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Tips from a flight attendant: don't weigh yourself down!

18.1.2015 at 07:00
Limiting yourself to hand luggage is often sufficient, especially for warmer countries. During short city breaks, suitcases can be more trouble than benefit.

Flight attendants often find that passengers carry far too much with them. They then have to carry or drag their bags and trolleys for long distances at international airports and on the way from the airport to the final destination.

Investing a little time in planning can save a lot of space and hassle, especially if you choose items that can work together in versatile ways.

Clothes are a good example: three tops and two bottoms create six outfits. And clothes can be washed on the move, with Thailand, for instance, offering good laundry services at low prices.

In my own travels, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturiser stay at home. These are easy enough to find at any destination. Failing that, you can fill tiny pots and bottles with only the amounts you will actually need during the trip.

Another good idea is to check the airlines' baggage allowances beforehand. And before offering to share bag space with a friend, remember that airlines commonly limit the weight of a single piece of luggage.

Limits may be more flexible if the aeroplane is only half-full, but during popular holiday weeks all places are usually filled and nearly everyone carries a lot of baggage. This leaves no room for flexibility.

I don't think I would dare take this risk, since excess kilos tend to end up remarkably pricey.

Shopping at the airport

Whatever the destination, the most essential thing to have is a good pair of shoes, suitable for any occasion. You can find shoes that work well on longer hikes and city streets alike. Bear in mind that touring Rome in high heels probably isn't going to be a pleasant experience!

It’s always best to keep any medicines in your hand luggage, preferably in the original packages, with dosage instructions. Should anything unexpected happen during the flight, the crew members in charge of first aid should be aware of your medication and doses. Carry-on luggage is the best place for any medicines also in the even that your checked bags get delayed and are delivered later.

However, take care not to cram too much in your hand luggage, since you should still be able to lift it into the overhead locker on your own. Some airlines even measure and weigh carry-on bags.

Taking advantage of airport shopping opportunities is another easy way to minimise what you carry around.

Thanks to its sizeable renovations projects, Helsinki Airport has plenty to offer. The shops showcase fine seasonal offers, and, for example, various cosmetics are better priced here than at many other European airports.

Finally, my advice to anyone about to buy a suitcase is to go for high quality: a lightweight and durable case can hold more and can better withstand even rough handling.

I wish you effortless trips free of any excess weight and hassle!

Photo: iStockphoto