The carry-on is an important travel item. Picture: Thule.

The carry-on or hand luggage is one of those travel items you simply must have. This small piece of luggage comes in handy for those short trips and convenient for travellers on the go. The carry-on has changed the way I travel.

Being a comfort packer, and taking most of the clothing from my cupboard when I travelled, using a carry-on was difficult.

This was until I packed a carry-on during a trip to Seychelles two years ago. As we had to travel in a small aircraft between the islands, we were only allowed to bring a carry-on weighing no more than 7 kilograms.

The experience had taught me to pack strategically and only take items of importance. Jamie Owen from SA Sport & Cargo believes travellers can use the carry-on to their advantage.

“A carry-on is an essential item to take during your travels. Most airlines allow you to board a plane with two pieces of hand luggage provided they fall within the legal size requirements. For example, you could take a handbag or backpack and a rolling carry on.

“Most suitcases have a volume of roughly 70 litres. Instead of packing a 70-litre bag, you could get away with packing a 30-litre backpack and a 40-litre carry-on. You would then have the same amount of space (by volume) without having to check in any luggage,”  he said.

Owen said taking a carry-on offered many benefits for travellers on the go.

Travellers would avoid the large queues to check in their suitcases,  and they do not have to worry about losing their valuables.

“If you are using a carry-on and a suitcase, try to pack your valuables, toiletry items and a change of clothes inside your carry-on bag. If your bag does get missing, these essentials will get you through a few days,”  he added.

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