After Two Months Of Hand Luggage Only Travel, The Two Most Difficult Things Are…

Filed Under: Advice, Travel

Hello from Aruba! I’m now over halfway through my four month trip, which is the longest trip I’ve ever taken.

I’ve explained before about how (and why) I’m traveling hand luggage only (HLO) for this trip. I’ve done shorter trips HLO no problem, but this is by far the longest I’ve ever travelled HLO.

So far it’s going as expected — I’m very glad we are traveling HLO as it’s very easy to breeze in and out of airports without checked luggage, and many people we meet say ‘where’s the rest of your luggage?’

I see other tourists in airports and hotels lugging around massive suitcases they can’t even lift up a flight of stairs by themselves and wonder why everyone doesn’t travel HLO.

But it’s not without its frustrations.

I’ve written before about how a big problem traveling HLO previously has been the extreme limitations on toiletries, in that I could only pack a zip lock bag of toiletries less than 100mls. This hasn’t been so difficult this time, as I packed my one zip lock bag before leaving and have continued with the same combination the whole trip.

I have to pack it in a certain way like a game of tetris in order for it to fit, but provided I pack it in the right way, it always seals and I’ve had no problems taking it through security in the numerous flights I’ve taken.

For super small liquids, like contact lense holders and the sort of mini toothpastes you receive in amenity kits, I’ve just been keeping them in my luggage at security checkpoints and they haven’t been picked up by any security checks.

However, the most difficult parts about it so far have been…

1. Laundry

I knew going into this trip that the limited amount of clothes I was packing meant I would have to do laundry about once a week. Where possible I have tried to book an Airbnb at least once a week with a washing machine, in order to wash clothes.

But then I decided to do group tours through Northern Africa and the Middle East. Every night there has been spent at a hotel which either does not have laundry facilities, or charges per item to wash clothes, so up to USD$3 per pair of socks, when the socks cost maybe $4 per pair to buy.

We did have an incredible Airbnb in Tunisia. When we notified the hosts we needed to do laundry, they told us to simply leave a bag of clothes outside our door the next morning.

The clothes were collected, washed, dried, folded and returned to us the next day, free of charge. It was one of the best Airbnb experiences I have ever had.

But straight after our Egypt and Jordan tour, we launched straight into ten days in Oman. For various reasons, we were staying entirely in hotels.

And once again, we had the same laundry problem.

We did seek out a local laundry place, which was significantly cheaper than our hotel, but once again they charged per item and not per bag or by weight, like laundry places in Southeast Asia do, so we were faced with a huge laundry bill.

I have decent personal hygiene standards so have been trying to wear items a few times without washing them, but it does make me feel a bit unclean.

We actually spent our Thanksgiving day at a laundromat in Miami finally properly washing every single thing we had brought with us. While it wasn’t glamorous, it was actually very therapeutic to have all of our clothes clean.

2. Sunscreen

This trip was centered around following the sun as much as we could and avoiding as much of London’s winter as possible. Other than a couple of brisk days in Berlin last month, I haven’t experienced a cold day in more than six months.

I love good beaches, so will be writing a separate post about the best beaches I’ve discovered.

Chasing the sun involves spending a fair bit of time outside in the sun. Being Australian, I love the sun. Today in Aruba, it’s around 28 degrees Celsius, which is around 82 Fahrenheit.

It’s lovely.

But I get burnt.

So, I wear sunscreen when I’m out in the sun. And if I’m out in the sun every day, I go through a lot of sunscreen.

The problem is that we are taking a flight about once a week. And we can only take a maximum of 100mls of sunscreen, which is not much.

So we have to buy a new bottle of sunscreen almost every new destination we visit. And there is nowhere in the world I found sunscreen to be affordable — the cheapest I have seen anywhere in the world is around USD$10 a full size bottle.

Admittedly I usually wait until I arrive at beachy, holiday destinations to purchase a full size bottle (as I can’t take it in my carry on, which is understandably priced higher.

If you know of anywhere in the world that it is cheaper I would love to know!

Where we don’t finish a bottle of sunscreen before the next destination, we can check a bag for the flight purely so we can take the large bottle of sunscreen with us, but this defeats some of the benefit of traveling HLO in the first place.

Bottom line

In the scheme of things these are very minor quibbles during what has been a wonderful trip so far.

If you are considering traveling HLO for a long period of time, especially in hot climates and staying in luxury hotels, consider how you will cope with these two frustrations!

What have been your biggest difficulties in traveling long term with only hand luggage?

  1. “nowhere in the world I found sunscreen to be affordable — the cheapest I have seen anywhere in the world is around USD$10 a bottle”

    In Germany a 200ml bottle is about 3€ each (SPF 30), slightly more for SPF 50.

  2. For your sunscreen, have you considered 2 bags of liquids? Run one on the belt at the beginning of your luggage and one at the end. They usually aren’t matching up bag to pax but rather just looking for some of liquids and size of bag. I’ve done this a handful of times and never had any issues.

  3. There are many 100 Yen shops in Japan that sell sun screen… but my wife says why would anyone use such cheap sunscreen

  4. James, I always wanted to ask you this question when I read your post about a 4 month trip HLO. Hats off to you. Maybe you can take a few sessions on packing for my wife and mom’s

  5. You didnt mention the biggest drawback of hand-luggage only travel.
    Having to lug all your crap through the airports.

    I really do not feel like carrying 10kg with me from checkin through security, then to the lounge, to the gate, onto the plane, and then again same on arrival, or during a connections. This means kilometers walking with extra weight. No thanks.

    Not checking bags saves at most 15 miuntes on arrival, especially when immigration is involved.
    To me that is worth not having to lug crap arround (and saves on sunscreen)

  6. I have been doing the one-bag method (single carry-on) for years and the only airport in the world that gives me problems with toiletries is London Heathrow. It is rare that I even have to separate my liquids into a separate bag and the only place that has imposed a strict limit and forced me to dump some lotion was London. No where else do they seem as concerned about the limit.

  7. sunscreens in the US, drugstore brands would cost you 2USD (or less on sale) in 100ml. I usually get a bunch of them during the sales and save them. It is a very good use. Also, Germany has good options, there is a brand you can buy as liquid and I divide them into small 100ml bottles for carry-on.

    For laundries, why not reach out to your readers who are across the world. I am sure many would be willing to do a laundry for you.

  8. James, for laundry you can Google Scrubba wash bag. It’s a bag that allows you to hand wash clothes and it’s GREAT. I used it while backpacking , and all you’ll have to figure out is find a place to air dry afterwards. Bit of a hassle but better than paying obscene prices for hotel laundry.

  9. @James — I think you have a word missing in this sentence: “I’ve explained before about how (and why) I’ve travelling hand luggage only (HLO) for this trip.” Either that or it should be “I’m” instead of “I’ve.”

  10. Dollar Tree stores in the US have sunscreen that works perfectly well in sizes that just barely comply with carry-on restrictions.

  11. We are 3 1/2 months through our four month trip- HLO is way to go here are my comments: I read several “packing light” blogs and there are great ideas out there-we use sunscreen “sticks” for face -not liquid so don’t take up space in quart bag-other toiletries come in solid form – I have a beeswax hand “lotion” I just love -pack thin clothes that dry quickly and wash clothes in the sink-we wash a few pieces at least every other night and always have clean clothes – I can attest to ex-officio undies!

  12. @ LANflyer – I don’t find it so bad to carry my hand luggage through the airport. The bag I have selected (see earlier post) is very comfortable to carry and I figure its some good exercise to make up for all the unhealthy lounge and plane food!

  13. @ Marcus – we like using either 15 or 20 SPF which can be tricky to find some places. The 50+ is like zinc – hard to apply and feels gross on the skin.

  14. @ Kevin Roberts – I have ‘gotten away with this’ at some airports by doing what you said. I was even thinking of writing a separate post about how to do this, but didn’t think it was very responsible of me to encourage people to bend the rules.

    I have had airport security in Europe tell me specifically that I am only allowed one liquids bag per person (not per carry on, or per xray tray)

  15. Hi James, buy a small amount of zinc oxide powder and a blush-brush and just brush it on exposed skin as needed. You can also mix with coconut oil but the active ingredient in the good sunscreens is zinc oxide powder (or titanium powder) –you don’t need the other ingredients. You can buy the powders on amazon. This is popular with health food-type people and people sensitive to cosmetic chemicals. USA security is particular about powders so put in the bin for inspection.

  16. Buy a sunscreen stick from amazon. I recommend the neutrogena one. It is not liquid so there is no limit for how much you can take.

  17. In the US, many laundromats have available a “fluff and fold” service, which is, like in Asia, charged by weight.

    I’ve used these when on extended business trips and when my own home washer/dryer have been broken. It’s a relatively inexpensive luxury that means I don’t have to commit valuable potential daytime work/leisure time to doing laundry outside the house.

  18. My husband and I have been traveling HLO for 7 years now, its so much easier and convenient. Laundry has never been a problem. We can always fiind a laundry place closed by. There was one time we couldn’t find a laundry place. We had to wear our shorts twice and bought detergent to wash underwears and tops by hand.

  19. I pack clothes made out of light, quick-drying material that I can wash out in the sink, using a detergent bar. Also, many retailers are now offering a more fashionable selection of travel friendly women’s clothing that are “unstinkable” and wrinkle-free, that I can wear multiple times before needing to launder, which has changed my HLO game considerably. Sunscreen sticks and powder and shampoo and lotion bars are a staple in my luggage, too. Smaller liquids such as lipgloss and eyedrops, stashed in various pockets, usually get thru security no problem, except for, as others have said, London Heathrow, which is the only airport in the world that has ever caught that stuff or given me a hard time about the dimensions of my “quart” sized back (which is slightly larger than a quart, apparently).

  20. Wash your clothes in a sink or shower/bath and hang to dry overnight. You can use bar soap/shampoo/shower gel or bring a 100 mL refillable bottle with you — you only need a tiny bit to get a sink full of water sudsy.

  21. James glad it is working for you!

    1. Laundry: I do it every 4 to 6 days depending on what the onward schedule looks like. One great feature of Airbnb is you can see if the host has a washing machine. I’ve even recently emailed one host “will it be all right to use the washing machine” to ensure it is in fact working and not broken.

    2. Sunscreen. A costly item, especially if you only carry 1 little 75ml-100ml bottle. Solution: spend less time in the sun, which is better for your skin. Yeah that sounds silly. But I am in a lot of countries with lots of sunshine and I had to cut back out of fear of skin cancer. Hilariously the small bottle of sunscreen has a psychological effect.

    PS go to Bonaire!

  22. Thrift stores in the US will often have brand new, good-quality sunscreen for cheap. I buy all my sunscreen at thrift stores.

  23. Sunscreen is a problem for me too. Hard to find in many countries and it’s absolutely essential for me. I (US based) buy Coppertone Sport lotion SPF 70 and fill TSA size bottles with it, then try to buy local and use my stash only if there is no local availability. Doesn’t take much SPF 70 to do the job.

    Cheapo Laundry in hotels : Wash a few items in the hotel sink using the hotel’ s supplied body wash (not shampoo! – body wash rinses clean), then roll up in a towel and twist hard. 90 percent dry at that point and totally dry the next morning. Casual/tough clothing only obv

  24. I do 2-3 week business trips all the time with no checked luggage. If course it is easier when you don’t care about the price of hotel laundry. But we’ve done it on family trips too. The key is to drop at a facility or find a nearby laundromat and plan some downtime for kids while one adult does it.

    As more the biggest challenge is suncreen and contact lens fluids. I find US TsA don’t care about these anymore (at least for precheck) so I often just take the risk without a problem. However the UK and Germans (and SIN) are very strict so this is a bigger challenge after you land overseas.

  25. Get a little bottle of travel detergent and hand wash your socks and undies yourself. Amazingly enough it is possible! Do one pair a night, they’ll be dry by morning.

  26. I did a six month HLO trip to SEA. I was in hotels (it was the dark ages where AirBandB didn’t exist) so I was not fussed over shampoo.

    For your sunscreen, why not put it in two or three 100ml bottles? You aren’t limited in those, just what will fit in a one quart bag. There have been times when the bag can’t close, but security has never called me on that. I go to the gate, divided the liquids into to bags – or a larger one, zipped them up, and I was done.

  27. I use SunBum stick SPF30 which is long lasting and I can take in my carryon luggage. It’s around $7 on Amazon.

  28. Look for Colorescience Sunforgettable sunscreen powder. Counts against your ‘powder allowance’ but not against your liquids. Also see if your dermatologist has samples of sunscreen packets. I travel HLO and use the powder and single serve packets exclusively. Packets can be easily stuffed in between other liquids.

  29. For the ladies, take large panty liners and your underwear will last longer. Men could do the same thing even if it is a female product.
    I went on a trip in early November with only carry on bag for the first time.
    As one woman said, pack light weight garments. Years ago people spot cleaned their clothes and got along time. I’ll continue to do this when I fly.
    Central Nebraska USA

  30. @ Sagie – being super cheap would be me spending each evening washing underwear in a hotel sink.

    I haven’t done that before ; )

  31. @James, in Moslem countries when sending out laundry, did you not run into the problem of separating underwear from other clothes ? In Bangladesh, I was chastised by a local (home) laundry service for not washing my underwear myself.

    Just wondering…

  32. I travel most of the year and was surprised you have a suitcase. I use a carry on size backpack which makes it possible to walk long distances over any terrain and worry free when buying bus or train tickets as i do not have to set it down.

  33. I prefer to do carry on but as a woman with long thick curly hair it’s next to impossible to pack light. It takes an insane amount of product to contain my hair. If I’m gone for 4 days I’ll get a blow out before I go and can pack a few needed products to maintain that and then hit a CVS or Walgreens or whatever at the airport when I land for toiletries. A longer trip it would get pretty pricey to do that, constantly buying toiletries, and wasteful of the product too. If I were staying at each destination a week or so I may consider mailing a package to meet me there, then shipping it to the next place and so on. I’d be nervous as anything though and that also assumes it’s the kind of places with reliable delivery and not so many ‘sticky fingers’ involved.

  34. From my own experience, traveling with hand luggage only has other disadvantages. European carriers are notoriously strict about size and weight, and check constantly. So you have to be very mindful about weight, and not just volume. Another disadvantage is that I usually need to buy souvenirs etc, which fills up my bag quickly. Now, I haven’t done 1 or 2 month trips bouncing around airports, but I assume it would get infinitely more difficult in those situations…

  35. James, you should Amazon your sunscreen to you next destination and every other one following. It will be cheaper and you can fill a couple of 100ml bottles with the unused from your normal sized bottle. Order another for the destination *after* the next one. Rinse. Repeat.

    Travel safe!

  36. I think the big issue with price on sunscreen is most replies assume there is a discount store between the airport / hotel /beach, which is seldom the case. The stick solution seems to be the best.

  37. Seriously, get a Scrubba. It is a game-changer. I have the stealth pack version and therefore it is useful for more than just laundry.

    Also, get some squishable/foldable refillable bottles to fill with sunscreen. They take up almost no space when empty.

    I have even started using toothpaste tubes as shampoo bottles so that as they empty, they squish down. Just use a piece of masking tape to write what’s inside.

  38. @ Memmie had a great suggestion. You can also buy “ready made” mineral powder sunscreen such as Colorscience. And the solid sticks are great too.

    And Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for your sink washing. But it sounds like you may need to invest in some “easy sink wash” attire.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  39. James do not stay on Aruba. It all americanized there.
    Visit Curacao and/or Bonaire. It is cheaper, frienlier and a lot more civilized .
    I was there earlier this year expecting Aruba would be the highlight. It was disappointing instead.

  40. 1. How on Earth have you never managed to find sun cream less than $10 anywhere in the world? Quite frankly, that’s embarrassing – even Poundland sells it and you can get a whole litre for less than $7 in Coles!

    2. It’s beyond easy to find factor 50+ thats nothing like zinc. I am currently using a spray from Asda that is SPF 50, isn’t visible even before you rub it in and cost something like £3.

  41. Wash your clothes in the sink. Bring a small spray bottle of sunscreen and a small bottle of lotion. Wear hats and rash guards. Sunscreen isn’t fully protective anyway.

  42. Just what I want to look forward to when I get into my seat on the plane 1.) Crying babies that never stop (and the Grandmas say it is such a precious child) 2.) The passenger that has been chronically sick for the past several days that says, I’m just getting over my cold. finally… 3.) The HLO passenger that may or may not need a personal hygiene makeover but invades my flight.
    In the end, I will still sit there politely and wait to get to my next destination.

  43. There is a Canadian Company that specializes in clothing and other items for long distance hikers and explorers. They make lines of underwear ( and other clothes that can be washed every night and dry almost immediately for the next day.

    We used their gear for our “Coast to Coast” hike (Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk in the UK) a few years ago and it sure saved our backs (192 miles CtoC).

  44. Smartwool clothes, TravelOn laundry detergent sheets and GoTubes are in my packing list when travelling light…

  45. I use synthetic fabrics so they dry fast. was able to survive a month in London and Paris hand washing in sink and drying over night. Simple basics. May be difficult if traveling for business.

    I used Soak which is a delicate detergent for hand washing. They come in small satchels.

    Sunscreen, I bring sample sizes of EltaMD instead of the whole bottle. They pack well and are perfect for bringing a bunch on long journeys.

  46. You can buy men’s briefs or boxers made of stretchable Nylon or Nylon Tricot with NO cotton blended in (very important) on the web. You can hand wash them and they dry in a few hours. You can also get the nylon tanktops and teeshirts. Players is the brand name I bought.

  47. I understand that travelling light is better for a variety of reasons, but there is no way I could travel that light for 4 months. Between the hassle with taking liquids through security, constantly having to wash clothes and not having any space for anything you buy on the trip or brochures/pamphlets etc from the destinations you are visiting, it would definitely be a suitcase for me.

  48. Great article. I’ve been HLO for several years now. Most countries I travel to do not have my size close(XL). So hand carry gives me the peace of mind that my clothes won’t be lost/delayed and disrupt my trip. I also but shirt and underwear that are anti-microbial and can be hand washed easily. I also think laundry costs could easily outweigh baggage fees. With HLO one must adjust your thoughts in your travel logistics a bit. I also feel more nimble and spontaneous with HLO. I say give it a try.

  49. We’ve been HLO (nice, didn’t know there was a term for it ) for the last five months with our kids. We expected the laundry “issue” but haven’t found it to be too problematic. However, following the sun and needing to repurchase sunscreen in 8 countries has been a real pill! I also wish we could take advantage of my children’s bag allowance but it’s just their stuff crammed into my husband’s and my bags (they’re only 4 and 6). I definitely feel confident about traveling like this as they get older though.

  50. You should try a vacuum bag. The VAGO pump is tiny. It could give you enough space to reduce the issues you listed.

  51. Short trips I do HLO. For longer trips have done it a few times. Liquids and toiletries is not too much of an issue. It is generally just US nonsense, Never had any issue in other airports.

  52. I honestly don’t see how checking luggage is that bad. I love it since I usually like having various options of clothing and full sized bottles of stuff, plus the souvenirs and other buys I need to take back home.

    It’s a great thought but I’ll stick to checking my luggage, more convenient for me.

  53. I only have a small carry on bag . I don’t like dragging larger bags through the airport onto the plane or where ever . I let the airlines manage my checked luggage and they do it well . I do not use overhead bins . I resent people trying to push me out of the way or threatening to drop a small refrigerator on my head while they obsessively deal with the overhead . I resent those who do not follow the guidelines for size and number of carry ons . I really don’t like being frequently bashed by backpacks (“it’s behind me so I am unconcerned who it hits”) If you must do HLO try being considerate , please.

  54. I’ve traveled HLO several times, most recently with my kids for our last two family vacations. I’m getting better at it, the first time we put our liquids in my sister’s checked luggage to get around the requirements, but for this time I had already made day to day changes in our normal lives that made traveling light much easier. First, sunscreen stick, Wal-Mart sells a spf 70 stick that matches the Neutrogena ingredients very closely for half the price. Wore it in Florida and Mexico with very little problems and a little goes a long way but most importantly doesn’t count against your liquids quota. Second, toothpowder, yes, dump the toothpaste. There are mineral toothpowders and tablets that are effective and better for your teeth out there, last a long time and again, don’t count against your liquids quota. Solid shampoo bars, our family switched to these year round so I just throw it’s gotoob in the backpack. I have several friends who swear by solid lotion bars. I carry solid perfume, but I did find that it does get rather soft in extended heat. These steps have dramatically reduced my use of my liquids bag. Solid deodorant doesn’t need to be in the liquids bag, I use an all natural one that’s compressed into a crystal form that you wet to apply, it’s truly solid. According to the TSA website, contact lens solutions are considered a medically necessary device and aren’t subject to the 100ml (3.4oz) rule, but are still required to be removed from the bags for screening like the normal quart size liquids bag, but I’ve never been brave enough to test this as the TSA agents where I live tend to allow their God like status to go to their heads to easily. I do use vacuum compression bags, but they don’t require a vacuum, they have a special design at the bottom so that you just stuff them, Ziploc them shut and then roll the air out of them, reusing them as many times as you want (but if they get a hole, they don’t work so well anymore). They are incredibly handy for me as I am a plus size person and that presents its own difficulties in packing light or small.

  55. I do the two baggies trick too. You can’t have anything super important in case you get caught, but most places this works.

    I also sometimes will check my HLO bag. It’s more about being mobile at a destination than saving a few min on arrival.

  56. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned it yet, but Uniqlo Airism underwear is thin and quick to dry… And you can probably pack double the amount you normally have with cotton ones.

    Also Tide and a bunch of laundry detergent brands also make these thin travel sheets that are hard to find but are not liquid if you want to opt for something even smaller than a bar of laundry soap.

  57. I just returned from a 3 week trip to 4 countries; 75% of those locations had temps in the 80s F and 90s F. And I did it with only 3 sets of clothes (pants, short sleeve button up shirt, underwear, and socks). Also brought a packable down jacket along with a ultra light soft shell for some protection from the wind when the sun sets. The jackets were barely used and I did not wash it during my trip.

    I am only going to comment on the 2 problem areas.

    Laundry – I did the laundry every night in hot and humid countries (Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand). The pants and shirt sleeve button shirts were all quick drying. The socks and underwear were Merino wool and dried just a quicky. I washed them in the sink with a Dove bar soap. I brought my own clothesline out of 8ft of Paracord. Next time this will be 16ft because my wife ended up throwing more laundry at me. My clothes dried overnight most of the time. Wringing out the excess water with a towel increased the reliability of overnight drying. I used the hotel’s hair dryer as an insurance policy or if I couldn’t wait overnight. 1 bar lasted 1.5 weeks because I also did laundry for my wife and son. You can find bar soap in most places in the world. Next time I will only bring two sets of clothes. When I got to Tokyo the temps were in the 70s and I found I could get away with washing every other day. I did buy Frebreeze to get over the psychology of wearing dirty clothes. The smelled clean so it felt cleaner.

    Sunblock – +1 in the sunscreen stick. It’s a solid so no issues with TSA. I used Neutragena on the trip but I just saw that Trader Joe’s also had some at a cheaper price. (

  58. We have Airbnb listings and stock reef safe sunscreen for our guests. No need to buy sunscreen when you stay at our place.

  59. Well it depends what kind of clothes you want to wear but I’ve been able to carry only few pieces of clothes and wash them maybe every 2 weeks. The key has been merino wool which does not stink. And yes this includes all climates from -40 to +45 though not on the same trip. For last 6 years only non-HLO traveling has included hiking on snow covered mountains in Nepal and in middle east in June and the main issue has been the shoes.

  60. @James.

    Buy 3 x 100mls clear containers at MUJI or equivalent and fill it from a very large bottle. If each of you take 3, that’s 600mls. However, an even smarter idea maybe to get a note from your doctor saying you suffer from light sensitive skin and ask him to stick a label on your 1L Sunscreen container

  61. Hi James! I, too, am a fan of the HLO travel style, and I do my best to stick with it (I hate waiting in anticipation for my bag to appear at baggage claim). However, I’ve found that many airlines allow a 7kg max weight for HL (the max HL weight for my recent Emirates trip to Jordan). I am very efficient at packing but somehow can’t get my bag under 9kg. (I’m guessing it’s my electronics that make my bag overweight). May I ask which airlines have you been using? Or do you ditch the electronics?

  62. Laundry: laundry bar + hotel sink. I’ve done this so many times in my life. Socks and undies are the priority.

    Sunblock: if you are out in the sun as much as you say you are, you need to be wearing more than spf15. In 20 years you will thank me. Even if reapplied correctly, spf15 only blocks ~93% of UV light. That 7% adds up, especially over a 4-month trip to places closer to the equator. PSA: cover your skin!

  63. I travel with a single 40 Liter backpack regardless of time-frame. I usually have seven days worth of clothing and a set of formal wear. I haven’t experienced any difficulties with the issues you mention – I have never found sunscreen to be expensive. I guess I also have an olive complexion so never needed a lot of sunscreen. In addition, laundry is easy to do; there are sufficient laundromats where-ever I have been and hostels will also do one’s laundry for a small price (even when not staying at them). My longest continuous travels lasted 27 months and the only problem involved jumping across climates, since winter clothing is harder to pack, but I managed with my single 40L Osprey. Best on your future travels!

  64. definitely would not check a bag for a half used bottle of sunscreen.

    travel jack reacher style……..still got the goodwill pants, shirt, and shoes waiting to go walk about without normal travel items.

  65. I’m amazed no-one has yet suggested that you get a SPF shirt with roll-up sleeves. They dry incredibly quickly and come in all sorts of neat styles.

  66. I’m not convinced about HLO for long and long-haul trips. The small amount of time you save at airports is more than eaten up by the constant washing of clothes in hotel rooms, or searching out cheap laundromats to torture your over soiled clothes.

    I like to look as well dressed travelling as I do in my non travelling life. So I don’t want to wear vile synthetic ‘camping wear’. Or compromise too much on my choice of shoes.

    I work on the middle ground – HLO for short trips (2 or 3, or even 5 days), and for longer trips – about 15 to 20kg in check-in, and 7 to 10 kg in a carryon. That means I can reduce washing to every 10 to 14 days, which sometimes means eating the outrageous charges of hotels. On the other hand -who doesn’t like perfectly washed and ironed clothes cushioned with tissue paper to prevent creasing, presented in beautiful packaging (I’m talking about you Park Hyatt Tokyo).

  67. I travel worldwide and since years HLO. Since I fly business or first only, I bring 2 stackable trolleys with the allowed size with me. Depending of the destination I bring old worn clothes I throw away when dirty, and simply buy new stuff. Or, I let the hotel do the laundry. No luggage is ever lost, I split liquids in smaller bottles if I really need them, and do not have to queue and file lost luggage reports. Last but not least… Less luggage is less weight and less pollution. I must admit I have extremely comfortable trolleys which are easy to stroll around even for longer distances.

  68. One way to temporarily reduce the bag weight is to remove 1-2 cubes and put them in your coat pocket just before reaching the counter. My coat pockets can hold an amazing amount. Then when out of sight and around the corner from checkin. Put them back in your bag. A little sneaky but I do not feel I am endangering anyone with a slightly overweight bag.

  69. I am honestly surprised how difficult it is to find travel-sized sunscreen. I find it a problem in the US and in Europe. Somehow travel size shampoo and other liquids/pastes exist. It must be a conspiracy to get light skinned people to buy extra sunscreen and then toss it.

    Harmon / Bed Bath & Beyond in the US has a great travel size sunscreen spray that I really like. Other than that, I feel there is a void in the market

  70. I traveled HLO for years. Personally never had an issue with sunscreen or laundry, but then again, I am also the ‘occasional’ beachgoer (though I do burn, so if I am beaching, its a requirement). These days, especially if I am flying internal to the US, I check. Why? The US airline propensity to put you on smaller airplanes on which standard sized roll-aboards necessarily get gate-checked. I went through a spate of flights not too long ago where either myself or a colleague I was traveling with had luggage ‘lost’ (read: not loaded on our departing flight for whatever reason) that was gate checked.

  71. Love traveling with my single back pack. There is a wonderful feeling to not having too much burden in life. The most expensive item I own is my laptop – sufficient for keeping in touch with my work and investments while I basically live a nomad’s life. Ten days worth of clothing along with two formal attires for meeting potential investors in different places. The best thing about carrying a backpacking bag is that I never have to gate-check it either if I am within the US.

  72. Japanese mid-range hotels always have a laundry which are sometimes cost- free for washing. What’s not to love?
    Downside to HLO for longer trips is you risk losing nail-clippers at security, and even the smallest scissors will get confiscated pretty quickly. The rest you can work around.

  73. Oh, the other downside to HLO for longish trips is that you may never want to see those clothes (and shoes) again ever, or a very long time at least, after you return home!

  74. James the best laundry solution I have found is the Scrubba. It is available on Amazon and other places. I have used it on our longer overseas trips and it does a great job. It is easy to use, I use the laundry soap leaves (no liquid hassles @ airport) and folds down nicely. That and a tiny clothes line and clean clothes. Also what luggage did you use and how did it hold up?

  75. Hi, James! I always travel HLO with our 21″ hard suitcase and a personal item (a tote bag small enough size if I have to store in my suitcase during boarding for strict enforcement). I use Laundress Wash & Stain bar for light washing in a sink at hotel room and for the sunscreen, I bring a tube or two of Japanese sunscreen “Biore UV aqua rich watery essence”. IMO it is the best sunscreen! It is 1.4oz tube, 50 SPF with PA+++ and water resistant. A dime size squirt covers whole face and can use for both face and body. A little goes very long way so I think if you pack two tubes, it will last for a few months. This is also only sunscreen I found which does not give me white residue or racoon sunglass sun burns. Both items are carry on friendly and very compact! Amazon sells them.

  76. “…The problem is that we are taking a flight about once a week. And we can only take a maximum of 100mls of sunscreen…”

    The 100ml restriction is a pain but you can actually take 100ml in multiple bottles. We do it all the time, so you can take more than one bottle of sunscreen.

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