So this post is a long time coming. After raving about travelling the world with carry-on luggage only, when it came to an actual travel checklist, what did we include?

Our Travel Checklist: Deciding to travel light!

When I first heard of the concept of travelling light I was completely dumbstruck. How on earth could we possibly live comfortably, anywhere in the world, and fit everything we needed into just one backpack? I loved the idea of it though!

In December 2014, we travelled to the US and South America for 7 weeks, with a massive 106kg of luggage between us. In reality we needed very little of it, and ended up carting around way more than we actually used.

Our Travel Checklist: We did not want to be carting all of this with us!

The luggage we took on our last big trip – 106kgs in total!

This was exactly how we’d planned on travelling again this time. Granted we had way too much last time, but given that we would be away for extended periods of time, we would definitely need it all this time, wouldn’t we?

So that was our plan… until I was in one of the many awesome travel groups on Facebook and heard people talking about travelling light… taking carry-on only! WHAT! How is that possible? The thoughts that ran through my head were vast… Could we do it? What would we take? There’s no way Cam would agree to it! I’d always wished I’d backpacked around the world when I was younger, so perhaps this could be my chance? No, Cam definitely wouldn’t agree!

How does one start contemplating such a subject? What would we take? I approached Cam with the idea, who as usual thought it was just another crazy notion (“yeah right” were his exact words!) But when we sat and looked at all of the benefits, the concept seemed far less insane!

There are so many benefits to travelling with carry on only… getting off a plane and skipping the baggage carousels sounds particularly inviting, but better still, most airlines offer substantially discounted tickets without checked in baggage. For a family of 4, this can be up to $200 PER FLIGHT. But packing everything we need into a backpack? Well, it seems, packing light, washing regularly, and travelling to warm climates (which is fine by me after a Victorian winter) makes it possible.

And so began our hunt for the PERFECT carry on bag!

Our travel checklist: what bag will we need?

Click here to read about our search and what we found!

Our Travel Checklist: What do we need?

We spent months researching what we’d put into those bags. With 1.5kgs of bag, that left 5.5kgs for clothes, shoes and toiletries. As long as we choose to fly with pretty much anyone other than Jetstar, we are allowed another bag each for our laptops/iPads, etc., but Jetstar include your laptop IN the 7kgs! And my laptop and charger weigh 2.5kgs, so that was never going to work!

Given that our plans were to run from cold weather and be only in warm weather, we made the decision to focus on light weight, quick dry clothing. The reduced weight would mean we could fit more in and because we wouldn’t have much we’d be able to wash often, knowing they’d dry quickly.

After a bit of research, we decided that what we needed was Tech Wear – clothing that is manufactured from particular fabrics which make them lightweight and both crease and odour resistant. What this means is that they won’t weigh much or take up much space. When we pull them out of the bags they won’t need ironing and believe it or not, they can be worn for a couple of days in a row without smelling! This last fact alone makes travelling light seem that much more achievable.

We spent so much time visiting our local outdoor adventure stores. In Australia places like Kathmandu, Mountain Design and Ray’s Outdoor all had a great supply of gear that we needed. Over time, we created our travel checklist – a comprehensive list of every last thing we wanted to take. From how many pairs of socks and jocks to the number of charging cables for our devices. This travel checklist was consulted and revised numerous times, and today we’ll share it with you!

Over time, we collected a few of the bits and pieces on our travel checklist, but the gear we were looking at was a little costly (for the bargain hunter in me!) and I wasn’t convinced it was necessary! So, coincidentally, four months before we were to leave, Cam and I had a two week trip to Fiji planned – the perfect test run for the new gear we had!

Backpacks on, we headed off to Fiji, and we were blown away by how amazing it was to travel with carry-on luggage only. No hassles at the airport, no extra baggage fees, quick and easy to get on and off the plane, and no waiting around at the baggage carousel at the other end! We didn’t have our bags checked going through security, and on arriving back in Melbourne, it took us only 7 minutes to walk from the door of the plane, through customs and security, and out the front door of the airport! Awesome.

As for the clothes, I was impressed. I hadn’t yet bought any tech wear, but Cam had shirts and pants. And they proved their worth. Super comfy, quick drying, no ironing and they looked great.

On top of that, we discovered when it was time to come home, packing the hotel room took only about 15 minutes!

So back to Australia we went, having made the decision that tech wear was the way to go!

Our Travel Checklist: How did we prepare?

Upon arriving back in Australia we had 3.5 months until launch day, which meant it was time to get organised! To make life easy, I went and bought four boxes and labelled them with each of our names. Over the course of the next few months, as we crossed things off our travel checklist, they would go into our boxes.

I think having those boxes was useful in two ways!!! It made sure anything we had didn’t get muddled up in our belongings that we were selling/giving away/putting into storage. But B it made us realise just how little we would be carrying, or at least, it helped us get used to the idea!

By the time the day came to pack, it no longer seemed like such a big issue.

Our Travel Checklist: Planning for all weather!

Just because travelling with carry-on bags only isn’t hard enough, a couple of months before launch day we decided to throw a visit to Europe into the mix. We had a month between finishing a house sit in the UAE and needing to be back in SE Asia.

What this meant was needing to have clothes for cold weather as well. Jackets, jumpers, scarves, beanies and gloves. That shouldn’t weigh much!

So back to the research we went, and we decided that the clothes we had already planned would still be perfect. We just needed extra layers. Thermals, duck down and Goretex – thin, light layers that would keep us warm and dry. I’ll give more details of exactly what we chose shortly!

Our Travel Checklist: What did we pack?

I’ve decided to break this post up a little and included the info in a couple of sections. At the end of each section will be a downloadable checklist, in case that is something that could be of use to you.

Section 1

What we considered

Section 2

Karen’s bag

Section 3

Cam’s bag

Section 4

Brody’s bag

Packing for both kids!

Section 5

Our Computer bag

Section 6

Toiletries and Cosmetics

 Section 7

Summary & Reflection

So, if you’re ready to dive in and see what we did, click below, or click or the Section above that interests you the most!



Click here to go to Section 1 – What we considered!

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