaller, soft suitcase allowed me the flexibility of having more items in less space, because it was ultra-light itself. Another plus for this lightweight luggage bag is it is softer to the touch. I could check this bag if I wanted, but it helped me avoid the need for a big bag and let me travel lighter with only carry-on luggage.
Minimize your luggage with packing cubes!
Choosing the Right Personal Item for You
Choosing the right personal items depends on your activity. Personally, I prefer a backpack, even though I have back problems. The weight distribution on my back is better.
I’m most happy with a backpack as a personal item because of the organization options. However, with one travel backpack I chose, the material didn’t last long, and it was a pain to unpack my laptop going through TSA.
Consider your personal comfort when choosing a personal item. Even if you plan a leisurely trip with taxis and drivers to hoist your bags, you probably will have to go through airports, and some are bigger than others. London Heathrow, for example, is really big. You will need to be able to carry your travel luggage quite a distance.
One solution might be to choose a personal item with a trolley sleeve like this one from RomWell. It slips over the handles of your carry-on suitcase, and keeps it securely in place when you’re wheeling your luggage.
Read how to choose the right travel luggage!
If you carry a shoulder bag while sight-seeing, make sure it has a full zipper so you don’t have your items fall out. It also minimizes your risk of theft. You also can use an anti-theft bra stash, like this one from Compass Rose, to store cash and cards.
Watch this video with tips to avoid theft while traveling!
Ultimately, you need to be true to your own style preferences. And if that means a leather bag, it’s 100 percent OK, because you should travel with things that make you feel most comfortable! Instead, look for other ways to pack light. Happy travels!
How do you cut down on luggage weight when you pack? Share and comment below!
For more lightweight luggage recommendations, check out these resources:
- Best Luggage Brands For Travel
- Best Under Seat Luggage
- Best Carry-on Suitcases for Traveling to Europe
- This Packing Video Will Change the Way You Travel
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